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Olympic swimming - Wednesday previews

A disappointing fourth day in the pool, with three seconds from three bets, including Phelps being touched out. Oh well, it could be a lot worse.

P&L now stands at

TURNOVER 14.5 units
PROFIT +0.16

Men's 100 Free

James Magnussen set the fastest time of the prelims with a 47.63 in the semis, considerably faster than his heat and his relay leg. He made all sorts of excuses for the relay flop, blaming everyone but himself - is it going to inspire him to claim the individual gold or will it all become too much for him? Before the Games, he was trading at 1.35 on Betfair, now he sits around 1.7. A repeat of his time from the semis should be enough to win if others stick to their levels, but this is the Olympics, the event where competitors dig deep to lift a notch. Enter Yannick Agnel who destroyed the field in the 200 freestyle. His semis time was relatively slow, he'll be out in lane one, but he had a relay to take part in an hour later last night, and on the back of their earlier win in the 4x100m relay, I believe the French swimmers have a stronger ethic towards the team - he wanted to make sure he had something left to race against Phelps, Lochte and co. His splits in the last leg of the relay were superb - a high 1.43 when you allow for the reaction time variation, and that would have seen him ahead of all those in his wake in the individual 200m. The gap was simply too great to make up in the relay, but he was almost a second faster than everyone else - and nearly two seconds faster than all bar Phelps. Considering Agnel took 1.3s off his 200m PB, if he can make half that improvement at this distance from a PB of 48.02, then he can really give this a shake. Magnussen's 47.1 is well out in front of all other performances from this field, it's also a decent chunk ahead of his next best, so whether he can repeat that with his head not quite right is a query.

1pt Agnel 4.0 BetFred (bet down to 3.1)

Men's 200 Breaststroke

Kitajima is going for three consecutive golds in this event, something not even Phelps was able to achieve in his pet event, the 200 fly. The Japanese legend is now pushing 30 though and looks ready for the paddock. Gyurta has won gold at the past two World Championships and still has time on his side at 23. His main rival is likely to be Michael Jamieson, a Brit who slashed his PB twice in the prelims. The crowd will go mad with a local in lane four - does he have any improvement left in him? It would be a great story for GB to finally win a gold, and their first one in men's swimming since 1988 and only their third since the Games were originally here in 1908. Third-fastest qualifier Willis wasn't that far behind either, giving the local support even more to get excited about.

On balance of it, I have to go with the guy with the score on the board, and especially when he's only just into the red numbers.

1pt Gyurta 1.83 Bet365, William Hill (bet down to 1.72)

Women's 200 Fly

The American fastest qualifier, Hersey, has slashed her best this year in the prelims but will probably have to do it again to match Jiao and Hoshi who have times in the 2.04 range in the cupboard. Jiao, the reigning world champion and Beijing silver medallist, has been the fastest in this event for a couple of years, but trails Hoshi by half a second in 2012. The Japanese swimmer's time is a bit of an outlier, nothing close to the 2.04.69 she recorded in April, but I'd rather take the higher price on her than about evens on Jiao.

0.5pt Hoshi 8.5 Bet365 (bet down to 7)

Women's 4x200 Free

I'll be at the fencing all day on Wednesday so I probably won't have a chance to update this after the heats. Australia's depth in this race is quite good with seven women in the top 22 fastest performers of 2012. America's fourth best is ranked 24. Now of course, relay swimmers don't always compete at this discipline regularly so that could be a fairly false stat, but it does give great hope to the Aussies, who already have the 4x100m freestyle gold under their lycra. At 3.5 or so, that's worth a bet.

1pt Australia 3.75 Bet365, Blue Sq, Paddy Power (bet down to 3.2)


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