Newcastle Olympian produces swim of his life

NEWCASTLE'S Thomas Fraser-Holmes produced the swim of his life as Australia finished fifth in the 4x200-metre freestyle relay at the London Olympics on Tuesday night.

The 20-year-old Olympic rookie was chosen to swim the lead leg for Australia and responded to the pressure by producing a personal best 1 minute, 46.13 seconds.

Fraser-Holmes’s previous PB for 200m freestyle was 1:47.04 at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

Fraser-Holmes had his team second behind the US, for whom superstar Ryan Lochte set the pace with a sizzling 1:45.15.

The US proceeded to score a resounding victory in 6:59.70 as anchorman Michael Phelps collected the 15th gold medal of his illustrious, unprecedented career.

France (7:02.77) finished with the silver, China (7:06.30) the bronze, then Germany (7:06.59) and Australia (7:07.00).

Fraser-Holmes's teammates, Kenrick Monk, Ned McKendry, and Ryan Napoleon were unable to convert his outstanding start into a medal.

Fraser-Holmes, who finished seventh in both the 400m individual medley and 200m freestyle finals, has now finished his London campaign and is looking forward to a well-earned rest.

But in due course he will return to training and set his sights on the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, where he believes he can challenge for a medal.

"I just let it all loose tonight,'' he said.

"I thought I paced it pretty well. I was so proud of these guys, the way we conducted ourselves out there tonight.

"In four years time, look out. We'll be challenging for that No.1 spot.''

Fraser-Holmes said it was an honour to race against Phelps, who collected a silver and gold in Tuesday night's races to take his all-time Olympic medal tally to 19 - a feat that may never be matched.

"What he did has changed the sport forever,'' he said.

"Everyone knows swimming now because of Michael Phelps.

"He's one of a kind. He's the best and I don't think [his record] will ever be beaten.''

Read Robert Dillon's exclusive interview with Thomas Fraser-Holmes in full in tomorrow's Newcastle Herald.

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