Alicia Coutts has claimed her third medal of these Games by winning silver behind China’s Ye Shiwen in the women’s 200m individual medley and in the process become just the seventh Australian to win a full set of medals at a single Olympic Games.
Ye used her now famed lethal freestyle leg to move past a courageous Coutts on the last lap and win in an Olympic record of 2:07.57.
Coutts clocked a massive personal best of 2:08.15 to beat American Caitlin Leverenz (2:08.95) for second with Australia’s proud defending Olympic champion Stephanie Rice fourth in 2:09.55.
Coutts was glowing – and honest – after the race. “I just went out there to swim my own race. I knew the Chinese girl (Shiwen Ye) would have an amazing last 50m so I just gritted my teeth and went for it down that last lap,” Coutts said. “That’s another Olympic medal and I couldn’t be happier.”
Rice had put in a gutsy effort to lead the field through the first 50m and still be in second at the halfway mark. She slipped back in the breaststroke but it was not through lack of effort – the chronic shoulder problems that have restricted her training for more than two years finally getting the better of her.
“I tried to put it on the line and go out hard because I knew my strengths were in butterfly and backstroke,” Rice said. “At the end of the day I did everything I could in this preparation. If I couldn’t swim I was cross training and I gave it everything. It was really tough but I’m proud of the way I worked.”
Bronte Barratt has buried the disappointment of missing the 400m freestyle final by powering home over the last lap to win a bronze medal for Australia in the women’s 200m freestyle.
The Australian clocked 1:55.81 behind American Allison Schmitt’s Olympic record of 1:53.61. Second was France’s Camille Muffat in 1:55.58. Earlier in the meet Muffat had got the better of Schmitt in an epic 400m battle.
Barratt swam a brilliantly judged race to turn fifth at the first turn before moving to fourth at the halfway mark. The Queenslander maintained that position until the last 20 metres when she hauled in Missy Franklin then beat the USA teen to the wall by a mere 0.01 seconds – the barest of margins in the pool.
After years battling a shoulder injury and several changes of coach since Beijing where she was seventh in the same race, Barratt was understandably over the moon to get the medal.
“I don’t care what time I did as long as I got to stand on the Olympic medal dais by myself,” Barratt said. “I’m just so happy. I put together my best race in the final. It was tough to be in lane four in between (Camille) Muffat and (Allison) Schmitt and still manage to swim my own race. Everyone has their ups and downs in swimming but I’m lucky that my up was tonight in the 200m freestyle final at the Olympics. Winning a gold medal with the girls in the relay in Beijing was the highlight of my career but an individual medal is just as special in a different way.”
Courtesy of olympics.com.au