Tokyo 2020: Alumna Anna Hopkin through to first individual Olympics swimming final as Thursday unfolds in Tokyo
University of Bath alumna Anna Hopkin is through to her debut individual Olympic final in dramatic style. She snatched fourth in her 100m freestyle semi today and made the final by just one hundredth of a second in a time of 53.11 seconds.
“I wasn’t sure that the time was going to make it, so when I scraped in eighth I was really happy. I am just glad to get it out the way and then I can come back fresh tomorrow,” said Hopkin, who studied Sport & Exercise Science.
Bath National Centre swimmer Freya Anderson missed out, taking sixth in her semi-final with a time of 53.53, but came back to the pool in the evening alongside training partner to help GB set a new Olympic record and qualify fastest for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final.
Anderson, whose year has been disrupted by both illness and injury, is looking towards Paris in just three years’ time and said: “I’m happy to have got to come and experience the Olympics.”
22 year-old Olympic debutant Brodie Williams, coached by Jol Finck at the University pool, can also hold his head high after reaching the semi-finals of the 200m backstroke before losing out in 15th place overall in a time of 1:57.73.
“It’s a learning experience for me,” he said. “The next Olympics are three years away, so hopefully I can take that experience and move it on. This is our greatest team ever, being a part of it is amazing.”
Also gaining his first Olympics experience on Thursday was Jacob Peters, who placed sixth in his 100m butterfly heat in 52.07.
At the Sea Forest course, comeback mum Helen Glover and her NHS doctor partner Polly Swann were fourth in 6:54.96 in a hugely competitive women’s pair final won by New Zealand.
Glover – who, along with double-gold crew-mate and alumnus Heather Stanning, learnt to row at the Uni-based Start centre – told BBC Sport after the race: “Right now I’m pleased we put everything on the line. We knew it was going to be a really big final to be in, getting here was a tough route. You can do anything you want to do. Trying and failing is no problem as long as you try”.
Vicky Thornley, part of the same Bath Start scheme as Glover, was in superb form to finish second in her women’s single scull semi-final in a time of 7:25.12 to qualify for the final.
Irish and Team Bath judoka Ben Fletcher’s remarkable recovery story came to an end today at the spiritual home of his sport, the Nippon Budokan. He gave it his all but was thrown for a Waza-ari score by Uzbhekistan’s Mukhammadkarim Khurramov in the round of 32. To even reach the Games was a feat in itself, having broken his leg just a few months ago.
At the Tokyo Stadium the GB women’s rugby 7s team opened their account with a 14-12 victory over the Russian Olympic Committee before being edged out by a strong second-half comeback from New Zealand in their second match. The squad features Bath alumni Deborah Fleming and Natasha Hunt.