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Wiltshire swimmer Millward finishes fifth in final
9:28pm Thursday 30th August 2012 in Sport
WILTSHIRE swimmer Stephanie Millward has vowed to take out her opening day frustrations on the 100m backstroke field on Friday night claiming only a place on the Paralympic podium will do.
Millward, who made her Games debut in Beijing four years ago, got her first taste of the London 2012 when she eased into the final of the 100m butterfly at the Aquatics Centre on Thursday morning.
Qualifying fourth fastest the 30-year-old looked perfectly positioned for an assault on the medal places but failed to find another gear when it mattered, finishing fifth in 1.12.01seconds.
At the head of the field Natalie Du Toit added to her extensive Paralympic CV, touching home first in 1.09.30secs, with Spain’s Sarai Gascon second and Elizabeth Stone of the USA third.
After looking so controlled in qualifying, Millward struggled to hide her disappointment but insisted today’s 100m backstroke offers her the perfect chance to set the record straight.
She said: “It was not a good swim for me so I am disappointed by that. 1.12 is not really good enough for me – I do that in training so why am I doing it there?
“It is a bit of a shame but it is the first race, it is the first day of the Paralympics so I just have to look forward now to the 100m backstroke.
“That is my favourite event so hopefully I will be better."
Millward is the reigning European champion in the backstroke and claimed silver at the same event at the 2010 World Championships, but knows she must improve on her first final to trouble the medal places.
With a packed house roaring on the British team, Millward conceded she may have set off too hard, causing her to lose touch at the finish, but also questioned whether a wardrobe alteration may have damaged her performance.
“I just seemed to die at the end which was weird because I’ve been training in that, perhaps I just tired myself out,” added Millward.
“When you walk out there those crowds are fantastic and you just get that roar. "However, you also want to perform and I can't make any excuses."
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