On course for glory

Sports | REUTERS and CARINE CHOW 27 Jul 2021

One of Hong Kong's top Olympic medal hopes, Siobhan Haughey, surged in a 200-meter freestyle heat yesterday to earn a place in the semi-finals.

Haughey, 23, who made her Olympic debut at the Rio Games in 2016, entered the event with one of the best three times over 200m this year.

"My goal was to just make it through to the semi-final," she said. "I was in a good position because I didn't have to go all out to make it. That was my goal and I did it."

Rated Hong Kong's best-ever female swimmer and a good chance for its first swimming medal, she is likely to be a leading contender in today's semi-finals and hopefully in the final tomorrow, though she faces the likes of Australia's Ariarne Titmus, America's Katie Ledecky and Italy's Federica Pellegrini.

She goes into the semi-finals ranked eighth with a time of one minute, 56.48 seconds, while Ledecky topped the heats with 1:55.28.

Haughey raced in Heat 3 yesterday and was second to Czech Barbora Seemanova, who won in 1:56.38.

This is the second time Haughey has reached the semi-finals, as she previously made Olympic history for Hong Kong by qualifying for the semi-finals of the 200m freestyle at Rio.

Haughey was training at the University of Michigan until the pandemic forced pools to close and prompted her to return to Hong Kong in June 2020 to train at the Sports Institute, though her US coach kept watch from a distance and supervised her daily training.

Since the 2019 world championships when Haughey just missed the podium for the 200m freestyle, she has impressed in International Swimming League races as part of the Energy Standard team.

"Now I get to race the best in the world again and it's a great experience," she said.

Haughey will also compete in the 100m and 50m freestyle events tomorrow and Friday.

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