Thu, Aug 4, 10:26am by Staff Writer
Australia’s biggest traditional rival in the Olympic pool is the United States, and with just days before the start of the Rio Olympics, the Americans are expecting big things from the swimmers from Down Under.
Respected US sporting publication Sports Illustrated has tipped the Aussies to win a record 11 gold medals in Rio, and if the results go the way of the betting, at least six of them will come from the women’s team.
After a dismal showing London in 2012, the Aussie women have been showing renewed vigour and determination in the lead up to the Games.
One of the early standouts is sprinter Cate Campbell, who along with younger sister Bronte, are almost assured of medals in the next week.
While Bronte beat Cate and Sjostrom to win the 50m and 100m world titles last year, Cate showed the better form in this year’s national titles and set a 100m world record of 52.06 seconds last month.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Emily Seebohm is a strong chance to claim her first, and second, individual Olympic titles in Rio.
The veteran allrounder was a member of the winning 4×100 medley team in Beijing and won in the 4×100 freestyle in London.
This year she’s the favourite to claim both the 100m and 200m backstroke gold medals.
Seebohm is at just $1.70 to win the 100m backstroke on the Will Hill board, with Denmark’s Mie Nielsen at $4 and Katinka Hosszu of Hungary on $5. A good opportunity is offered by Australia’s Madison Wilson as fourth favourite at $6.50.
Other swimmers worth watching are Melanie Groves in the 200m butterfly and Jess Ashwood in the 800 free.
Groves is tipped third in a very tight podium, paying $3.50 behind Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi and Germany’s Franziska Hentke on $3.25.
In the 800m free, Ashwood is second favourite with New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle at $15, behind Kate Ledecky of the US on $1.01.
Australia has yet another chance in the 4×200 freestyle relay, paying $10 as third favourite behind the US at $1.12 and China at $7.
The first women’s medal to be decided will be the 4×100 free relay starting at 12:24 pm Sunday afternoon AEST.
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