July 31, 2012
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LONDON - A pair of former Auburn swimmers advanced to the semifinals of the men's 100-meter freestyle Tuesday morning at the 2012 London Olympics as Cesar Cielo (BRA) and Gideon Louw (RSA) qualified from the preliminary heats.
Louw, who had set a personal-best in the 100m free leading off South Africa's 4x100 freestyle relay Sunday, lowered that time yet again as he clocked a 48.29 to finish second in his heat and also second overall, just behind American sprinter Nathan Adrian (48.19). Louw's swim also was the fourth-fastest long-course 100m freestyle in Auburn history.
Cielo, the defending gold medalist and world record-holder, had an easy swim this morning to qualify 10th overall with a 48.67. That mark placed him fifth in his heat.
"48.67 and a spot in the semis," Cielo tweeted (translated from Portuguese). "The first test, it is always more difficult to break the ice. But it was good."
Adam Brown (GBR) swam in the same heat with Louw and Cielo, finishing seventh in the heat and 20th overall with a 49.20.
"Happy with my swim, just a little off the pace!" Brown tweeted. "Not too bad for my first Olympic individual! Looking forward to the 50 on Thursday!"
Another former Tiger, George Bovell, elected to scratch from the 100m free and focus on the 50m free, which is set for Thursday.
Louw and Cielo will swim the 100m freestyle semifinals today at 1:30 p.m. CT (7:30 p.m. GMT) with Cielo looking to earn a chance to defend his gold medal and Louw looking for a spot in his first individual Olympic final.
Also competing Tuesday night will be Kirsty Coventry (ZWE), who will be looking for her eighth career Olympic medal in the women's 200m IM final. That race is set to begin at 2:55 p.m. CT (8:55 p.m. GMT).
NBCOlympics.com will have live streaming coverage of both races, and fans can follow @AuburnSwimming and #AUOlympics on Twitter for updates throughout the day.