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Coutts defends Chinese sensation
By Liam FitzGibbon
09:13 AEST Wed Aug 1 2012

Alicia Coutts fought brilliantly to claim a silver medal behind teenage Chinese sensation Ye Shiwen at the London Olympics on Tuesday.

And she's happy to accept it was a fair fight.

VIDEO: Coutts' trifecta 'six years in the making'

Coutts confirmed her status as Australia's swimmer of the meet so far by claiming her third medal, with second in the 200m individual medley final.

She clocked 2:08.15, a big personal best, and stayed with the winner for all but the late stage as Ye set an Olympic record of 2:07.57.

Ye's remarkable performances in London have sparked suspicions over the legitimacy of her rise, especially after she came home faster in breaking Stephanie Rice's 400IM record than US superstar Ryan Lochte did in the men's race.

But Coutts says she was just beaten by a better swimmer.

"I like to believe in innocent until proven guilty," Coutts said.

"As far as I'm concerned she's innocent and I think she's an amazing swimmer and it's just amazing to be as close as I was."

Coutts now has a medal of every colour in London, after winning gold with the women's 4x100m freestyle relay team and taking bronze in the 100m butterfly.

She will also compete in the medley relay and is in line to become only the eighth Australian to win four medals at a single games.

She could also feature in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay, raising the possibility of matching Ian Thorpe and Shane Gould's record haul of five at a single Games.

While Coutts was again forced to settle for two minor medals in individual events, after winning two silver at last year's world titles, she has no regrets.

"I came into these Games saying to myself `I know how hard I've worked and how much effort I've put in there over the last few years'.

"If it wasn't good enough to win a gold medal then I have 100 per cent respect for whoever goes out there and beats me."

American Caitlin Leverenz (2:08.95) was third while Australia's defending champion Stephanie Rice (2:09.55) was fourth in a gallant performance.

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