Aug. 3, 2012
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LONDON - Former Auburn swimmer Cesar Cielo won the bronze medal in the men's 50-meter freestyle Friday evening, and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace advanced to the final of the women's 50m free on the penultimate night of swimming at the 2012 London Olympics.
Cielo, the Brazilian who won the gold medal in 2008 and still owns the world record in the event, clocked a time of 21.59 to finish third behind surprise gold medalist Florent Manaudou (FRA) with a 21.34 and Cullen Jones (USA), who swam a 21.54. Cielo's countryman, Bruno Fratus, was fourth, just .02 behind Cielo.
"I wasn't too disappointed, because at least I got a medal, but I wasn't feeling well," Cielo said.
"It was my fourth day of competition and I was tired. I wasn't as good as I was yesterday. I am satisfied with my training, but I will make a few changes for Rio."
The 2016 Olympics will take place on his home turf in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
With his bronze medal, current and former Auburn athletes have now earned 47 all-time Olympic medals, dating back to 1932. In addition, at least one athlete with Auburn ties has won an Olympic medal in each of the last seven summer Olympics, dating back to the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Another former Tiger, George Bovell (TRI), earned a seventh-place finish in the event with a time of 21.82. It was his second career Olympic final after he earned the bronze medal in the 200m IM at the 2004 Athens Games.
History was made in the night's final event as 2012 senior Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH) became the first-ever swimmer from the Bahamas to reach an Olympic final as she qualified sixth overall in the women's 50m freestyle semis. Her time of 24.64 set a new personal best and also goes down as a new Bahamian and Auburn record.
Vanderpool-Wallace clocked a 24.85 in the morning preliminary heats to tie for seventh overall and earn a spot in the semifinals. The top time in the semis belonged to Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), the gold medalist in the 100m free, who swam a 24.07, missing the Olympic record by .01.
Two-time defending gold medalist Kirsty Coventry (ZWE) saw her Olympic streak come to a close as she finished sixth in the 200m backstroke, posting a time of 2:08.18 in the final. She also saw her world and Olympic records be taken down as Missy Franklin (USA) posted a new world-record time of 2:04.06 to win the gold medal.
Tyler McGill (USA) could not duplicate his performance from Thursday's semifinal as he finished seventh in the men's 100m butterfly with a time of 51.88. He was only .07 out of fourth place and .44 back of the silver medal-winning time. Michael Phelps (USA) won gold for the third straight Olympics in the event, posting a 51.21 in the final individual swim of his career.
Earlier in the day, five current and former Tigers swam for their countries in the men's 4x100 medley relay to wrap up the morning session with four helping their teams advance to Saturday's final. The United States team of Nick Thoman, Eric Shanteau, McGill and Jones posted the top qualifying time of 3:32.65. Shanteau swam the breaststroke leg to pull the USA from third to second at the 200-meter mark, and a 51.53 butterfly split for McGill gave the Americans a lead they would not relinquish in their heat.
Host nation Great Britain drew the loudest cheers of the morning as they won their heat in 3:33.44 to post the second-best qualifying mark. After the first three legs, Liam Tancock, Craig Benson and Michael Rock had the Brits in second place, but former Tiger Adam Brown rolled off a split of 48.22 to propel his team to victory.
Also in the first heat, former Tiger Matt Targett swam the butterfly leg for Australia, helping teammates Hayden Stoeckel, Brenton Rickard and Tommaso D'Orsogna to a second-place time of 3:33.73, earning the fourth qualifying spot for Saturday's final. Targett's butterfly split of 51.30 gave the Australians the lead at the 300-meter mark before Brown pulled Great Britain ahead to win the heat.
Brazil would finish 15th overall with a 3:37.00, despite an outstanding freestyle leg of 48.17 from Auburn junior Marcelo Chierighini.
The four former Tigers that swam in the relay preliminaries may not necessarily compete in Saturday's final, but should their team earn a medal in the final, all participants in the preliminaries would be awarded a medal as well.
Saturday marks the final day of the swimming competition at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Vanderpool-Wallace will compete in the women's 50m freestyle at 1:30 pm. CT, and the men's 4x100 medley relay final begins at 2:27 p.m. CT.
NBCOlympics.com will have live streaming of the events, and NBC will carry tape-delayed coverage in primetime. Fans can follow @AuburnSwimming and #AUOlympics on Twitter for the most complete coverage.
Friday's Auburn Olympic Swimming Results
Women's 50m Freestyle - Heats
T7. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH) - 24.85
Women's 50m Freestyle - Semifinals
6. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH) - 24.64 (PR)
Women's 200m Backstroke - Final
6. Kirsty Coventry (ZWE) - 2:08.18
Men's 100m Butterfly - Final
7. Tyler McGill (USA) - 51.88
Men's 50m Freestyle - Final
3. Cesar Cielo (BRA) - 21.59
7. George Bovell (TRI) - 21.82
Men's 4x100m Medley Relay - Qualification
1. United States (Nick Thoman, Eric Shanteau, Tyler McGill, Cullen Jones) - 3:32.65
2. Great Britain (Liam Tancock, Craig Benson, Michael Rock, Adam Brown) - 3:33.44
4. Australia (Hayden Stockel, Brenton Rickard, Matt Targett, Tommaso D'orsogna) - 3:33.73
15. Brazil (Thiago Pereira, Felipe Silva, Kaio Almeida, Marcelo Chierighini) - 3:37.00
Saturday's Auburn Olympic Swimming Schedule
Women's 50m Freestyle - Final (1:30 p.m. CT)
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH) - Lane 7
Men's 4x100 Medley Relay - Final (2:27 p.m. CT)
United States - Lane 4
Great Britain - Lane 5
Australia - Lane 6