Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittanie Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger of the Women’s 100 Metre Freestyle relay team after winning gold in London.
July 29, 2012
It became a bit of a running joke in Manchester last week at the Australian team camp. Because there were a number of fresh-faced rookies, whenever an unfamiliar one wandered past the gathered media, the question was asked: “Is that Brittany Elmslie?” Today, we all know who Brittany Elmslie is.
Mum has always been a big influence on my life. She always supported me even when I was at rock bottom. She was just there when I really needed her, she was not pushy, and back when I wanted to quick swimming and I’d had enough
The 18-year-old will be anonymous no more. She is now one of Australia’s first Olympic gold medal winners in London, along with her fellow 4x100m freestyle relay members, Melanie Schlanger, Alicia Coutts and Cate Campbell, the quartet kickstarting the nation’s medal success in the pool, and at the 2012 Games.
Elmslie helped put the team in lane four for the final with a brilliant heat swim on Saturday morning, and soon after the coaches met and decided they could trust her with the swim in the final, despite her inexperience. She joined the other trio who had all been rested for the final, and Elmslie didn’t disappoint anyone.
“The heat swim this morning was one of the best races I have done in my career and it paid off and they put me in the final,” she said. “I just wanted to do Australia proud and I think I achieved that.”
Elmslie revealed that it was only a month before the selection trials in March that she started giving herself some sort of chance of making the team. Before that she was “not in with a chance”. But hard work from both her and her coach Matt Brown helped lift her from “rock bottom” to Olympic gold medallist.
“I was just not liking swimming any more, and I really had to find the love of it again,” Elmslie said of being at rock bottom. “I just needed a new, fresh start and I moved from Noosa [to Brown in Brisbane] and decided to go train with Emily [Seebohm] because she was such an inspiration to me, and it’s just been the best for my swimming.
“The whole family deserve this [the gold medal] as much as me as they have sacrificed so much for me, especially moving to Brisbane in February last year.
“Mum has always been a big influence on my life. She always supported me even when I was at rock bottom. She was just there when I really needed her, she was not pushy, and back when I wanted to quick swimming and I’d had enough, she said: “If you want to quit, it’s up to you, you have to love the sport. She was right.”
Elmslie isn’t the only one who could so easily have not been there on Saturday night, and who could have so easily been already out of the sport.
Schlanger, who did a sensational job holding off the fastest woman in the world, Dutchwoman Ranomi Kromowidjojo, over the final 100m, was not even swimming 18 months ago.
“After Beijing I had a few months off, had a bit of a holiday and then came back to try and get back into swimming, but was hit with sickness all the time and was up and down all the time,” Schlanger explained. “It was only 18 months ago that I wasn’t even in the pool at all, so to be standing here today is incredible.
“When I stopped [swimming] I never believed I would get back in the pool at all. I guess the time off really helped me a lot. It’s changed my perspective on swimming and on life … definitely for the better.”
Asked if she considered a gold medal at the Olympics when she made her return, Schlanger replied: “It was not in the picture. My dream was just to make this team and even just in a relay, so to come from trials and win that event (100m freestyle) and get an individual swim (in the 100m freestyle) and then to get a strong enough team together to be able to produce this result … I am speechless.
“It feels surreal. We came together as a team today and it’s really rare in relays to get four girls firing at the one time. The stars have to be aligned.”
Melanie Schlanger was born on August 31st, 1986 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanie_Schlanger
August 31st, 1986
8 + 31 +2+0+1+1 = 43 = her personal year (from August 31st, 2011 to August 30th, 2012) = Congratulations. Celebrating.
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