Swimmers fail to make splash as Olympics open

After a stunning opening ceremony, Germany's enthusiastic start to the Olympic Games was immediately dampened on Saturday with a wet performance from the German swimming sweethearts Paul Biedermann and Britta Steffen.

Swimmers fail to make splash as Olympics open
Photo: DPA

The Olympic swimming campaign started in disastrous fashion when world record-holder Biedermann failed to reach the 400m freestyle final and the women’s relay was team eliminated.

Biedermann, who set the 400m free world record of 3min 40.07sec in 2009, at the height of the high-tech suit era, mustered just the 12th-fastest time in the heats led by China’s Sun Yang.

“I’m obviously disappointed and now need some time to collect myself,” he said after swimming 3:48.50. “It was not so good. I wanted to lead from the front, which had worked well, but I just could not hold back on to it.”

“I didn’t go off too fast. It was as it should have been,” added Biedermann, who will try to regroup for the 200m free that starts on Sunday.

Germany’s women also missed out on a spot in the women’s 4x100m freestyle final with the ninth fastest time.

Britain, buoyed by the rapturous support of the home crowd, finished equal fourth in their heat with Sweden, the two countries claiming the last two spots.

The German quartet including 100m freestyle world record-holder and Biedermann’s girlfriend Britta Steffen, along with Silke Lippok, Lisa Vitting and Daniela Schreiber, were fourth in the second heat.

“We may have underestimated the competition,” said Steffen, the reigning Olympic 50 and 100m freestyle champion. “With the World Cup bronze medal from last year, we really thought that we were sure for the final. We screwed up, we’re mature athletes. Things can’t be worse.”

Schreiber said the Germans had been too conservative, under advice from their coaches.

“We wanted to keep a little bit in reserve, but apparently that was too much,” said Schreiber.

AFP/The Local/jlb

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Bavarian teen hailed hero after saving youngster from drowning in pool

A 13-year-old boy in Bavaria is being praised for his swift action in saving a youngster from drowning at an outdoor pool.

Bavarian teen hailed hero after saving youngster from drowning in pool
Justin Fischer at the pool where he saved the four-year-old boy. Photo: DPA

Justin Fischer, from Windischeschenbach, east of Nuremberg in Bavaria, noticed the boy at the bottom of the non-swimmers pool at a Freibad (open-air pool) last month.

As the youngster didn't appear to be moving, Fischer quickly jumped into the pool and pulled him out of the water.

“His lips were blue, he was no longer breathing,” Fischer said. He called for help and a pool attendant took over the cardiac massage at the edge of the pool.

Shortly afterwards, the four-year-old began to breathe again.

READ ALSO: Freibad Fracas – rows escalate at Germany's open air swimming pools

It was a natural reaction to jump in and help the boy, said the student. News of the rescue spread around the region and, in the last days, police and pool attendants have been praising the student for his efforts.

Michael Mutzbauer and Alexander Horn, from the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) police unit, had been called out to the outdoor swimming pool when the incident happened on June 4th.

The mother of the four-year-old had been looking for her son, who had been at the sand playground shortly before he got into difficulty in the water, Mutzbauer said. When the mum came to the edge of the pool, the little boy had started to breathe again. The boy was then taken to a clinic in Weiden for further treatment.

There, the officers visited him and promised they would drive by his home in the patrol car when he was better. They recently fulfilled this promise, as can be seen on Twitter in a post by the Oberpfalz police.

Police called Fischer and another 11-year-old boy called Luca who also helped with the rescue mission “civilian heroes”.

The youngster, said to be called Jakob, is recovering well, Mutzbauer said.


To save – retten

Drowning – (das) Ertrinken

Non-swimmers pool – (das) Nichtschwimmerbecken

Cardiac/heart massage – (die) Herzdruckmassage

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