Swimming: Gandy seals place on nervous energy
Thursday 08 March 2012
Ellen Gandy will fly home to Australia on Sunday having secured her Olympic place in both the women's fly events and put some welcome distance between her and London 2012. Gandy won the 200m last night to add to her triumph in the shorter distance earlier in the week, but it was not the victory that struck a chord, rather her confession afterwards that nerves had come close to wrecking her swim.
The draining pressure to make the top two spots, and within the required time, to claim the rare honour of competing in a home Games has been a constant throughout the trials week. Each swimmer has spoken of the utter relief of making the cut. Last night Michael Jamieson said that "fear" drove him down his last length to earn his Olympic place behind Andrew Willis in the 200m breaststroke.
Gandy shot off the blocks and down the first two lengths in a time quicker than her British record, set in 2009 when the now banned artificial suits were producing a spate of extraordinary times. But it was no statement of intent, instead a result of sheer nervous energy.
The 200m fly is among the toughest events in the pool. "It was suicide," said Gandy. "I was so unbelievably nervous. I thought I would be more relaxed because I was already on the team for the 100. I thought I was going to faint in the pool room. My nerves made me go out too fast and I paid for that on the last 50. I felt like I was swimming uphill."
Gandy moved to Australia four years ago after her father got a job running Melbourne airport and competes on the Australian circuit. Among those she trains with Down Under is Leisel Jones, who swam in the 2000 Sydney Olympics aged 15 and knows all about the pressures of a home Games. "Being here the last couple of weeks has been really exciting to see all of the publicity," said Gandy. "But it is nice to separate myself from that pressure."
Willis won the battle of the three Bath breaststrokers in the 200m, overtaking Jamieson on the last length. Both set personal bests, leaving the more experienced Kris Gilchrist trailing in third. "I wasn't expecting it to be that quick," said Willis, who touched in 2min 9:33sec, the best in the world this year. "This week has been really nerve-racking."
The night's other final, the men's 100m free, was the first of the week that failed to produce a qualifier for the Games. Simon Burnett won it but was more than half a second outside the Fina A time required.
Latest in Sport
Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Arsenal transfer targets: The summer signings that would please Thierry Henry, including Sami Khedira and Edinson Cavani
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Thierry Henry 'singles out' Mesut Ozil, picking up on the Arsenal midfielder's embarrassing stats
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...