ALL of Australia was stunned yesterday morning when our much-vaunted men's 4x100m freestyle relay team not only missed out on gold, it didn't even get a medal. Before the Games, national champion James Magnussen was not only talking gold medals, he was talking world records.
Taking the lead-off role in the final, 'The Missile' was almost a full second behind the time he swam at the Olympic trials in Adelaide in March, his disappointment clear.
"Words can't describe how I feel," Magnussen said.
"I don't know what went wrong. I felt like I was going really well into that race.
"Obviously that's my first big disappointment at international level and I have to regroup from there and try and back up."
He'll get that opportunity when the men's 100m freestyle heats start at 7pm tonight (AEST). The semi-finals are scheduled for 4.30am tomorrow morning.
Head coach Leigh Nugent tried to be philosophical about the result. "This is part of the travels in life, the Olympics is a tough stadium," Nugent said. "You gotta get out there and take the good with the bad."
As disappointing as Magnussen was, James Roberts was no better. He was disappointing in the heat and, swimming last in the final, made no ground on the French and Americans before being passed by the Russians. Roberts earned his place in the individual event after finishing second to Magnussen in Adelaide in what was the second-fastest time in the world this year.
He was expected to offer the biggest challenge to Magnussen, but would need to improve significantly on his relay efforts to make the fnal.
Day two in the pool wasn't all doom and gloom.
Christian Sprenger took silver in the men's 100m breastroke final, finishing hot on the heels of South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh who set a new world record of 58.46 seconds.
And after winning a gold medal as part of the women's 4x100m freestyle relay team, Alicia Coutts backed that up with a bronze in the final of the 100m butterfly behind American Dana Vollmer.
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