In a massive shock in the pool at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Australia's super sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell both missed the medals in the 100m freestyle. And the elder sister later revealed she blew her mental preparation for the race.
Cate led from Bronte at the 50m turn, but they both faded over the final 25 metres, as Simone Manuel of the USA and Penny Oleksiak of Canada dead-heated for the gold medal. Swede Sarah Sjostrom took the bronze.
This was totally unexpected. Cate Campbell holds the world record of 52.06 seconds and had twice broken the Olympic record at this meet with sub 53 second swims. But she appeared to tire badly and notched a time of 53.24, while Bronte finished in 53.04.
The split times give a pretty clear-cut clue as to why Cate tired over the second lap. She turned in 24.77, which was a quarter of a second under the world record split. On paper, it appears she just got a little too excited during the race, something Cate confirmed shortly after the race.
"I just spent too much emotional energy in the lead-up and even in the race. I let my head get ahead of me, and that's not something I should do," she said.
"It's hard when you're in form coming into an event, not to think about outcomes. I just let my imagination run away with me a little bit. It's something I've been working on hard to not do, but maybe I've still got another four years left in me.
"I should have stepped up and performed better but that's the way the chips fell. That was my first ever Olympic final for 100 freestyle. I've still got the 50 freestyle to go, so that's what I'm going to looking forward to and concentrate on now."
The result is all the more surprising given the emphatic win by the sisters as part of Australia's 4 x 100m freestyle relay team on night one of the swimming finals here in Rio.
IN BETTER AUSTRALIAN NEWS IN THE POOL TONIGHT...
Dual 100m and 200m backstroke world champion Mitch Larkin atoned for his disappointing fourth in the 100m backstroke earlier this week with a strong swim for silver in the 200m backtsroke.
Larkin led at he 50m mark, but turned second at the 100m point and remained there throughout. American took gold with Russia's Evgeny Rylov third.
There have been one or two disappointing moments between the golden highlights in the pool for Australia this week. Cameron McEvoy topped the list of disappointments, flopping in the 100m freestyle final and failing to qualify for the 50m final in the semis earlier tonight in Rio.
Word is, McEvoy has had issues with illness in Rio. But Larkin has looked fit as a fiddle and you sensed he still had one big swim left in him. He did indeed. Larkin was beaten by just 0.34 of a second by the American, and told The Huffington Post Australia he was happy with his swim.
"I knew going in all I had to do was control my mind and replicate swimming at home in Australia in Brisbane," the likeable 22-year-old said.
"To come away with the silver, obviously I'm pretty happy. Obviously going into this week the goal was to try and get a gold, but this is pretty amazing.
"For me the silver lining is the learning curve and that is handling the pressure that comes with it. This is my first major international meet that I've done where everyone is watching. You can feel it on pool deck. As soon as you walk in there are cameras. People [back home] are saying 'can't wait to see you win gold'."
"So for me it was a massive learning experience and I guess it shows that people like Phelps, they've done it for ages, always stepping up at the major competitions which is pretty phenomenal."
And speaking of Phelps...
IN YOUR DAILY DOSE OF MICHAEL PHELPS WOW...
The American won his 22nd Olympic gold medal with an incredible swim in the 200m individual medley.
Quite simply, Phelps blew his extremely highly credentialled rivals away. He won by almost two seconds. The man is not human. Except when you see him with his adorable baby. Then he goes into a swimming pool and he's not human again. That is all.Suggest a correction