Brave Siobhan Haughey bows out at semi-final stage in Rio Olympic 200m freestyle

The Hongkonger finished sixth with a time of 1:57.56 in the same heat as Katie Ledecky and Sarah Sjostrom

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2016, 9:22am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2016, 5:29pm

Hong Kong teenager Siobhan Haughey made history at the Olympic Aquatics centre as she became the first local swimmer to take part in a Games semi-final in the modern era.

Haughey – just 18 – took on some of the best in the world in the women’s 200m freestyle.

She was up against Katie Ledecky, the American phenomenon, and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom – both of whom had set world records the night before – as well as the reigning world record holder in the event, Federica Pellegrini.

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Having qualified for the semis in ninth place, she missed out on a place in the final, finishing sixth in 1:57.56, but can count herself as one of the fastest Olympians in the world – and will surely be back and approaching her peak at Tokyo 2020.

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Sjostrom won the heat in 1:54.65. Ledecky qualified in second, with Pellegrini in third.

Born and raised in HK, former St Paul’s Secondary School student Haughey has an Irish father and Chinese mother.

She just finished her first year at the University of Michigan – where US superstar Michael Phelps trains – and was voted swimmer of the championships at she helped her college win the prestigious Big 10 championships for the first time in years.

UMich coach Mike Bottom – assistant coach to the all-powerful US team here in Rio – said before the Games she could be an outside chance for a medal, and another three years under his tuition will hopefully have her contending in Tokyo.

Hong Kong’s only other swimmer to have raced among the 16 fastest was Cheung Kin-man, way back in 1952, as part of HK’s first Olympics team.