Claire Donahue will swim for an Olympic medal in the 100-meter butterfly Sunday in London.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Claire Donahue delivered the fastest 100-meter butterfly time of her life Saturday in the semifinals of the London Olympics.
Now Donahue will likely have to swim even faster Sunday to make her way to the Olympic medal stand.
Donahue, the former Western Kentucky swimmer, will compete in the 100-meter finals at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. Her 100-fly qualifying time of 57.42 was the fifth fastest of the eight swimmers who advanced to the Olympics finals.
What is the gap between Donahue and a bronze medal?
If you judge Donahue by her semis time and the time of the third fastest swimmer Saturday (Jeannette Ottesen Gray of Denmark), it is .17 seconds.
There's a considerable larger gap between Donahue and the second-place qualifier – Alicia Coutts of Australia, who swam 56.85. American Dana Vollmer, who set an Olympic record in the morning session and then backed it up with a 56.36 in the semis, is a solid favorite to win the gold medal.
Donahue is trying to become the first WKU athlete to win an Olympic medal in the summer games in 36 years. Berd Herrman earned a bronze medal with West Germany in the 4 x 100 relay in 1976 in Montreal.
Donahue swam better in the semis than she did in the morning session, suggesting on her Twitter account that she needed to get her nerves under control. She has been working with a sports psychologist for that reason for several months. This is what Donahue Tweeted between sessions:
"I felt good this morning. Just have to control my nerves a little better. Can't wait to swim tonight!"
She seemed happier with her semifinals swim, Tweeting: "57.4! I was so happy I just wanted to skip to the warm down pool. I couldn't have asked for a better race. Can't wait for tomorrow!!!"
WKU athletic director Todd Stewart also got into the Olympic spirit, sending Donahue this message: "Tremendous job by @clairedonahue on making world's "Elite 8" in women's 100 meter butterfly - goes for a medal tomorrow - making#WKU proud."