(Update at 3:30 p.m.) Matt Grevers swam into the finals of the 100-meter backstroke during today’s semifinals at the London Olympics coming within .22 of a second of the Olympic record clocking the fastest qualifying time.
The Lake Forest High School and Northwestern University graduate’s time advances him, and the next seven qualifiers that competed in both semifinals, to Monday’s final at 1:58 p.m. Chicago time or 7:56 p.m. London time.
The British announcers asked aloud of Grevers in their broadcast, “I wonder if he would really go hard here?”
Grevers answered that question in the final 50 meters and took the next step to individual Olympic Gold as he pulled away from his semifinal field. Grevers’ time in the semifinals was just shy of the Olympic record of 52.44 as he cruised past the field, pulling away in the final 50 meters.
“Grevers was not challenged at any stage,” said the British announcers on the live stream on Comcast. “It was a great performance and nicely done. He was really dominant after the 50-meter turn.”
At the turn, Grevers, who covered that distance in 25.77, found himself in second place behind Gareth Kean of New Zealand. But Grevers turned up the energy to win the semifinal over Japan’s Irie Ryosuke, who was second with a time of 53.29.
(Earlier at 6:55 a.m.) took his first steps towards his goal of Olympic Gold today in the London Olympics with the fastest time in the preliminary round of the 100-meter backstroke.
The and Northwestern University graduate covered the distance in 52.92. His qualifying time was not far off the Olympic record of 52.54 and just under a second off the world record of 51.94.
China’s Feiyi Cheng was second with a clocking of 53.22 and Japan’s Ryosuke Irie was third in 53.56.
Grevers, along with Cheng and Irie, plus 13 other qualifiers, all advanced to the semifinals of 100 backstroke. Those are scheduled for later today at 4:25 p.m. Chicago time or 10:25 p.m. London time. The event is streamed live on Comcast and may possibly be seen live on NBC (WMAQ TV, Ch. 5 in Chicago) today.
Should Grevers be one of the top eight semifinalists, he will swim for the gold medal at 1:56 p.m. Monday local time.
Grevers, who had the fastest Olympic qualifying time of the 51 swimmers, appeared ready as he jumped into the Olympic pool while many Chicagoans were asleep at 5:17 a.m. Grevers, who was in lane 4 of the final of 6 heats, got off to quick start, claiming the early lead.
Leading from start to finish Grevers had a split at the 50 meter mark of 25.57. He continued his pace and easily out touched Cheng, smiling as the cameras closed in as he climbed out of the pool.
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