By: UBC Athletics
Former UBC Thunderbirds swimmer Brent Hayden has won the bronze medal in 100m freestyle swimming at the London Olympics.
Hayden, from Mission, B.C., finished in a time of 47.80, just behind gold medalist Nathan Adrian from the United States and silver medalist James Magnussen of Australia.
“It’s amazing right now,” said Hayden, immediately following the race. “You always have that doubt in the back of your mind, but then something comes forward and you realize you have an equal shot just like everyone else, so you just go for it.”
Reaching the podium in his specialty is the culmination of an outstanding career in the pool. Previously the World Champion in the 100m freestyle in 2007 and a silver medalist in the same event at the 2011 World Championships, Hayden was seeking revenge in his third and final Olympics after failing to make the final in the 100m freestyle in 2008 in Beijing.
“I couldn’t afford to hold anything back,” said Hayden. “With 25 metres left, it hurt, but I was saying to myself this could be the last 100m freestyle race of my career so all I was doing was going for it.”
Hayden becomes the second Thunderbirds swimmer to ever win an Olympic medal. Bill Mahony won a bronze in the 1972 Olympics in Munich as part of Canada’s 4x100m medley relay team.
Hayden has one last race left at the Olympics. He will take part in the 4x100m medley relay on Friday.
Watch Hayden’s medal-winning swim and post-race interview on the CTV website.
Martha McCabe Advances To Olympic Final
Shortly after Hayden’s race, UBC student Martha McCabe qualified for the finals in women’s 200m breaststroke.
McCabe finished third in her heat in a time of 2:24:09, over two seconds faster than her time in the morning heats. It was the seventh fastest time in the semi-final.
“It’s good,” said McCabe following her race. “I needed to get through to the final, but I still have to be faster tomorrow. I know I can be faster. It’s in me. It’s just a case of getting it out of me and will be working with my coach to do that just tomorrow.”
McCabe is no stranger to success in this event. Last year at the World Aquatics Championships she took home a bronze medal in the 200m breaststroke.
Rebecca Soni of the United States was the fastest swimmer in the semi-final, setting a new world record, clocking a time of 2:20.00. The new mark broke the record previously held by Annamay Pierse. The Thunderbirds alum originally set the mark at the 2009 World Aquatic Championships.
Tera Van Beilen also swam in the event today, but did not get past the morning heats. Van Beilen clocked a time of 2:27:70, finishing seventh in the preliminary round. Earlier in the week Van Beilen came in ninth place in the women’s 100m breaststroke.
Watch a video interview with Hayden