National News

Aussie relayers rapt to be bronze stars

After a golden opening he describes as out of this galaxy, Cameron McEvoy is thrilled to be a bronze star.

McEvoy and his Australian 4x100m freestyle relay teammates captured an Olympic bronze medal on Sunday night, following the nation's two swimming gold medals on day one of the Rio Games.

McEvoy says the relayers rode the golden high produced by 400m freestyle champion Mack Horton and the women's 4x100m freestyle relay team.

"Last night, the bar was set so high ... Mack and the 4x100 girls set the bar outside of our galaxy," he said.

"The tone they set for the team was something that was so fresh, so exciting and so new that is just easy to go out there and thrive off the energy they gave us."

The relay team was ecstatic at trailing behind only the winning United States team featuring the peerless Michael Phelps, now a 19-time Olympic gold medallist, and silver-medallists France.

Not so satisfied was another Australian gold medal fancy, Emily Seebohm, who just scraped into the women's 100m backstroke final.

Seebohm's partner and reigning world champ Mitch Larkin cruised into his 100m backstroke final, third-quickest through the semi-finals.

But Seebohm was seventh fastest qualifier for her Monday night final (Tuesday AEST), while unsung compatriot Madison Wilson who fourth quickest.

"I was a lot more nervous than I should have been," Seebohm said.

But the 100m and 200m backstroke world champion said she wasn't fazed at starting her final from the lonely lane one.

The Australian relayers - James Roberts, Kyle Chalmers, James Magnussen and McEvoy - were in lane three for a final Magnussen termed a "crazy race".

"It felt like open water swimming in there. There were bodies flying everywhere," said Magnussen, whose bronze adds to his individual 100m freestyle silver medal from the London Games four years ago.

Other Australians in Sunday night finals didn't make a splash - Emma McKeon finished seventh in the women's 100m butterfly won in world record time by Swede Sarah Sjostrom.

American superstar Katie Ledecky also set a world record in the women's 400m freestyle final, bettering her previous world-best mark by almost two seconds and leaving a field including Australians Tamsin Cook (sixth) and Jessica Ashwood (seventh) in her wake.

And Australia's Thomas Fraser-Holmes missed the cut for the men's 200m freestyle final by just 0.01 seconds.

© AAP 2016

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