Yusra Mardini – Refugee Olympic Team lead by Tegla Loroupe
What a start for Rio 2016 in the pool; with tears, records gone, and great swimming I
will bring you the highlights from the first session.
In the woman’s 100m fly Sarah Sjostrom from Sweden placed a time of 56.26 meaning
she is seeded first going into the semi-finals just ahead of Dana Vollmer and Penny
Oleksiak. Aged 22, this is Sarah’s 3rd Olympics after she finished 27th in the 100m
butterfly in Beijing and 4th in London. She is the current world record holder in the 50
meter butterfly (long course), the 100 meter butterfly (long course and short course),
and the 200 meter freestyle (short course). Sarah is coached by Carl Jenner.
Dana Vollmer from the United States won gold at the 2004 Olympics in the 4×200-
meter freestyle and set the world record. At London 2012 Vollmer won gold and set the
world record in the 100m butterfly, and also won golds in the 4×100-meter medley relay
and 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Vollmer became a mother to a son called Arlen just
15 months ago.
16-year old Canadian Penny Oleksiak stepped into a 56.73 to qualify 3rd overall into
the semi-finals of the women’s 100 fly. Oleksiak broke the World Junior record and her
own Canadian Record in the event; and is coached by Bill O’Toole.
Refugee Yusra Mardini fled her home in Damascus for Beirut, Istanbul and finally Izmir
in Turkey, where she managed to squeeze on to a dinghy crossing the Mediterranean.
Thirty minutes into their journey the motor stopped and the overcrowded boat, carrying
20 people, threatened to capsize. Mardini stated that “I thought it would be a real shame
if I drowned in the sea, because I am a swimmer,” and so pushed the boat to shore
saving the lives of the people on board. Mardini won her heat by over a second with a
time of 1min 9.21sec and quoted: “Everything was amazing. It was the only thing I ever
wanted was to compete in the Olympics. I had a good feeling in the water. Competing
with all these great champions is exciting. I’ve only been back swimming for two years
so we’re only now getting back to my levels of before.”
In the men’s 400m free Conor Dwyer of the United States won the heats with a time of
3.43.42. Dwyer won a gold medal as a member of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay team
at London 2012. Dwyer swam under Head Coach Maureen Sheehan and Associate Head
Coach, Michael Lawrence during his high school years.
Miguel Duran Navia from Spain broke down in tears on the waters’ edge after falling
into the pool and false starting his 400m freestyle heat. Normally in swimming you are
disqualified for a false start unless the starter believes it is due to a noise or a flash in
the audience. Duran Navia eventually raced, but finished with a time of 3:53.40. In 2004
Ian Thorpe’s did a false start at the Olympic trials but it was decided a noise in the crowd
had caused the fall start.
Stephen Milne from Great Britain is coached by Ann Dickson and achieved a lifetime
best and a Scottish Record.
In the woman’s 400m IM Katinka Hosszú from Hungary is seeded fastest into tonights final with a time of 4:28:58. he won her first medal at the 2004 European Short Course Swimming Championships, a bronze in 400m medley. In London 2012 she finished fourth in the 400m IM with a time of 4:33.49.
At the 2013 World Cup she set world records in 100m IM, 200m IM and 400m IM, breaking 200m record two times and 100m record three times during the World Cup series. In 2014 Hosszú broke the short course world record in the 100 m and 200 m individual backstroke and in 100 m, 200 m, and 400 m individual medley.
At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Katinka Hosszú posted the top time in prelims of the 100m backstroke, and broke the tech suited world record of Ariana Kukors from 2009 200m IM. She also won bronze in the 200 back, was 5th in the 200 free, and gold in 400m IM.
Hosszú won six gold medals at the 2015 European Short Course Championships and she broke world records in the 100 m and 400 m individual medley. She is coached by her husband Shane Tusup.
Miley is a former World short-course champion (2012), European champion (2010), double Commonwealth champion (2010 and 2014), and double European short-course champion (2009 and 2012) in the 400 m individual medley event. As this is probably Miley’s last Olympics she is hoping she can get a medal as she was left disappointed in London when she placed 5th in the 400m IM. Miley also represented Great Britain in Beijing in the 200m and 400m individual medley.
Aimee Wilmott competed in London in the 400 metre individual medley. She also competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and 2014 games in Glasgow where she won silver medals in the 400 metre individual medley and 200 metres butterfly. She is coached by Lisa Bates who is the head Coach of the London Aquatics Centre Performance Programme.
In the men’s 100m breastroke Adam Peaty swam a world record with 57.5 in the 50m breastroke, with the semi-finals to come the question is how fast can he go? Peaty is coached by Mel Marshall was ranked number one in the world in 2004 after breaking the British 200 m freestyle record to ensure selection to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. At the 2008 Short Course World Championships in Manchester, she came third as part of the British women’s 4×100 m freestyle relay team. Mel claimed six medals at
the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and is currently the second most decorated female athlete ever. Marshall ended her swimming career at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Cameron van der Burgh is seeded 7th going into the semifinal. He won the 100m Breaststroke gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in a new world record time of 58.46 seconds. Van der Burgh later admitted to breaking the rules by utilising illegal dolphin kicks during the race.
In the last event of the session in the 4x200m woman’s relay, Australia broke the Olympic record, with a time of 3:32.39. The United States of America came 2nd with 3:33.59 and Canada came 3rd with 3:33.84. The Canadian’s had a great start but the Campbell sisters got the race back which resulted in Australia qualifying fastest for tonight.
What were your highlights? Tweet us on @femalecn with your opinions from the first
session and what you are most looking forward to in the upcoming days.
Bio: My journey into coaching started when I was 10 when I started assisting at the swimming lessons at my club. I progressed too gradually having more responsibility and to having my own group and gaining my qualifications. I am now also an assistant coach with our junior squads and an official. I was selected to attend the Youth Sport Trust National Talent Camp due to my work in coaching and officiating. I hope to share my journey and aspirations as a young coach through this blog.