TT's Dylan Carter made a positive start at the Athens leg of the FINA Swimming World Cup, securing a bronze medal on Friday at the Olympic Aquatic Centre.
Competing in lane five of the men's 50m freestyle final, Carter, 27, touched the wall in 22.16 seconds.
It was the Olympian's third medal of the World Cup and made up for his shocking eighth-place finish in the 50m freestyle final in Germany last week.
The three-time World Championships medallist went into the final with the second fastest qualifying time (22.25), behind American Michael Andrew (22.04).
Andrew was the only swimmer to dip below 22 seconds in the final as he took the gold medal . The 24 year old, who helped break the world record at the 2020 Tokyo Games with the US 2020 4x100 medley team, clocked 21.96 seconds. He leads the overall men's ranking with 89.7 points after earning two silver medals earlier on Friday.
Australia's Isaac Cooper, who was only in the final because of a swim-off, made full use of the opportunity with a silver-medal performance in 22.07.
In the heats,
After the race, Andrew said he was delighted to compete at a venue which saw historic performances from his namesake, compatriot and swimming legend Michael Phelps. Phelps, the most decorated Olympic swimmer and athlete of all time, won six gold medals and two bronze at the 2004 Athens Games. It was the first time the World Cup was being held in Greece.
Andrew, who earned silver in the 100m butterfly earlier, dedicated his victory to Israel, whose latest conflict with Palestine has seen over 3,000 people killed on both sides. He said,"Tough double (event) for the evening – really happy to get a win and get the points back. I kinda came into this meet just knowing we're really fortunate to be racing. Kinda dedicating my wins for what's happening in Israel – all the innocent lives that are at stake. But it's amazing (to be racing), crowd's awesome, history here is amazing."
Asked about needing a swim-off to qualify for the final, Cooper said, "I wasn't really going easy, but I definitely wasn't as switched on as I could have been. But I'm really thankful for the swim-off. I think that got me in the mindset that I needed and was able to drop a fast time with these boys tonight. If you got a lane, you got a chance."
Asked about finally getting on the 50m freestyle podium after his slow start in Berlin last week, Carter said, "Yeah I'm just happy with that. Last week was a challenge – didn't expect that.
"But to be back racing again this weekend in beautiful Athens (is great). The weather was great tonight and all-round great vibes and a great podium."
On his new haircut, Carter, tongue firmly in cheek, speculated: "That's what fixed the start!" Earlier, Carter won heat two of the 100m butterfly in 52.41 seconds - the 5th fastest qualifying time. However, he did not compete in the final.
Carter, who won silver in the 50m butterfly and bronze in the 100m freestyle in Berlin, will continue his medal quest this weekend. He will be swimming in lane four of heat ten in the 100m freestyle on Saturday. Also in action in this event is TT's Graham Chatoor who has been assigned lane five in heat two.