whisperer McEvoy will lead Australia charge: Thorpe
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[June 23, 2016]
By Sudipto Ganguly
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Cameron McEvoy has
that rare ability to bend water to his will and the sprinter could
help Australia to a bumper haul of swimming medals at the Rio Games,
five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe has told Reuters.
McEvoy posted a time of 47.04 seconds in the 100 meters freestyle
at Australia's Olympic trials in April, the fastest recorded since
synthetic suits were banned at the end of 2009.
That put the 22-year-old among the favorites for Rio's blue riband
sprint in August and to Thorpe was evidence that being a champion
swimmer is about more than just physique.
"He is one of the most exciting swimmers I have seen," Thorpe, who
won five gold, three silver and a bronze medal at the Sydney and
Athens Olympics, told Reuters in an interview.
While McEvoy, at 1.85m, is still towered over by many of his rivals,
Thorpe said his technique and affinity with the water set him apart.
"I think people who are very successful in swimming are those that
can capture the water, they learn how the water moves and how you
can move within it," he added.
"A lot of people look to physical characteristics to explain
people's brilliance and it really has very little to do with this.
"And with someone like Cameron McEvoy's stature, it shows those
people 'I want to master the water.'"
Thorpe, who will act as a panelist for India's Star Sports during
the Olympics, also has high hopes for the Campbell sisters, Cate and
Bronte, in Rio and said their sibling rivalry can only bode well for
the country's medal prospects.
At the April trials, sprint queen Cate set the second fastest 50m
freestyle of all time in 23.84 seconds, just 0.11 seconds shy of
Britta Steffen's 2009 world record set in a synthetic swim-suit.
She also set the year's fastest time of 52.38 seconds in the 100
freestyle, edging her sister and world champion Bronte, who was a
runner-up despite carrying a shoulder injury.
The sisters are set to clash in the 50 and 100 freestyle in Rio
while teaming up in the women's 4x100m relay and 4x100m medley
[to top of second column]
Australia's Cameron Mcevoy starts in the men's 100m freestyle final
at the Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia, August 6,
2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
"I think the match-up between the Campbell sisters is very
interesting," said Thorpe. "Those two girls have swam so well and
they are the best of friends. And number one and two in the world,
which looks very good for our relay ..."
Australia has long relied on its swimmers to provide a bulk of
medals at Olympics but won only a single relay title in London four
The worst medal haul in 20 years led to a series of reviews that
found evidence of bullying, drunkenness and the abuse of
prescription drugs by some team members.
Thorpe said the swim team would be out to redeem themselves at Rio.
"Australia has a very strong team. It's the best team that we have
fielded for a decade I think when it comes to swimming," he said.
"I feel we will win a number of gold medals. I am hesitant to say an
exact number but I think it will be between four and six gold
"We have more people that are ranked world number one than we did
going into the London and we are very strong in a number of events
... We will win some of the higher profile Olympic gold medals."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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