Aquatics / Olympics

Plymouth Leander’s Stephens is excited to be competing in Olympic semi-final

PLYMOUTH Leander’s Laura Stephens will be hoping to book her place in the final of the women’s Olympic 200m butterfly event in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Stephens made her Olympic debut on Tuesday when she competed in the heats in Tokyo.

Going in the final heat, Stephens knew she just had to avoid a disqualification to reach the semi-finals, but she still produced a professional swim to clock 2:09.00 and finish third in her race behind China’s Yufei Zhang and and Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas.

“It’s nice to get the first one under my belt,” said Stephens afterwards. “Hopefully, I can move that forward again tomorrow.

“This is my first Olympics so just being here and being in the pool is amazing and taking every opportunity that I get. I was a little nervous but I’m just excited for tomorrow.”

Stephens, who will swim in the second semi-final (at 3.04am BST), knows if she can swim close to her personal best then she can make the final.

She admits she has been inspired by the success Team GB are having in the pool in Japan.

“We’re having a fantastic competition so far in the pool and it makes me super proud to be part of this team,” said Stephens. “Watching the success we’ve had so far just inspires you and it pushes you and it makes me want to perform at my very best as well.”.

Meanwhile, former Plymouth College pupil Calum Jarvis helped Great Britain qualify fastest for the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay. The final of that event will also be in the early hours of Wednesday.

Ex-Mount Kelly College swimmer Federico Burdisso will also be looking for glory on Wednesday when he competes for Italy in the final of the men’s 200m butterfly event.

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