Relay team shatters British record but it’s so near and yet so far for Team GB

Great Britain’s Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay team shattered their own national record during an opening Olympic Games finals session of near misses for Team GB.

The team of Anna Hopkin, Abbie Wood, Lucy Hope and Freya Anderson clocked 3:33.96 as they took fifth spot to lower their previous best of 3:34.03 they clocked in the semi-final yesterday.

A lifetime best of 53.16 from Anna Hopkin got the team off to a great start and the team were third following Abbie Wood’s leg of 53.23.

However, they couldn’t hold onto that spot despite the efforts of Lucy Hope (54.73) and Freya Anderson (52.84).

Wood said: “To come away with the best time as a relay team, we couldn’t have done much more.

“It’s a good start to the meet and it’s very exciting to see what is to come.

“With this being only the third or fourth time we’ve raced together as this four, it’ll be interesting to see how far we can go if we get more experience.

“Being together, it’s all of our first Olympics, so I feel like we all stepped up for our first Olympic final and I think we did ourselves proud by coming away with a British record.”

Hopkin said: “It’s good to get some swims under my belt. Having not raced last year, that PB was from quite a while ago so I was happy to get back down there.”

Anderson added: “We were in the race for bronze and just missed it but considering where we were last year, I don’t think any of us could have expected this.”

Agony for Litchfield who vows to ‘come back better’

Max Litchfield vowed he would ‘come back better’ after finishing agonisingly outside the medals in the 400m Individual Medley for the second successive Olympic Games.

After taking fourth spot in Rio in 2016, Litchfield, swimming in lane eight, was within shot of bettering that in the final 50m of a thrilling race.

However, he touched in 4:10.59 – only 0.21 seconds behind Australia’s Brendon Smith, who took the bronze, and level with Hungary’s David Verraszto.

Loughborough National Centre swimmer Litchfield was sixth at the halfway stage but had moved up to fifth after the breaststroke leg and looked liked he was going to take third following a strong freestyle swim in the final 100m – only to miss out yet again.

America’s Chase Kalisz took the gold medal in 4:09.42, with his compatriot Jay Litherland second in a time of 4:10.28.

Litchfield said: “I knew Jay [Litherland] was going to be in the mix so if I was with him I would be somewhere near.

“I had a great freestyle. I had confidence in holding him off but I just couldn’t do it in the end. It’s annoying as I was fast last night.

“It’s tough, fourth again, but it is what it is. I’ve got more years in me so I’ll come back and I’ll be better next time. It’s a step in the right direction after the last few years.

“I said I’d put my head down and go for it. It just wasn’t quite enough but that’s sport. Sometimes you fall short.

“It’s unfortunate for me that I keep coming fourth at these major events but that’s life – sometimes you don’t come out on the right side of it and this is one of those examples.

“But we will come back better. I have made some serious improvements and learned so much about my race craft over these last few years since my shoulder injury. 

“We we will go back, we look at what we can do better and get better.”

Emotional Aimee finishes seventh

An emotional Aimee Willmott admitted it had been a tough race as she finished seventh in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley.

Willmott had qualified second quickest in 4:34.28 but couldn’t replicate that performance in the final as she clocked 4:38.30.

She said: “It is kind of where I’m at – I just wanted to have fun. 

“The time was a little bit of the boil but I just had to get in and do my best … it was a pretty tough race if I’m being honest

“Not quite the time but those girls were quicker than last night and I knew it was going to be tough for me to back it up.

“I’ve been in great shape but doing two of them I thought was a big challenge. So it was just try and get in there and swim it was pretty tough but it was almost hang in and do whatever I could.

“I’m pretty kind of happy with my career and to make another Olympic final, I almost kind of shocked myself a little bit. That was amazing for me.”

Peaty, Wilby book finals spot

Adam Peaty and James Wilby comfortably booked their place in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke final.

Defending Olympic champion and world record holder Peaty clocked 57.63 to win his race and finish as the fastest qualifier, while Wilby was third in his semi-final in a time of 59.00

Peaty said: “It was a little bit better, a very similar time.

“It was more controlled but medals are not won in the heats, they are not won in the semis so still a little bit of reservation for tomorrow.

“The Olympics is always about racing – it’s never about the time. 

“I’m the best racer in the world I think so I’m looking forward to it. I wanted to be a little but quicker but hey-ho it’s a morning swim and you never know what you’re going to get.”

Wilby added: “I think everyone always wants to go faster, it would’ve been nice to have gone a little bit faster.

“but I said yesterday that the most important swim is the final swim, so progressing through the rounds is what I’m trying to do, to get to the point where tomorrow morning I’m ready to put down my best swim when it really matters.

“I’m feeling really good about that.”