The Age
Persistence pays off for Sprenger with unexpected silver

Persistence pays off for Sprenger with unexpected silver

Mon July 30, 2012 7:27am

Every day Christian Sprenger gives thanks that he decided against giving away swimming. On Sunday night, his persistence was rewarded with an Olympic silver medal when the stars aligned in the 100m breaststroke final.

Less than 18 months ago, Sprenger had almost made his decision to leave the sport. he had lost his drive, wasn't enjoying it and thought it was time to focus purely on his university studies. He's so pleased now that he didn't.

Sprenger went faster than he has before producing a stunning 58.93s swim to snatch the silver behind South African Cameron van der Burgh who not only collected gold, but his 58.46s time broke the world record which had been set by Australian Brenton Rickard (58.58s) in a supersuit back in 2009. American Brendan Hansen was third in 59.49s.

Japan's Kosuke Kitajima was fifth in 59.79s. The superstar was chasing a third successive Olympic gold in event. Rickard was just behind him in 59.87s.

"I'm just really excited about that," said Sprenger. "It was a really well executed race, the first 50m I set it up really well and with 25m to go I was felling really good. The pain hadn't set in yet, so I picked up my rate and accelerated to the wall.

"I lost a bit of drive in the sport about 18 months ago and I think mainly because the 200m was dragging me down a bit and I wanted to add a new dimension to swimming and concentrate on sprinting. So I dropped the 200m and my attitude in training, I changed coaches, and a new environment helped a lot.

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