Emily Seebohm of Australia (right) checks the clock after winning a silver medal in the Women's 100 Backstroke Final on day three of swimming competition at the XXI Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on the Gold Coast, Australia, Saturday, April 7, 2018.
Emily Seebohm of Australia (right) checks the clock after winning a silver medal in the Women's 100 Backstroke Final on day three of swimming competition at the XXI Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on the Gold Coast, Australia, Saturday, April 7, 2018. AAP Image - Dave Hunt

Stadium quirk costs Aussie gold

AUSSIE swimming star Emily Seebohm may have been robbed of a third Commonwealth Games gold medal in the women's 100m backstroke final by a quirk of the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.

On a golden night in the pool for the Aussies, which included Cate Campbell smashing another record, Seebohm's downfall was the only blight.

The outdoor stadium was a major concern for the 25-year-old heading into the event - and her nerves were proved correct on Saturday night when the unique conditions of the open roof venue wreaked havoc on her gold medal charge.

Backstroke swimmers often require a roof to guide their swim down the pool so they know their position within the lane ropes.

The defending champion fell short by just 0.03 seconds when Canadian world champion Kylie Masse produced the perfect lunge for the wall to snatch the lead as the pair stretched for the wall.

Seebohm was quick into the water and led Masse by 0.03 seconds at the 50m wall and appeared to extend her lead after the turn.

However, her race was turned on its head as she pushed to the wall in the second fifty - dramatically running into the lane rope on her right side, costing her precious time as she corrected the direction of her strokes.

Having fallen short by just 0.03 seconds - the collision with the rope almost certainly cost her the gold.

 

Channel 7's replay showed Seebohm hitting the rope about 25m from the finish before Masse struck to win the gold.

Aussie swimming Commentators suggested on Saturday night that the uncomfortable, unfamiliar quirk of swimming in the outdoor stadium had a dramatic impact on Seebohm's race.

 

 

 

Aussie Kaylee McKeown also hit the lane rope in her first fifty and Aussie swim legend Giaan Rooney said the lane rope touch would have left her "devastated".

McKeown finished fourth, just 0.11 second short of the bronze medal.

"Watch Kaylee here. See her hit the left hand lane rope. That possibly cost her a medal. She'll be devastated by that."

Aussie swimming legend Ian Thorpe also told Seven the outside conditions had the potential to throw an athlete off their best performance.

"That's what we're talking about. Small things we're talking about for ideal conditions for people to swim in," Thorpe said.

"Not having roofs for backstrokers. They don't have something to line themselves up."

It comes after Seebohm admitted last week to having massive issues staying off the lane ropes during training at the Gold Coast venue.

She even admitted to using blacked out goggles in a bid to help her stay in the middle of her lane.

"There's not a lot we can do. We train indoors so it is really hard," she said.

"But everyone is going through the same challenges - no one has an advantage in the race.

"If I hit the lane rope I am probably going to stay with it because there is no point bouncing from one rope to the other - you just end up racing more. We will just have to do our best."

Seebohm got caught up in the lane ropes before suffering a shock loss in the 200m backstroke final by 0.01 of a second to world junior champion Kaylee McKeown at the national trials.

Seebohm said she was satisfied with her swim.

"I'm stoked. So much faster than what I did at the trials," she said.

"If it wasn't for the crowd cheering me on I don't think I would have been able to swim as fast."

- with AAP



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