The measure of an athlete is often how they front up in the face of adversity. And after agonisingly missing out on getting her hands on an Olympic medal with a fourth-place finish in the 400m individual medley on Saturday, Hannah Miley dug deep to pull out the positives.
Admittedly the race for gold was always going to be out of Miley’s reach with Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu smashing the world record by over two seconds to be crowned champion.
However, Miley was busy with her own battle to hold off Spain’s fast-finishing Mirela Belmonte Garcia. Third at the final turn, the Scot kicked valiantly for home but Belmonte Garcia bettered Miley’s desperate stretch for the wall to snatch bronze by 0.15 seconds.
“It’s mixed emotions,” said Miley, who will now switch her attentions to the 200m individual medley heats today – her 27th birthday. “I’m happy but also disappointed. It is hard to know that you are so close to a medal and then for it not quite to happen.
“But I’m not letting this summer Olympics define my whole career. My journey still continues. I’ve got the 200m IM, so I’ll rest and recover for that and enjoy the rest of the meet.”
Saturday’s first swimming day of Rio 2016 ended up producing world records, with the Australian women’s 4x100m freestyle team taking gold in a time of 3:30.65, while, in the earlier heats session, Great Britain’s Adam Peaty bettered his own 100m breaststroke record with a time of 57.55 seconds, qualifying fastest for today’s final, although world bronze medalist Ross Murdoch was unable to join him in the medal race.
The Scot could only post 1:00.05 in his semi-final – some way down on his 59.47 heat swim – to finish as 11th fastest overall and bring an end to his Rio ambitions.
“I am not disappointed – I am angry,” said Murdoch. “I am angry at myself because at the minute I don’t have any answers. Everything has been going so right for me this year. To have such a good run in terms of training and in races – I have been swimming really quick in season which is new.
“It is definitely back to the drawing board for the next four years to make sure that I’m right come Tokyo. I didn’t have anything in the back 25m and the last 10m, I was really struggling when I am normally a back end swimmer.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, Stephen Milne marked his Olympic debut with a new 400m freestyle personal best of 3:46.00, but it was not enoughto make the final, won by Australia’s Mack Horton, although the Perth City Swim Club member will return to the pool for the 1500m on Friday.
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