Suprised to be in position to swim for a medal in the 50-meter freestyle, N.C. State’s Simonas Bilis savored the opportunity to be in the same pool with Anthony Ervin and Florent Manadou and Nathan Adrian on Friday. Maybe a little too much.
“I would say I wasn’t focused enough for it,” Bilis said. “I was somewhere, but not in the pool. I was just like thinking random stuff, not the stuff I should be thinking, about the race, my start and everything.”
Bilis finished eighth with a time of 22.08, considerably slower than the 21.71 he swam in Thursday’s semifinals, but the Lithuanian had to temper his disappointment with the excitement of the experience. Understandably, the circumstances were dramatically different than anything he had ever seen before: prime time, in an Olympic final.
“I was nervous because I was in the final,” Bilis said. “First time, world league, I was really nervous. I didn’t control myself emotionally. I was real excited and I didn’t know how to manage all of that. It’s really good experience for next time.”
Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock