Instead of the finals, the world record holder and the women’s quartet went back to the olympic village with preliminary failures. Biedermann talks about the reasons for his disappointing performance in the 400 meter freestyle. Steffen still managed to smile despite the bungled relay competition. "Now it’s over and we’re looking ahead," said the double olympic champion. "It was the first day, it can’t get any worse, let’s have a look."
Only in the beginning everything went according to plan in the two important german races. After 50 and 100 meters biedermann was even below his world record. Also the passage time to the race half of 1:52,41 minutes was good. But then the competition passed by, biedermann looked heavy and could no longer counterattack. "Out the back i couldn’t hold it anymore," explained biedermann. After a time of 3:48.50 minutes, the 400-meter run was 1.24 seconds behind the final time – the bitter result for the world record holder was 13th place.
Steffen had finished second as the starting swimmer (54.43 seconds) of the 4 x 100 meter quartet, but in the end she was only able to finish in a disappointing ninth place. The quartet with her, silke lippok, lisa vitting and daniela schreiber was almost a second too slow for the medal decision. "Apparently some of us had too much reserve. Since all the other nations seem to have swum to their fullest. With it we have the A…-card that we are out in ninth place," described schreiber – and had to swallow sadly several times.
The swimmers looked for the guilt with itself, the responsible persons took the first bankruptcies in the london basin against it on their caps. "It was a very bad day for our swimmers," admitted director of competitive sports lutz buschkow. Now you have to "step on the gas again from the valley" to achieve "a decent olympic result.
It is questionable whether biedermann will be able to compete in his paradest 200-meter freestyle event, in which the heats are scheduled for sunday. "I have to collect myself for an hour first. We’ll continue tomorrow," said the 25-year-old and quickly left the catacombs of the aquatics center. Upstairs, meanwhile, britain’s queen elisabeth II was looking on. Passing by the prelims in blue costume.
Anything but merely the marching orders of the german team management had come true. "Because we wanted to save strength, we wanted to do more over the legs". That was a tactical mistake," explained biedermann coach frank embacher. "We will attack again tomorrow, I am confident of that. Now we’re going to spend two hours saying the bose word with sch… I would like to throw it out of the window."
Like biedermann, world champion park tae-hwan (sud korea) was initially ruled out of the tournament – due to a supposed false start. But then the world federation FINA accepted a protest from south korea and the olympic champion was allowed to start in the final heat after all. The fastest to qualify for the final was the chinese top favorite sun yang in 3:45.07 minutes.
Besides biedermann, superstar michael phelps almost swam his way out of the final. The record-breaking olympic champion from the USA was eighth in the 400 meters, just seven hundredths of a second faster than european series champion laszlo cseh. The hungarian failed completely surprisingly. Yannick lebherz dropped out in eleventh place in 4:15.41 minutes.
Over 100 meters butterfly alexandra wenk finished 21st in 58.85 seconds. Place of all prelims. Olympic record swum here by american dana vollmer in 56.25. "End of the line" was also the motto for breaststroke swimmers christian vom lehn (1:00.78/rank 19) and hendrik feldwehr (1:01.00/rank 21) over 100 meters.
Steffen, who already had to save the balance sheet alone in beijing 2008, was not dissatisfied with her own performance. The time was actually "totally fine" for a pre-run, the berlin woman said. With great respect she reported on the reaction of her beloved after the shock of the preliminaries. "He looked at me very clearly and said, that was a disc, but now I’ll see what I can learn from it. There he was for me a very rough in the moment."