Merewether swimmer in action at Olympics

Newcastle swimmer Thomas Fraser-Holmes vowed to improve in his next event, the 200 metres freestyle, after finishing seventh in the 400-metre individual medley at the London Olympics on Saturday.

Swimming in lane two, the 20-year-old debutant from Merewether posted a time of 4 minutes 13.48 seconds in the gold medal race, which was comprehensively won by American Ryan Lochte, who dethroned his illustrious countryman Michael Phelps in the process.

"It's disappointing, but that's my first Olympic final and I got seventh, so I'm the seventh-best swimmer on the planet,'' Fraser-Holmes said.

"If you look at at it from that perspective, I think it's pretty good.''

Fraser-Holmes will race in the heats of the 200m freestyle -- in which he holds the Australian record -- at 7.20pm today AEST.

The final be tomorrow morning at 4.37am AEST.

He will also compete in the 4x200m relay, the heats of which will be held at 8pm AEST.

"Fingers crossed,'' he said.

Fraser-Holmes said he would be better for the experience and vowed to improve at Rio in 2016.

"Definitely, that's on my list straight away,'' he said.

"I'll be writing down tonight what I want to do next year and in years to come in my goals, so I take that in my bank tonight and bring it out in another four years hopefully.''

Fraser-Holmes said his heat swim "maybe took a little bit out of me'' but added: "No excuses.''

Phelps, aiming to become the first man in history to win three successive IM Olympic golds, finisheda disappointing fourth in a time of 4:09.28.

Lochte (4:05.18) smashed the field by more than three seconds, finishing metres ahead of Brazil's Thiago Pereira (4:08.86) and Japan's Hagino Kosuke (4:08.94).

Fraser-Holmes said there was no shame in finishing behind legends such as Lochte and Phelps.

"That's definitely right,'' he said.

"Ryan and Michael are tremendous athletes and they deserve all the accolades they get.

"I'm sure Michael is disappointed but he's a great athlete. He'll come back from that.''

Fraser-Holmes qualified fifth-fastest for the final with a time of 4:12.66 in his heat, in which he finished third.

The heat was won by South African Chad Le Clos (4:12.24) with Lochte (4:12.35) finishing second.

Phelps, who arrived in London as the most successful Olympian in history with an unprecedented 16 gold medals to hit name, barely snuck into the final with a surprisingly tardy 4:13.33 in the earlier heats.

He was the eight-fastest qualifier.

Fraser-Holmes said after his heat that he "wasn't pleased with that at all'' and vowed to improve in the medal race.

"The sky's the limit,'' he said. "I want to do a PB [in the final].

"I want to get as close as I can to that 4.10.

"If I can't, I can't, but I'm in an Olympic final and that's great in itself.

"It's my first really, big, big International meeting, and I've made the final in my first swim.''

Merewether's  Angie Bainbridge, a gold medallist at Beijing four years ago, will contest the 4x200m relay heats on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Nukalba shooter Daniel Repacholi finished 28th in his opening event, the 10m air pistol, won by Korean Jin Jonogh.

Repacholi, competing at his third Olympics, posted a score of 572-12x and missed the cut for the six-man final.

The two-metre tall mine-truck driver will compete in the 50m air pistol event on Sunday week.

The Australian Opals, featuring Novocastrians Suzy Batkovic and Jenni Screen, open their basketball campaign with a blockbuster clash against hosts Great Britain.

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