Olympics, Swimming: Cate Campbell Bounces Back, Tops 50 Free Prelims -- August 15, 2008

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 15. THE first and only time we've seen Dara Torres in the water this week, she was busy producing the second-fastest split in history while helping the United States to a silver medal in the 400 freestyle relay. That outing suggested that Torres, the 41-year-old supermom, would be a major player in the race for gold in the 50-meter freestyle.

After the preliminaries of the splash-and-dash, Torres remains in the gold-medal picture. Competing in her fifth Olympics, where she's totaled 10 medals, Torres posted the third-fastest time of the preliminary round, a clocking 24.58. Torres entered the meet with a personal best of 24.25, the American record.

Not performing at her peak up until the preliminaries, Australian teenager Cate Campbell turned in her best race of the competition. Campbell qualified first for the championship final with a clocking of 24.20, a time she registered while swimming alongside Torres. Campbell was just off her personal best of 24.13.

Earning the third seed for the semifinal round was Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands. Veldhuis produced an effort of 24.38 while taking top honors in the 11th of 12 heats. She was followed in fourth by Aussie Libby Trickett, the gold medalist in the 100 butterfly and silver medalist in the 100 free. Trickett, the world-record holder at 23.97, touched the wall in 24.67.

Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen was next in 24.83 and Germany's Britta Steffen, the 100-meter champ, was next in 24.90. Also breaking the 25-second barrier were China's Zhu Yingwen (24.91), Great Britain's Francesca Halsall (24.93), Sweden's Therese Alshammar (24.94) and Venezuela's Arlene Semeco Arismendi (24.98). The semifinal field will also include the Netherlands' Hinkelien Schreuder (25.00), China's Li Zhesi (25.00), American Kara Lynn Joyce (25.01), Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala (25.06) and Belarus' Aleksandra Gerasimenya (25.07).

Results: 2008 Olympic Games - Swimming

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Reaction Time Comments

August 15, 2008 I thought Dara's reaction to Cate after that prelim swim was really awesome. Also loved how she handled the NBC interview and the stupid questions Andrea Kramer asks.
Submitted by: Ako
August 15, 2008 Ako - What did Dara say and do ?
Submitted by: swimgeek
August 15, 2008 I have a couple of friends who are non-swimmers (know nothing about the sport) that think her questions are really awful (the idea of questioning race strategy, and more the mean spirited negative stuff). You may be right that someone is feeding her, but whoever is writing the questions needs help. They do it with gymnastics too. Drives me nuts. Why point out all the negative at the OLYMPICS!? And why put negativity into their minds ("How in the world will you ever handle this???").
Submitted by: Ako
August 15, 2008 She looked at the score board and turned to Cate and with a huge smile said "Great Swim!!!" (Or something along those lines) then put her hand up for a high five. It was just really sweet.

As for with Andrea Kramer... Kramer asked something along the lines of "you've been out of the pool for several days doing nothing now, so how do you get your head back into swimming?" (It was really dumb!). She fired back something like "well that's not exactly how it works Andrea in swimming. Anyone who hasn't been swimming has been in the pool a couple times a day doing hard workouts and getting ready to race. That's not exactly doing nothing. I've been using this time to train" It didn't come off as rude at all, but it seemed to me it was what needed to be said to put Andrea Kramer in her place. Finally someone fired something back (and it was so perfectly said that she didn't come off badly).
Submitted by: Ako
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