PLYMOUTH Leander’s Ben Proud has reached the semi-finals of the men’s 50m freestyle event at the Olympic Games in Rio.
The 21-year-old University of St Mark and St John student clocked 21.83 seconds in the heats, which ranked him joint seventh out of the 85 competitors in the ‘splash and dash’.
Proud, though, will know he will need to be close to his British record time of 21.65 seconds to reach the final with 13 of the 16 semi-finalists all going under 22 seconds, including Ukraine’s Andrii Govorov, who was easiest the fastest with 21.49.
But Proud was happy with his heat swim and feels he can go faster in the semi, which will take place at 2.03am on Friday morning.
“I’m happy with that,” he said, after finishing. “It was blowing off the cobwebs from the 100.”
He added: “In the 50 no-one can take it easy – you have to swim fast or you are out.
“This is my favourite event and I’ll take 21.8 in the heats.
“It was a ticket to the semi-finals and that’s all I needed.”