Plymouth's Ruta Meilutyte bows out of dream Olympics with a new PB
RUTA MEILUTYTE brought the curtain down on her dream first Olympic Games with another personal best in the Aquatics Centre yesterday.
The 15-year-old Plymouth Leander swimmer, who had shocked the world earlier in the week by winning gold in the women's 100m breaststroke, set her latest new mark in the 50m freestyle.
Meilutyte clocked 25.55 seconds in the same heat as Plymouth College and Leander team-mate Jamila Lunkuse, who finished eighth in 28.44.
Although Meilutyte's winning time was not enough to book her a place in the semi-finals of an event that is not her speciality, she was nevertheless happy with her time.
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It meant the Lithuanian swimmer, who moved to Plymouth three years ago after her father got a job in the city, finished the 2012 Olympic Games with not only a gold medal but having clocked three new personal bests within a week.
"It was a new personal best and a Lithuanian record, so it was really good," said the former Lipson Community College pupil.
Meilutyte had found it tough racing in the 100m freestyle event just 36 hours after winning gold in the breaststroke.
She was well outside her personal best in that event, but she was back to her best yesterday.
"The 50m is easier anyway," she said.
Meilutyte admits things have started to quieten down a bit after all the fuss in the first few days following her stunning win.
But she still had more requests for interviews yesterday than nearly every other swimmer in the 50m freestyle heats.
"Things are settling down a little bit," she told Herald Sport.
When asked about how many interviews she was asked to give after her swim yesterday, she said: "It is a bit weird."
Now she has finished competing, Meilutyte is determined to enjoy what are left of the London Games.
"I am enjoying every minute of it," she said. "It is amazing.
"I'm now looking forward to spending some time with my Lithuanian team and just chilling.
"I just want to enjoy the Olympics. Hopefully, I will get tickets to watch some other sports."
On what events she wants to watch, she said: "Anything where my team are competing – basketball, shooting, sailing, gymnastics, although I think that has finished, and athletics.
"Hopefully, I will get to see most of it."
Meilutyte found herself sat next to fellow Plymouth College pupil Lunkuse in the warm-up room before they took to the pool together.
"It was nice to race with her," said Meilutyte. "She was quite nervous."
Lunkuse had not gone into the Games without expectations, but admitted she was disappointed with her time.
"It was a good experience, but I did not swim as well as I thought I would swim," she said.
Lunkuse found herself in lane eight and admitted it was tough being on the outside.
"It was as if I could not see anyone," she said.
Lunkuse, competing for Uganda, did not have any family in the Aquatics Centre yesterday.
"They were watching on TV as they didn't get tickets," said the teenager, who admitted Meilutyte's gold medal is a massive boost for the Plymouth College swimming programme.