Making History: Vanderpool-Wallace becomes first Bahamian female swimmer to advance into Olympic semi-final
Guardian Sports Reporter
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace became the first Bahamian female swimmer to advance into the semi-final round at the Olympic Games.
Swimming in heat one of the 100 freestyle, Vanderpool-Wallace touched the wall in 54.12 seconds for fifth.
Overall, she was 10th and just missed out on a lane in the event's final which took place last night.
In the opening rounds, Vanderpool-Wallace swam 53.73 seconds, setting a new Bahamian national record.
She will hit the pool on Friday, August 3 in the 50m freestyle.
After days of waiting, competition finally get underway for Team Bahamas on Wednesday, as swimming sensation Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace took to the pool in the heats of the women's 100-meter free.
Going into the event, the Bahamian national record holder said she was ready to go and was hoping to make history for The Bahamas.
No Bahamian has ever qualified for an Olympic final in swimming, and Vanderpool-Wallace had a realistic shot at doing so at these games. Last year, she became the first Bahamian swimmer to qualify for a final at the FINA World Championships, and now, she's trying to carry that success over to the Olympics.
"I'm feeling good. I'm ready to compete," she said in an interview, right before her heats.
"I came into these Olympics knowing that it is going to be tough. These girls here aren't going to be messing around. I just have to be prepared to swim really fast.
"I know that I'm quite capable of being in the final, but that's not the main goal. The main goal is to swim as fast as I can. Once I can swim my best time, I would be happy with that."
The swim competition at the Olympics began on Saturday. However, Vanderpool-Wallace was only scheduled to jump in the pool for competition for the first time on?Wednesday. She said that for the past four days she has been enjoying village life and watching the other swimming events.
"It's been a wonderful experience so far," said Vanderpool-Wallace.
"The people here are really nice and have been very accommodating. The rest of the team has really been opening up to me and has been very friendly. We're all teammates, so we support each other."
Vanderpool-Wallace is the only swimmer on this year's team.
With seven senior national records, and five more in the relays, Vanderpool-Wallace has developed into the best female swimmer in Bahamian history. She finished seventh in the 50m Free at last year's FINA World Championships, in her national record time of 24.79 seconds.
Vanderpool-Wallace had her Olympic debut in Beijing, China, four years ago. There, she reached the semi-finals of both the 50m and 100m Free events, but failed to advance further. This year, she plans to capitalize on that experience.
"I'm very excited," she said.
"This is something that I have waited on for four years. I'm astounded that four years has gone by so quickly, but I'm ready to go and see what happens."
© 2012 The Freeport News