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Bromley's Ellen Gandy glad to get Olympics final chance
11:45am Sunday 29th July 2012 in Bromley
ELLEN Gandy is delighted after booking her place in the final of the women’s 100m butterfly at the Aquatics Centre tonight.
Bromley-born Gandy, who turns 21 just after the London Olympics, finished fifth in the second semi-final yesterday (July 28) in a time of 57.66secs, which saw her qualify seventh fastest for the medal race.
A World Championship silver medallist in the 200m event last year, Gandy will return to the pool tonight chasing Olympic glory.
She said: “I’m really excited, I can’t wait.
“It’s a real bonus having the 100.
“It’s a great way to start the meet and it gets you in the mind-set of racing.
“If I’ve got easy speed in 100, it looks good for the 200, but I’m not thinking about the 200 at the moment. I’m taking it one race at a time.”
Gandy had qualified for the semi-finals as ninth fastest, after clocking 58.25 in her morning heat.
GB teammate Fran Halsall was two-hundredths of a second quicker in her heat, but tied up in the closing stages of the first semi-final to finish in a disappointing seventh place in 58.52.
Gandy received as big a cheer as her fellow Brit when she appeared at poolside and checked her blocks at lane two.
After kneeling over the edge of the pool to splash herself with some water, Gandy got up and whirled her arms in readiness, then stood hands on hips, ready for action.
After a tight opening 50 metres, Gandy turned in fifth place as American Dana Vollmer – fresh from setting an Olympic record 56.25 earlier in the day – again headed the field.
And the former Langley Park School for Girls pupil kept her composure on the home stretch to clinch that final place with almost four-tenths of a second to spare.
The evening session had gotten underway with the highly-anticipated showdown in the men’s 400m individual medley between American rivals Ryan Lochte and defending Olympic champion and world record holder Michael Phelps.
The two were neck and neck after the opening 50m of butterfly, but Lochte edged into a slight lead as they went into the backstroke leg.
With the patriotic American supporters beginning to chant ‘U-S-A’ in hope of a 1-2 finish, the 14-time Olympic gold medallist Phelps – only eighth fastest in qualifying - struggled with his line on the backstroke.
And he suddenly found himself in a fight for second place with Brazilian Thiago Pereira, who had nosed his way in front midway through the breaststroke leg.
Lochte, meanwhile, had pulled away by the start of the freestyle, when the noise levels seemed to go up a couple of notches, as Phelps slipped back to fourth behind a fast-finishing Kosuke Hagino, a 17-year-old from Japan.
As ear-piercing shrills and screams began to fill the air, Lochte touched home for gold in 4mins 05.18secs and Pereira claimed silver in 4:08.86, pipping Hagino by just eight-hundredths.
Two Brazilian journalists sat next to me were out of their seats and embracing each other at Pereira’s success, while Phelps was left without any kind of medal for once.
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