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Cate Campbell 5th, Bronte 7th, In Rio Olympics 50m Freestyle

Australia won just two individual swimming gold medals in Rio.

14/08/2016 11:12 AM AEST | Updated August 14, 2016 12:42
Michael Dalder / Reuters
Not to be.

Nope, it just wasn't to be. Cate and Bronte Campbell have finished 5th and 7th respectively in the final of the 50m freestyle at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Much was expected of the sprinting sisters in the shortest race on the Olympic program but they both failed to flatter. Cate in particular was very slow off the blocks. Her reaction time of 0.78 seconds was 0.15 seconds slower than the winner's reaction time.

Yet Cate's race time of 24.15 was just 0.08 behind the winner, Pernille Blume of Denmark.

In other words, her poor start cost her the race.

For the Campbell sisters, the Rio Olympics started off exactly as planned. They swam the last two legs of the women's 4 x 100m freestyle on night one of swimming finals and destroyed the opposition.

Then came the 100m freestyle a few nights later. Cate qualified fastest for the final, having set an Olympic record in the heat, and again in the semi. She turned first with younger sister Bronte second, and you thought "how far?"

But the unthinkable happened. Both sisters missed the podium. Cate finished seventh after it turned out she'd swum the first lap much too fast. She later admitted she had totally blown the mental preparation for the race.

It now appears Cate Campbell may have had preparation issues for the 50m freestyle too, given her tardy beginning to the race.

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Brilliant in the relays, disappointing in her individual races.

So here's a home truth about the Campbell sisters -- about whom so much was written before these Games.

In a combined five Olympics for the two sisters, neither sister has won an individual Olympic gold medal. That doesn't make them bad swimmers by any stretch of the imagination, but it definitely puts them a rung below the very best.

The 50m was their last chance, on the last night of finals in Rio. On paper it was anyone's race. That's an awful sporting cliche but it's true in this case. Get this: there was just 0.25 separating the fastest and slowest qualifier in the final.

One more time. Just a quarter of a second between fastest and slowest. Miss the dive and your race would be over. And so it proved.

AND IN OTHER NOT SO GOOD SWIMMING NEWS

Australia's Mack Horton has finished fifth in the 1500m freestyle in the last chance for an Australian individual medal at the Rio Olympics.

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He did his best.

For only the second time in Olympic history, every starter in the 1500m freestyle final had swum under 15 minutes in the heats to make the final.

Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri had been the fastest qualifier in 14:44 and tried to steal the race from lane four. This he achieved. he was untouched throughout, finishing just three seconds outside Sun Yang's world record in a time of 14:34:57.

America's Connor Jaeger took silver, with bronze to another Italian in Gabriele Detti.

Horton was fourth or fifth throughout throughout most of the race and finished in a time of 14:49:54. Australia last won what was once considered its pet event in 2004.

BUT IN MUCH BETTER NEWS...

Australia's women's 100m medley relay team has taken silver behind the USA with Denmark third.

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Guess who won? Clue: Stars 'n' stripes. Another clue: not us.

Australia was sixth after the third leg, but Cate Campbell unleashed an absolutely brilliant swim which was half a second quicker than anyone else in the pool -- but which made you wonder where that sort of form was in her individual events, the 100m freestyle and the 50m freestyle.

AND IN SOME MORE GOOD NEWS...

Kyle Chalmers swam like he'd left the stove on at home to pick up a bronze medal from absolutely nowhere for Australia in the final event on the Rio swimming program -- the men's 4 x 100m medley relay.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Will it shock you to learn Michael Phelps won another gold medal?

Chalmers' whole-hearted efforts have unquestionably been the highlight of pool competition for Australia.

Meanwhile Team USA added another gold medal. Michael Phelps was part of the team in what was almost certainly his last Olympic swim. That's 23 gold medals now, five of them in Rio from six swims. Wonder where he'll keep them all?

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