July 31, 2012
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LONDON - Former Auburn swimmer Kirsty Coventry earned a sixth-place finish in the 200-meter individual medley final, and Cesar Cielo will get the chance to swim for a gold medal in the men's 100-meter freestyle as he advanced to that final Tuesday at the 2012 London Olympics.
Coventry, the 2008 silver medalist for Zimbabwe in the event, clocked a time of 2:11.13, finishing more than two seconds behind the medal winners. The former Tiger was third at the halfway mark after posting the fastest backstroke split in the field, but fell behind in the breaststroke and could not make up enough ground in the final 50 meters.
She will have one more event at these Games as she looks to medal for the third straight Olympics in the 200m backstroke; heats are set for Thursday morning. Coventry is the two-time defending gold medalist and current world record-holder in the 200m back.
Cielo, the world record-holder in the men's 100m free, posted a time of 48.17 in the semifinals to finish second in his heat and fifth overall to Australia's James Magnussen, the top qualifier with a 47.63. The Brazilian improved by a full half-second from his morning swim of 48.67 and will have a chance to win another medal Wednesday evening.
Another former Tiger, Gideon Louw of South Africa, dealt with heartbreak as he tied for ninth place, missing the 100m free final by a mere .06 seconds. His time of 48.44 - a bit slower than his morning swim - was good enough for fourth in the heat, but five times in the second heat were faster than his effort, narrowly keeping him out of what would have been his first Olympic final.
Louw entered the semifinals as the No. 2 overall seed, posting a personal-best 48.29 in his preliminary heat for the fourth-fastest 100m freestyle time in Auburn history.
Also in the preliminaries, former Tiger Adam Brown (GBR) finished 20th with a time of 49.20, and George Bovell (TRI) scratched the 100 free from his program, opting instead to focus on the 50m freestyle later in the week.
Cielo will swim in the 100m freestyle final Wednesday at 2:20 p.m. CT (8:20 p.m. GMT).
Three current members of the Auburn swimming team will make their debut at the 2012 London Olympics on Wednesday morning. Graduating senior Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH) and sophomore Megan Fonteno (ASA) will swim in the women's 100m freestyle heats, which get underway at 4 a.m. CT (10 a.m. GMT), and senior Micah Lawrence (USA) will be one of the top contenders in the women's 200m breaststroke, set to begin at 4:43 a.m. CT (10:43 a.m. GMT).
NBCOlympics.com has live streaming of every event, and fans can keep up with their Tigers in the Olympics by following @AuburnSwimming and #AUOlympics on Twitter.
Tuesday's Auburn Olympic Results
Men's 100m Freestyle - Heats
2. Gideon Louw (RSA) - 48.29 (PR)
10. Cesar Cielo (BRA) - 48.67
20. Adam Brown (GBR) - 49.20
-- George Bovell (TRI) - DNS
Men's 100m Freestyle - Semifinals
5. Cesar Cielo (BRA) - 48.17
T9. Gideon Louw (RSA) - 48.44
Women's 200 IM - Final
6. Kirsty Coventry (ZWE) - 2:11.13
Wednesday's Auburn Olympic Schedule
4 a.m. CT - Women's 100m Freestyle - Heats
Megan Fonteno (ASA) - Heat 3, Lane 1
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH) - Heat 6, Lane 7
4:43 a.m. CT - Women's 200m Breaststroke - Heats
Micah Lawrence (USA) - Heat 5, Lane 5
1:40 p.m. CT - Women's 100m Freestyle - Semifinals
2:20 p.m. CT - Men's 100m Freestyle - Final
Cesar Cielo (BRA) - Lane 2
2:29 p.m. CT - Women's 200m Breaststroke - Semifinals