IRELAND’S MELANIE NOCHER is looking forward to next week’s 200m backstroke after getting her first taste of action in London’s Aquatic Centre this morning.
Nocher finished third in her heat and 33rd overall with a time of 1:02.44, but was not good enough for a place in the top 16 who progress to tonight’s semi-final.
Australia’s Emily Seebohm clocked the fastest time in qualifying with a blistering 58.23, a new Olympic record, while Team USA’s great young hope Missy Franklin also progressed with a time of 59.37.
Nocher will be back in the pool on Thursday for the 200m heats and said that this morning’s swim would be ideal preparation for her main event.
“It was the first race and it’s not far off my best. It’s only 0.5 off my best so you’ve got to be positive in these things,” the 24-year-old told Will Downing.
I’ve never went under 1:02 in the morning so that’s probably one of my quickest swims ever in the morning. I know I’m capable of going faster than that but at the same time, it’s a big event.
This is just a warm-up really for the 200m, just to get a chance to race and see what the whole thing was. Obviously I would’ve hoped for a little bit quicker but I’m not disappointed with it.
It’s hard having your main event first in a major championships like this. It’s always nice to get one out of the way and just get rid of any pre-race nerves and things like that. That’s all this really was for me, just a chance to get in and get racing.
The Holywood native was part of Team Ireland in Beijing four years ago, and while she enjoyed recapturing that Olympic feeling, Nocher admitted that she was drained at the end of her swim.
“It was a bit of a buzz,” she added. “It was a bit weird really. I wasn’t nervous, I was just excited.
“I just don’t really feel like I have anything in me now, I feel like I maybe should have ate a bit more before I raced. I feel a bit lightheaded now so maybe I didn’t put enough fuel in the tank for what I needed to do.”
Nocher’s optimism contrasted with that of teenage swimming sensation Sycerika McMahon who was bitterly disappointed not to qualify from the 100m breaststroke heats.
McMahon, 17, finished eighth (1:08.80) in a super-fast heat won by 15-year-old Lithuanian prodigy Ruta Meilutyte in a world leading time of 1:05.56. Although McMahon’s time was only 0.43 outside her Irish record in the event, she declined to speak to media in the mixed zone after the race.
There was disappointment as well for Wexford’s Gráinne Murphy who looked well below her best when trailing home in a distant eighth in her 400m freestyle heat.
The virus which disrupted Murphy’s preparations and forced her to withdraw from yesterday’s 400m individual medley looked to have taken its toll. She finished in 4:19.07, over 15 seconds behind winner Coralie Balmy of France (4:03.56).