Kathleen Hersey competes in the final of the women's 200m butterfly on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 1, 2012. (Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON -- After placing first in the preliminary for the 200m butterfly at the London Olympics, Atlanta's own Kathleen Hersey fell short of making the podium.
Hersey, who was born in Athens and graduated from Brookhaven's Marist School, placed fourth in Wednesday's race, missing the bronze medal by just 0.3 seconds.
PHOTOS | Georgia's Olympic athletes
RELATED | Follow Ga. Olympians on Twitter
"Eight people want a medal. Three people get it," Hersey, 22, told 11Alive's Karyn Greer after the 200m fly, her only race in the Games. "I'm super disappointed, and the weight of this year is definitely kind of falling hard right now."
Hersey, who placed 8th in the same event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, lost her mother to colon cancer in January. After winning the preliminary, she told Greer that she could feel her mother swimming alongside her in the pool.
Still, Hersey has no regrets about her performance.
PHOTOS | 2012 London Olympics: Week 1
"It's a sport, and we do it because it's fun, and disappointments teach you way more than successes," she said.