OLYMPICS LONDON 2012: Relay men just miss medals as Phelps signs off
By Ben Burrows, Sportsbeat, London 2012
GREAT Britain’s men produced an excellent swim to just miss out on a medal in the 4x100 metres relay as Michael Phelps completed his Olympics swansong in fitting style with a 18th gold medal.
THE GREATEST: Michael Phelps becomes the most successful competitor with 22 medals after scooping another gold in the men's 4x100m medley relay
Liam Tancock, Michael Jamieson, Michael Rock and Adam Brown posted a time of 3:32.32 minutes to come in fourth behind the USA.
And 27-year-old Tancock was proud the team signed off from a successful Olympic meet with an equally impressive swim.
“Absolutely awesome performance by the guys here,” he said. “We’ve had a great week in the pool with multiple finals and we’re really stepping up.
“The crowd is supporting us. This was the last race of the whole meet and the whole Olympics for us and these guys really stepped up going a lot faster than we’ve gone in the heats earlier. It was so close but great race.”
Jamieson, who claimed silver in the 200m breaststroke earlier in the week, was understandably disappointed to miss out on another medal but proud of the team’s overall performance.
“It’s been amazing such a pleasure to race here,” said the 23-year-old Scotsman. “That is six races in front of this crowd and every one of them has been amazing.
“We knew it was going to be tough tonight but we also knew we had a chance. Everyone stepped up again tonight and it’s a lot faster than we went in the heats.
“Another fourth place is a little bit disappointing but it was a great race by everyone.”
And 25-year-old Rock was proud to be part of a team that swam over a second faster than they did in yesterday’s heats where they qualified second fastest.
“It’s just an honour to be part of that,” he said. “I love teaming up with the guys and we went over a second faster than yesterday.
“It was a great performance to get that centre lane for the final and it has been just the best experience – the home support and the whole Olympics – I’ve loved every second of it.
“I’m very honoured to share the pool with him (Phelps) tonight and that was very special for me.”
Brown, who trains in the United States, knew he had to step up in such a competitive field but was in positive mood about the team’s chances going forward.
“The competition we do over in the States really helps,” he said. “You’re used to all the waves with all the short course swimming.
“I knew I would be racing against Nathan (Adrian) who won the 100m and James Magnussen who came second in the 100m. I was in the middle of them two and I tried my hardest to bring it home for the boys.
“I’m really pleased with the fourth place considering we came in here seeded 14th – we’ve jumped up ten spots.
“Who knows if we are all still together in four years’ time. In Rio we’ll be in the medals hopefully.”
Gemma Spofforth, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Ellen Gandy and Fran Halsall swam 3:59.46 mins to finish eighth in the their 4x100m medley relay behind the USA who claimed gold in a new world record of 3:52.05 mins.
And Spofforth, who is widely expected to retire at the end of the Games said she was proud to finish off with a good performance.
“We all came here wanting a lot more medals than we came out with but I’m so proud of the team,” she said.
“We’ve got so many people into finals a lot more than we ever have done.
“We can just be proud but all of us came here for a medal and obviously none of us came away with one so it is a little bit sad for us.
“These girls are amazing and it’s been amazing to be around them the whole time.”
O’Connor, the youngest swimmer in the team at just 16 years old, was over the moon to compete with the best in an Olympic showpiece.
“It’s been such a whirlwind,” she said. “To be in an Olympic final is the best thing ever in front of a home crowd – it was amazing and I will never forget it.
Gandy, who also competed in both the 100m and 200m butterfly here in London, was happy to end an up and down Games on a high.
“It’s been quite difficult not doing as well as I wanted to in my main event,” said the 21-year-old. “But I’m so glad to have finished on this relay. I had a great week despite my downs and it’s nice to finish on a good note.”
And a tearful Halsall was left devastated feeling like she let the Olympic Aquatics Centre capacity crowd down.
“I just want to say that the support that we’ve had this week has been unbelievable and the crowd have been unbelievable and I’m just a bit disappointed that I haven’t been unbelievable this week,” said the 22-year-old.
“Things are sent to try us and we’re British and when things are sent to try the British people we come back stronger.”
Dan Fogg finished in eighth in the final of 1500m freestyle where Yang Sun destroyed the world record on his way to gold lowering the world best to 14:31.02 mins.
The 24-year-old, who is doubling up in both the 1500m and 10,000m at these Games, couldn’t reproduce his semi-final performance where he just missed his own English record and finished with a time of 15:00.76 mins.
The Games debutant was understandably disappointed but felt privileged to have raced in such esteemed company.
“I think I just hurt a little bit after yesterday morning,” he admitted. “I’ve never had to put a heat swim in like that to make a final so to back it up was really hard tonight.
“It’s not an awful time it’s still only five seconds off my best so I’m reasonably happy with that.
“Obviously I would have liked to have gone quicker but just to be in this field of world champions, world record holders and Olympic champions has just been great, more than I could have hoped for.
“Obviously I’m just switching the focus onto that 10,000m in a week’s time. I’ll be moving out to a hotel in a couple of days to swim in the Serpentine a few times and I’m just looking forward to swimming in that one.”
© Sportsbeat 2012