Note to all the young swimmers out there: Don’t take sleeping pills before a big meet.
Led by James Magnussen, the Aussie men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team was the talk of London heading into the Olympics last summer. The squad was favored to finish first or second, but what happened in the pool was something nobody saw coming.
A fourth-place finish. No medal. And three days later, Magnussen lost a close 100m freestyle to American Nathan Adrian (Magnussen was the reigning world champ in the event).
Since then, stories about problems on the Aussie swim team have surfaced. Some have pointed fingers at the coaches and management, while others have put the blame squarely on the swimmers’ shoulders. At any rate, it seems like the Aussies were not a cohesive unit like the Americans were (remember this video?).
And now this: A story in the Sydney’s Daily Telegraph claims there may have been some illegal drug use amongst the team in the form of a sleeping pill called Stillnox. Which, by the way, was banned by the Australian Olympic Committee shortly before the team departed for London.
According to the article, the members of the 4x100m freestyle relay team made prank calls to teammates in the middle of the night and banged on hotel room doors. Rumors swirled of the junior members on the team taking Stillnox as a right of passage.
The swimmers were not allowed to drink alcohol but there was talk about some of them not being able to stand up and others who would slide to the floor while sitting on their beds.
Australia won 10 swimming medals in London – one gold, six silver and three bronze – which was ruled a disappointment by the nation’s sport ministers. A review is ongoing to determine why the medal count was so low.
There’s also an ongoing investigation looking into the claims of drug use. Magnussen would neither confirm nor deny the Stillnox rumors in an interview with Sky Sports Radio.
Call us crazy, but we think it would be best if swimmers steered clear of sleeping pills before the Olympics. Illegal or not.
It’s no coincidence that the U.S. men’s 4x200m freestyle relay team had its worst finish since 2001, a bronze in Budapest on Friday.
From 2002 through 2016, either Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte was part of the quartet (and usually both of them were).
But with Phelps retired and Lochte suspended, a much younger foursome swam at worlds, including three men who had no Olympic final experience.
The U.S. led after three of four legs, but Great Britain anchor James Guy (2015 World 200m free champion) had the fastest split of all 32 swimmers by .78.
Guy zoomed past American Zane Grothe as the Brits repeated as world champs in the relay by .98 over Russia, which was a half-second ahead of the U.S. for silver.
Grothe, who is better in the 400m and 800m frees, split three seconds slower than Guy. He was the slowest American by nearly a second (when accounting for slower leadoff legs due to flat starts).
One swimmer the U.S. left off the final quartet was Conor Dwyer, a relay finalist member at every Olympics worlds since 2011. But Dwyer, the Rio 200m free bronze medalist, was fourth in the 200m free at nationals and even slower leading off the U.S. 4x200m in the morning heats.
Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay Results
Gold: Great Britain — 7:01.70
Silver: Russia — 7:02.68
Bronze: U.S. — 7:03.18
4. Australia — 7:05.98
5. Japan — 7:07.68
6. Italy — 7:09.94
7. Poland — 7:09.62
8. Netherlands — 7:12.76
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Simone Biles is executive producing her own biopic, “The Simone Biles Story” (working title) set to premiere in early 2018 on Lifetime.
The film is based on her biography, “Courage to Soar,” and will reveal “the sacrifices and dedication it took her to become one of the greatest and most celebrated athletes in the world,” according to a press release.
Biles is a co-executive producer with three others, including her agent.
Biles follows Gabby Douglas, whose biopic, “The Gabby Douglas Story,” premiered on Lifetime in early 2014 after her 2012 Olympic all-around title.
Biles is expected to return to gymnastics training late this year or early next year.
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