Gandy crashes out of 200m butterfly
Britain's swimming medal hopes were dealt a major blow when Ellen Gandy went out in the heats of the 200 metres butterfly.
Gandy had come to the London Olympics as one of the medal favourites. The 20-year-old won silver at the World Championships in Shanghai last year and her form as well as her mature, quiet confidence, had given rise to optimism she may become the first British woman to claim an Olympic butterfly podium place.
The Melbourne-based swimmer faded dramatically on the final length though and finished fifth in her heat, 17th overall and one place outside qualification. Two days ago Gandy finished eighth in the 100m final.
It was not all bad news for Britain on Tuesday morning, Gandy's good friend Jemma Lowe made it through to the semi-finals in the same event, in third place overall, while Michael Jamieson set a British record as he and Andrew Willis impressed in the 200m breaststroke heats and the men's 4x200m freestyle relay squad reached Tuesday night's final.
Gandy's exit though was a real shock, with an Olympic medal the only one missing from her collection. Qualification looked a formality until the final turn from which she emerged well down and clearly struggling, the tank obviously empty, down the last 50m as she touched in two minutes and 9.92 seconds.
That time was almost four seconds down on her swim in the same pool in March at the Olympic trials. It was reminiscent of the 2009 World Championships when Gandy entered as the world rankings leader but finished 15th over 200m and 16th in the shorter race.
In complete contrast to Gandy's exit was the new record set by Jamieson as he became the first British man to dip below 2mins 9secs in the 200m breaststroke.
The Scot has risen to the occasion this week, setting a huge personal best over 100m when he just missed the final having only been drafted into that event last month following the withdrawal of Daniel Sliwinski. However, his speciality is the 200m and his 2:08.98 saw him break Kris Gilchrist's British record as well as take 0.86 off his previous best to clock the second fastest time overall.
Robbie Renwick, sixth in Monday night's 200m freestyle final, anchored the 4x200m freestyle relay to fifth place overall and a spot in the final in 7:10.70.
Men's freestyle sprinting in Britain is in a real trough at the moment. Only Adam Brown competed in the 100m freestyle heats from which he failed to make it through to the semi-finals, finishing 20th in 49.20.