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That Sarah Vasey is even competing in Birmingham is something of a miracle and the swimmer is desperate to enjoy the ride knowing that her future beyond it is uncertain.
A knee injury that flared up a few weeks ago had left her unable to swim breaststroke until this week, an issue when that is your main event.
So entering the 50m breaststroke, which she memorably won four years ago in the Gold Coast, her expectations were tempered.
That something was not right was clear from the heats, as she overcame a slow start to battle through to the semi-finals, but she could not repeat the trick in the evening, missing out on Saturday’s final.
In the context though, the fact that she was just four hundredths off the top eight, swimming 31.47 seconds, was remarkable.
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She explained: “It’s not as fast as I wanted to go but a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to race so I’m just happy to be here. I knew it wasn’t going to be anything fast but to make it into the semi-final, I literally started swimming breaststroke again a week ago so it’s pretty impressive.
“I picked up something at the Mare Nostrum at the end of May, we thought it was tightness in my quad. I had an MRI and they picked up that I had a bone cartilage defect in my knee so I’ve had to be off breaststroke for three weeks and I only started last week. So it was touch and go whether I would even be able to race. I’m just happy to have made it through the heats and into the semis.
“Hopefully with a bit more rest, I’ll be alright for the hundred.”
While the next focus is the 100m breaststroke, the longer-term outlook is rather murkier, with Vasey admitting she will have some big decisions to take once these Games are over.
She added: “It’s given me a lot to think about and questions I wasn’t ready to answer after the summer. Basically if I want to carry on, then I’ll have to have surgery so lots of questions. But I’ll focus on this week and see how it goes.”
While Vasey missed out on a place in the 50m breaststroke final, Imogen Clark looks a strong contender for a medal, qualifying second fastest with only World Championship bronze medallist Lara van Niekerk going faster than her.
Luke Greenbank also safely booked his place in the final of the 100m backstroke, although compatriot Brodie Williams challenged his supremacy within the England team by qualifying slightly faster.
And there were silver medals for Abbie Wood and Jacob Whittle, both of whom competed in the heats of the mixed freestyle relay, with England’s quartet touching home behind Australia in the final.
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