McKeever, dubbed the ‘Usain Bolt of the water’, will have to produce something special to justify the tag as he looks to add an Olympic title to the K1 200m gold he won at the opening World Cup leg of the year.
And the 28-year-old Bath-born canoeist insists he is hoping to use the huge support of the Eton Dorney crowd that has roared Team GB to nine Olympic medals so far.
“It was an amazing race in front of the home crowd. Obviously, it’s nice to win the semi-final but Saturday there’s the final.”
McKeever finished first in his semi-final and was the third fastest qualifier overall with 35.619 seconds and there was mixed results for the other Brits in action on Friday.
Jon Schofield and Liam Heath qualified for the men’s K2 200m final in 32.940 while Jessica Walker impressed as she finished second in her K1 200m semi-final to secure automatic qualification in 41.734.
And 22-year-old Walker, who finished 17th in Beijing, insists she will be happy with whatever outcome from Saturday’s final.
She said: “I knew I had the easier semi so I knew that I wanted to get top two. I would be happy with anything in the final as long as I race my best.”
But there was disappointment for Richard Jefferies as he failed to qualify from his C1 200m semi-final after finishing sixth in his race in 43.213.
And the 25-year-old, who qualified easily from his heat in 42.516, couldn’t explain what went wrong for him in the semi-finals.
“The heat was really good and I felt really strong, so I do not know what happened in the semi,” he said.
“It has been an amazing experience, but I was disappointed I did not put my best performance down.”
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