July 29, 2012
Auburn Olympic Central
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LONDON - Three former Auburn swimmers advanced to the semifinals or finals of their respective events Sunday evening after strong performances in their preliminary heats Sunday morning on day two of the swimming competition at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The Australian men's 4x100 freestyle relay team will be the top seed in tonight's final after posting a time of 3:12.29 in the preliminary, out-touching the United States team by .30 seconds. Former Auburn swimmer Matt Targett was held out of the preliminary heats, presumably to have him fully rested for the final later tonight.
Former Tiger Gideon Louw helped lead South Africa to a spot in the relay final as well. The South Africans finished second in their heat and seventh overall with a time of 3:13.93. Louw swam the third leg for his team, moving them from third at the halfway mark to second heading into the last 100 meters with a stellar split of 47.92.
The team from Brazil did not advance to the final, finishing ninth despite an outstanding anchor leg from Auburn junior Marcelo Chierighini. The Brazilians posted a time of 3:16.14, finishing fourth in their heat and ninth overall, missing a spot in the final by .36 seconds. Chierighini's split of 48.17 pulled his team from sixth place at the 300-meter mark to fourth in the heat, but the team could not overtake Italy for third place. Former Tiger and 100m freestyle world record-holder Cesar Cielo was held out of the preliminary.
Host country Great Britain also missed the final with a time of 3:17.08, finishing sixth in their heat and 12th overall. Auburn junior James Disney-May swam the third leg for his team, posting a split of 48.99 seconds to keep the Brits in fifth place at 300 meters before dropping to sixth on the final leg. Another former Tiger, Adam Brown, was in the relay pool for Great Britain but did not compete this morning.
Seven-time Olympic medalist Kirsty Coventry (Zimbabwe) saw her Olympic record in the 100m backstroke fall, but she made it through to the semifinals with a 15th-place time of 1:00.24. She will swim in the outside lane in tonight's semifinal, the first of her three events at these Olympics. Australia's Emily Seebohm clocked a 58.23 to eclipse Coventry's Olympic record of 58.77 from 2008. France's Laure Manaudou, who is not a former Auburn swimmer but trains at Auburn, was 22nd overall with a 1:01.03.
Another former Tiger, George Bovell (Trinidad & Tobago), swam the men's 100 backstroke preliminaries this morning, finishing 29th overall in 55.22, setting a new Trinidadian national record.
The women's 100m backstroke semifinal gets underway at 2:49 p.m. CT, and the men's 4x100 freestyle relay will follow immediately thereafter at 3 p.m. CT. Live streaming will be available at NBCOlympics.com, and fans can follow @AuburnSwimming and #AUOlympics on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.