Record breaking night for Jamieson and Willis
31st July 2012
British breaststroke swimmers Michael Jamieson and Andrew Willis starred with record-breaking performances for Team GB on the fourth day at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Having set a British record 2:08.89 to qualify second fastest from the morning heats, Jamieson paced his semi-final perfectly from lane four, smashing the British record for the second time in a day.
I'm really happy with the time and I'm really excited for tomorrow night.
To the sound of thunderous cheers from the crowd, the 23-year old touched home in 2:08.20 to qualify fastest for tomorrow night’s final.
And having also set a Scottish record in his weaker 100m Breaststroke, Jamieson admitted the atmosphere in London was bringing out the best in him.
“It’s amazing,” said Jamieson. “Every time I’m out here I get goosebumps walking behind the blocks.
“It’s really something special and it’s really helped me this week – I know that.
“I’m really happy with the time and I’m really excited for tomorrow night.”
Jamieson’s teammate at the British Gas ITC Bath, Andrew Willis, had qualified third fastest from the heats and improved again in his semi, smashing his own English record to touch in 2:08.47 and progress in third.
The result – making Jamieson and Willis the only two Brits to have ever swum under 2:09 for 200m Breaststroke – capped a fine evening for coaches Dave McNulty and Graeme Antwhistle at Bath.
We've been working hard every day, hitting the times we want to hit and it's paying off.
And, like his teammate, Willis admitted he had used the crowd to his advantage on the night.
“That was unbelievable,” said Willis. “I was in the call room and I wasn’t quite as nervous as this morning – I was more excited and the crowd really helped me out there.
“We’ve been working hard every day, hitting the times we want to hit and it’s paying off.
“I knew Michael was capable of a great time and I’m really happy for him. It’s amazing that we’re doing so well.”
While Jamieson and Willis booked their final berths, Caitlin McClatchey and Hannah Miley contested Olympic finals, having qualified the previous night.
McClatchey – competing at her third Olympics Games – was in action first in the 200m Freestyle and came away seventh in 1:57.60.
I want to thank everyone for the support - the crowd was so amazing tonight.
USA’s Allison Schmitt won gold in an Olympic record 1:53.61 ahead of France’s Camille Muffat (1:55.58) and Australia’s Bronte Barratt (1:55.81).
And while she was 0.27 seconds slower than her semi-final time, McClatchey admitted her performances in London bode well for day five’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay.
“I had such a great time and really enjoyed it,” said McClatchey. “I want to thank everyone for the support – the crowd was so amazing tonight.
“We’ve got a really strong really coming up tomorrow, I’m really excited and looking forward to it.
“I’m going to go and rest now and re-charge my batteries for tomorrow.”
Miley was competing in her least favourite of the two individual medley events, the 200m IM.
Also swimming from an outside lane, the Scot dug deep to finish seventh in 2:11.29 as China’s Ye Shiwen (2:07.57) won gold ahead of Australia’s Alicia Coutts (2:08.15) and USA’s Caitlin Leverenz (2:08.95).
Last time I came away being 11th in the world - now I'm seventh in the world so I can't knock that.
And having failed to make the final at her first Olympics in Beijing four years ago, Miley insisted she couldn’t be disappointed in surpassing her performance from China.
“I’m so happy that was able to make the final,” said Miley. “Last time I came away being 11th in the world and now I’m seventh in the world so I can’t knock that.
“I’m really happy. Obviously I would liked to have gone faster than in the semis and get that progression but I was only 0.4 slower so it was fine.
“I’m really chuffed with how this meet has gone – it’s been so much better than Beijing for me.”
The British men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay quartet closed the night with a sixth-place finish.
When we walked out I just got hit by the noise and it was something really special.
In a race where Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time as USA won gold in 6:59.70, the British team of Robbie Renwick, Ieuan Lloyd, Rob Bale and Ross Davenport touched home in a steady 7:09.33.
And 19-year old Lloyd admitted his first Olympic final had been an unforgettable experience.
“That was amazing,” said Lloyd. “It was everything I thought it would be.
“When we walked out, I just got hit by the noise and it was something really special and it really pushed me on that last length.”
Davenport, competing at his third Olympic Games, added: “It’s such an honour to anchor your country in a relay like that against some of the world’s greatest swimmers, not just of today but of history.
“We would have loved to be standing on that podium but hopefully the other three boys can be doing it in Rio in four years time.”
Jemma Lowe was the other Brit in action and the Welsh swimmer squeezed into tomorrow night’s 200m Butterfly final.
I've just sneaked in there so I'm really lucky and it's meant to be.
The Welsh record holder qualified fastest for the 200m Fly final at the World Championships in Shanghai last year before finishing seventh in the final.
But Lowe will try her luck from the outside lanes in London after touching fifth fastest in her heat in 2:07.37.
“I didn’t know whether I was going to be in there when I finished fifth in that semi-final,” said Lowe.
“I was a bit worried but in the end, that’s perfect for me.
“My coach didn’t want me to get in the middle lanes for the final and I’ve just sneaked in there so I’m really lucky and it’s meant to be.
“I’m ready for tomorrow now. I’m just going to give it absolutely everything tomorrow and see what it brings.”