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September 18, 2000
Nisha Millet knocked out of swimming
India's Nisha Millet found out at first hand the realities of top flight Olympic competition, this morning.
Turning out in heat one of the women's 200m freestyle at the Sydney Acquatic Centre, Nisha must have felt pleased with herself after topping the heat, finishing with a time of 2:08.89 seconds.
Trouble was, her heat was comprised of just three swimmers -- Millet herself, Pamela Vasquez of Honduras, and Marella Mamoun of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Her splits were 30.16 at the 50m mark, and 1:02.49 at the 100m turn.
Followed five more heats, and when the results were all in, Millet's time was the 37th best, out of 39. Obviously, the two swimmers at the bottom of the table were the two Millet had vanquished in what proved to be the slowest heat of them all.
The top 16 swimmers at the end of the heats qualify for the semifinals, to be held this afternoon.
Overall, the heats in the event lacked the dazzle that is now being routinely associated with the Sydney Acquatic Centre, with the women seemingly preferring to swim within themselves, and save their best for the final.
Australia's Susie O'Neill, a hot favourite for the event, touched home in the fastest qualifying time of 1:59.14, well under her best for the year of 1:57.47.
But the real action was in Heat 5, when reigning world champion Claudia Poll raced against Germany's darling, Franziska van Almsick, winner of the silver in the past two Olympics. Neither swimmer pushed herself, and when the results were in, Poll had touched home ahead of her rival, the timings being 2:00.11 and 2:00.37 respectively.
In the final analysis, O'Neill heads the field going into the semis. Poll recorded the third fastest time, while van Almsick is placed seventh.
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