Aussie golden girls sweep the London Olympic pool
Australia’s London 2012 Olympic campaign started with a bang on the opening day of competition, as the unfancied Aussie women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team set an Olympic record and beat the Dutch favourites to claim the first gold for Australia.
THE quartet of Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger won Australia’s first gold of the 2012 London Olympic Games with a stunning performance in the women’s 4×100 metre freestyle relay.
The Aussies set an of 3:33.15 to crush the Netherlands’ hopes of back to back Olympic crowns, the Dutch settling for silver in 3:33.79 and the USA the bronze in 3:34.24.
Coutts (53.90) got them off to a wonderful start, touching in third, Campbell (53.19) elevated them to second, before Elmslie (53.41) propelled them to the lead. Then Schlanger (52.65) hung on amid withering pressure from Dutch world number one Ranomi Kromodwidjojo (51.93).
Australia has a proud history of success in the event with victories in 1956 and 2004, silver medals in 1960 and 1964 and a bronze four years ago in Beijing when Campbell and Schlanger were both a part of the team.
For that duo this was some form of redemption for that Beijing result and a wonderful exclamation mark on comebacks from illness that wouldn’t dare end with selection on this Olympic Team. They wanted more.
For Coutts, who finished sixth in the event at the Australian Olympic Trials, her swim justified the faith instilled in her by the team’s coach Shannon Rollason and for Elmslie, the moment is nothing short of stunning given that 12 months ago she was barely on the radar for Olympic selection, let alone a candidate for a gold medal.
For all, including heat swimmers Emily Seebohm, Yolane Kukla and Libby Trickett, it was a moment that was moulded on the self belief that all posses and the support of the men that coach them.
Elmslie, 18, struggled to contain herself afterwards, disbelieving of the whirlwind she has been part of in the last 12 hours.
“That’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced in my whole life,” Elmslie said.
“I can’t stop smiling after that. I still can’t believe I’m an Olympic gold medallist. All four of us swam so well tonight and it is special to share the feeling with the other three girls.”
“There’s no better feeling than that,” said Schlanger, star of the Aussie show.
“When everyone can fire on the day, that’s what Olympic gold is made of.”
Schlanger, who clocked the second fastest split of the final behind Kromodwidjojo, augering well for her assault on the individual 100m freestyle, was visibly moved by the victory.
“I can’t describe it. I’ve always wanted to sing the National Anthem on the dais but to do it at the Olympics is unbelievable,” Schlanger said.
“We all dug deep and we came through with the win.”
And what a win it was. - With sources