LONDON — Former Western Kentucky University swimmer Claire Donahue is expected to join Team USA in the 4x100 medley relay beginning on Friday, August 3 in London as part of the 2012 Olympics.
The 4x100 medley relay consists of the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and the freestyle as part of a 400-meter relay race. If officially selected, Donahue would be expected to swim the butterfly leg of the race in the preliminary heats only. Donahue also swam in the 4x100 medley relay at the 2011 Pan American Games, earning a gold medal in the event.
Donahue would be selected to join the team based on her semifinal and final times at the 2012 Olympics in the 100-meter butterfly. Donahue recorded a personal-best time of 57.42 seconds in the semifinals of her 100-meter butterfly race on Saturday, then turned in a 57.48-second performance in the finals of the event on Sunday. That mark earned her a seventh-place finish in the 100-meter butterfly.
Even if Donahue only swims in the preliminary heats of the 4x100 medley relay, she would still have the opportunity to earn a medal if the relay team qualifies for the finals and finishes in the top three in the finals. Donahue would be vying to become just the second WKU Olympic athlete to earn a medal at the Summer Olympics, as Bernd Herrman is the only former WKU athlete to accomplish that feat to this point, winning a bronze medal with the West Germany 4x400-meter track and field relay team during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Donahue is one of three WKU athletes at the 2012 London Olympics, marking the fifth time that WKU has placed three athletes in the Games. The school record for Summer Olympic athletes is four, set back during the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Former track and field standouts Gavin Smellie and Raigo Toompuu will represent their respective countries at this year's Games. Smellie will race with Canada in the 4x100 meter relay beginning on Friday, August 10, while Toompuu will throw the shot put for his native Estonia on Friday, August 3.