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Bittersweet moment for Abbie as she narrowly misses out on Olympic medal

Abbie Wood reflected on a bittersweet moment after she narrowly missed out a podium place in her first Olympic final.

The 22-year-old clocked a lifetime best in the 200m Individual Medley as she finished fourth – only 0.11 seconds away from a bronze medal.

Wood touched home in 2:09.15 with American Kate Douglass winning bronze in 2:09.04. Japan’s You Ohashi took the gold in a time of 2:08.52

Alicia Wilson finished eighth in a time of 2:12.86.

Wood said: “It was just gutting.

“It was such a close race but I knew it was going to be that way and it was about who got their hand on the wall first.

“It’s bittersweet. I’m happy with the time – I know I couldn’t have done much more.

“If it was off my PB and I came fourth, it would have been a lot worse. I’m glad I put myself out there I did everything I could.

“Maybe in the race I was getting a bit excited and just forgot about the last five metres and putting my hand on the wall.

“I feel like I gave it everything and it’s just how sport goes I suppose. 

“Moments like this, I do have to remember that I was talked out of quitting in 2017 after my first worlds.

“I feel like I have really grown as a person since then and you have to remember things like that to not make moments like these feel as rough.

“I still have the 200m Breaststroke which is feeling just as strong as my medley so I’ll see where that takes me and put these frustrations into that – and use this as a massive learning curve that the race isn’t over until it’s over.”

Wilson added: “I have mixed emotions right now.

“My heart goes out to Abbie. It was a good race and for me it was put all you had out there and in the worst case you’re all Olympic finalists.

“I’m happy and that’s a dream come true but I wanted more form that time definitely.” 

Motivated Wilby qualifies second fastest

James Wilby said the motivation to get a good lane for the Men’s 200m Breaststroke final inspired him to qualify second fastest.

Wilby was swimming in lane eight in his semi-final after qualifying 15th fastest from the heats.

Yet the 27-year-old took the race to the rest of the field and was leading at the 150m stage before eventually settling for second spot in a time of 2:07.91 – 1.99 seconds faster than his heat time.

He said: “If you have got a lane, you have got a chance.

“Yesterday was a little bit tight for my liking even though the race was reasonably good and well executed.

“Coming into this morning, I was like ‘treat it like a final’. I really wanted a good lane as the 100m lane position is what hurt me a little bit. Getting a really good lane for tomorrow morning was all I was thinking about.

“I’m really happy with the result.

“I’ve come to the realisation that these Games are unique in so many ways and one of those is it’s not about the performance, it’s about the racing.

“When it comes to it, it’s the ones that can get out there and challenge the people next to them and really race.”

Teenager Jacobs sets new English record

Teenager Jacob Whittle set a new English record as he finished sixth in his 100m Freestyle semi-final.

The 16-year-old lowered his personal best yet again as he clocked 48.11 to knock 0.09 seconds off the previous English best of 48.20 set by Simon Burnett at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Whittle said: “It’s a new fastest time – I keep knocking little bits off it.

“I didn’t have the greatest of starts but managed to build it back last 50m, and it always gives you a bit more adrenaline being behind.

“It’s a stacked field, a really fast semi but I’m just happy to make the semi and keep knocking a little bit off my time – that’s all I can ask for really.

“Being in that GB squad, it gives you a lot of drive. We’re a very motivated team and they’re all competing at such a high level. 

“Being with people like Adam Peaty and Sarah Vasey, it’s just amazing to be with people who have been at that level for so long.

“For somebody like me, just starting to break on to the world stage, it’s amazing they can share that experience with me.”

Laura gives it her all

Laura Stephens missed out on a place in the Women’s 200m Butterfly final – but compatriot Alys Thomas did qualify eighth fastest after finishing fourth in her semi-final.

Plymouth Leander’s Stephens finished in 2:09.49, with Thomas clocking 2:09.07.

Stephens said: “I gave it my everything. 

“When I was swimming, I really thought I had it in the bag but touched the wall and it wasn’t meant to be. 

“Maybe automatic qualification from the heats made me a bit more relaxed last night and that’s where that swim came from.

“And this morning, with a bit more pressure on, things didn’t go quite to plan. There’s a lot to learn from that swim, so hopefully I can take that into the next couple of seasons.

“So far, it’s been incredible. I had a really rocky season in terms of not initially qualifying for the Games, getting it at the last possible minute, that was a big thing for me and I tried the best to carry that through. 

“Again, this is where we go back to the drawing board with my coach, see how we can improve and be better next time.”

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