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Brown can't deliver Canada's 1st medal

Last Updated: Thursday, August 14, 2008 | 8:14 AM ET

Canada's Mike Brown tries to catch up with Japan's Kosuke Kitajima in the 200 breaststroke final Thursday in Beijing. Kitajima won gold while Brown finished fourth.Canada's Mike Brown tries to catch up with Japan's Kosuke Kitajima in the 200 breaststroke final Thursday in Beijing. Kitajima won gold while Brown finished fourth. (Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada's Olympic medal drought continues.

Mike Brown of Perth, Ont., couldn't capture his country's first hardware of the Beijing Games on Thursday, finishing fourth in the men's 200-metre breaststroke.

Swimming in Lane 5 at the National Aquatics Centre, the 24-year-old Brown touched the wall in a time of two minutes 9.03 seconds, missing the podium by just 9-100ths of a second.

"I’d love to be on that podium," a downcast Brown told CBC Sports. "Sorry, guys back home that I couldn’t bring you home a medal, but I gave it my all.”

Kosuke Kitajima of Japan won the gold in an Olympic-record 2:07.64. Australia's Brenton Rickard claimed the silver in 2:08.88, and Hugues Duboscq of France edged Brown for the bronze in 2:08.94.

With the victory, Kitajima became the first swimmer to claim both the 100 and 200 breaststroke titles at consecutive Olympics.

Considered Canada's last real chance for a swimming medal in Beijing, Brown didn't save his best performance for the final. The Canadian-record 2:08.84 he clocked in the semifinals would have won him the silver on Thursday.

"My first first 50 [metres], I think I took too many strokes," Brown said. "I wanted to take 15 and I took 16, and I think that set me up to not finish well.

"It’s the second-fastest I’ve ever been so I can’t complain too much."

Beavers moves on

Brown's fourth-place finish means Curtis Myden remains the last Canadian to win an Olympic swimming medal. The Calgarian took bronze in the 400 individual medley at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Thursday marked the second straight day in which Canada failed to convert a medal opportunity in the pool.

On Wednesday, the men's 4x200 freestyle relay team of Colin Russell, Brian Johns, Brent Hayden and Andrew Hurd — considered Canada's best hope for the podium — finished fifth in their final.

Earlier Wednesday, Hayden failed to advance past the semifinals of the 100 freestyle despite being the co-world champion in the event.

There were a couple of morsels of good news for Canada on Thursday. Keith Beavers of Orangeville, Ont., secured the last spot in the final of the men's 200 IM by finishing eighth overall in the semifinals, and Edmonton's Annamay Pierce posted the fifth swiftest time to advance to the women's 200m breaststroke final.

Earlier, though, Beavers and two other Canadians failed to advance. Beavers and Toronto's Tobias Oriwol finished 12th and 15th, respectively, in the semifinals of the men's 200 backstroke, while Calgary's Erica Morningstar was 15th in the women's 100 freestyle.

Despite the lack of podium finishes, the Canadian swimming program has at least shown signs of life in Beijing. Canucks have reached seven finals, compared to just three in Athens. The team has broken 20 national records and set 27 personal bests, albeit in an ultra-fast pool at the Water Cube.

Bernard gets revenge on Lezak

In other men's action Thursday, Alain Bernard of France won gold in the 100 freestyle.

Bernard's time of 47.21 seconds didn't set a world or Olympic record — a rarity at the Beijing Games — but was good enough to edge silver medallist Eamon Sullivan of Australia (47.32).

Two bronze medals were awarded after Jason Lezak of the United States and Brazil's Cesar Cielo Filho finished with identical times of 47.67.

Bernard's victory gave him a measure of revenge over Lezak, who chased down and passed the Frenchman over the final strokes of Monday's 4x100 freestyle relay.

Lezak's late charge gave the Americans the gold, and kept alive teammate Michael Phelps's dream of winning a record eight titles in eight events in Beijing.

Phelps took the next step toward a sixth gold medal later Thursday, advanced to the final of the 200 IM after finishing second overall in the semifinals. Teammate Ryan Lochte edged Phelps for the top qualifying time by one hundredth of a second.

After the race, two-time Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands announced his retirement. Van den Hoogenband finished fifth in an event he won at the 2000 Sydney Games and again in Athens four years later.

"Way too fast. It's a new generation and it's now time to step aside," Van den Hoogenband said. "They did a great job. I'm from the previous generation with Alex Popov."

Popov won the 100 in 1992 and 1996 before van den Hoogenband took over for the next eight years.

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