Olympic Swimming 2012 Results: Qualifiers, Medal Winners, Highlights & More
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The London Aquatics Centre features more athletic star power this summer than perhaps any other 2012 Olympic venue.
Its 50-meter expanse of clear, blue, chlorinated perfection plays host to familiar faces (Michael Phelps), precocious talents (Missy Franklin) and challengers from as far afield as Brazil, Belarus and even Qatar.
To stay abreast of all the happenings inside this wide world of aquatic madness, keep it tuned in here throughout the London Games.
Men's 4x100-Meter Medley Relay Final
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Team USA wasn't leading this race after two legs. Matthew Grevers got the team off to a fantastic start, but Brendan Hansen gave up the lead in his leg to the Japanese team.
Then, Michael Phelps put on a clinic in his butterfly portion of the race, completely obliterating Takeshi Matsuda and the rest of the field.
Nathan Adrian put together an equally impressive leg, and Team USA won the race by almost two seconds.
Japan came in second, while Australia came in third.
This win gives Phelps his 18th career gold medal—double the amount of the next-best in the history of the modern Games—and he will undoubtedly go down in history as the greatest modern Olympian of all time.
Women's 4x100 Medley Relay Final
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Team USA won the gold and broke the world record in stunning fashion, as all four women pulled their own weight.
Missy Franklin got Team USA off to a fantastic start in the first leg, using her backstroke to pull her team ahead of Russia.
Rebecca Soni pulled away in the final 25 meters of her breast stroke, and she gave the Americans a bigger cushion.
Dana Vollmer really widened the margin in her butterfly, and Allison Schmitt finished off her freestyle with a furious finish to earn her team the world record.
Australia finished in second place, and Japan finished in third.
It was a glorious victory for Team USA.
Men's 1,500-Meter Freestyle Final
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Sun Yang blew away his own world record by more than three seconds in a magnificent performance to win the gold medal in this grueling race.
His final time of 14 minutes, 30.02 seconds was over eight-and-a-half seconds faster than the next-best competitor, Canada's Ryan Cochrane. Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia came in third to earn the bronze medal.
Sun made his world record look easy, and the announcers on NBC's live stream kept saying that he looked like he could have gone even faster.
Women's 50-Meter Freestyle Final
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After setting the Olympic record and winning the women's 100-meter freestyle, Ranomi Kromowdijojo did it again in the 50-meter.
She got off to a fantastic start, and by the time the race was halfway over, it was her's to keep.
Her time of 24.05 seconds sets a new Olympic record, and Kromowdijojo now has two gold medals.
Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasemenia finished in second place, and Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands finished in third.
Women's 50-Meter Freestyle Semifinals
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The United States aren't a medal-favorite in the women's 50-meter freestyle.
Then again, neither were the men before the heats began.
Semifinal Heat 1
Jessica Hardy had the sixth-best time in her qualifying heat, 0.42 second behind Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands. The results were similar in the semifinals, but cut the margin to .18 seconds and a fourth-place finish.
Veldhuis' time was bettered by two swimmers in heat two and Hardy qualified with the seventh-best time.
World-record holder Britta Steffen of Germany and Sweden's Therese Alshammar were also favorites to advance to the finals and qualified fourth and eight, respectively.
Semifinal Heat 2
This race was all about the rising Dutch superstar, Ranomi Kromowidjojo. Great Britain's Francesca Halsall was also expected to challenge for the lead.
Halsall didn't get off to a good start and ended up third, but still advanced to the finals.
Kromowidjojo' time of 24.07 seconds was the fastest time ever outside of those swam in the now-banned performance suits. She beat Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia by 0.38 seconds.
The other qualifying spot went to the Bahamas, with Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace with the sixth-fastest time.
Men's 50-Meter Freestyle Final
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Following one of the longest freestyle event in the Olympics, the women's 800-meter free, was the men's 50-meter.
Cullen Jones got out of the blocks well, but behind South African Roland Schoeman. But France's Florent Manaudou rode an extended underwater glide out of the blocks and surfaced just behind Jones, who was overtaking Schoeman.
In a fierce race to the wall it was another swimming gold medal for France, as Manaudou touched first at 21.34.
Jones held on for silver, 0.20 seconds behind. Cesar Cielo of Brazil took bronze with a time of 21.59 seconds.
Schoeman fell to sixth, behind Cielo's countryman, Bruno Fratus, and Jones' teammate, Anthony Irvin.
All eight swimmers beat the 22-second mark.
Women's 800-Meter Freestyle Final
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Katie Ledecky of the United States and world-record holder Rebecca Adlington were the favorites in this event.
Ledecky went out incredibly fast, flirting with shattering the world record. She was as much as a full second ahead of the pace, but began to slow at the halfway point.
Adlington swam a consistent pace, but was two seconds behind Ledecky throughout the middle of the race.
At the bell lap, Ledecky was 0.43 seconds ahead of world record time with a two-length lead on the field.
Heading into the final lap the record was within reach, but the 15-year-old couldn't maintain the pace. It was an amazing swim that came up a half-second shy of the world record, but 4.13 seconds ahead of Belmonte Garcia, who caught Adlington at 700 meters.
The Great Britain star did hold on for bronze, though.
Ledecky will be quite pleased with the gold medal and a new American record.
Men's 100-Meter Butterfly Final
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Michael Phelps had his final individual swim of the 2012 Olympics in the 100-meter butterfly. According to him this was the last individual race of his career, but the pull of repeating a few events in Rio could be too much to ignore.
Phelps was at risk of being out of the medals at the 75-meter mark, but he made an amazing surge over the final 20 meters
He took the gold medal, and in convincing fashion.
This is the second three-peat for Phelps, a mark no other male swimmer has achieved in individual races.
The race for gold ended up not nearly as close as the 200 fly...at least not for gold.
Chad le Clos of South Africa wasn't able to repeat his gold-medal-winning form and ended up 0.23 seconds behind Phelps. He was tied with Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia.
Women's 200-Meter Backstroke Final
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Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Franklin entered this race as overwhelming favorites.
Elizabeth Simmonds, the home-crowd favorite, got off to a very fast start. But Franklin passed her at the 50-meter-mark. She was 0.41 seconds below world-record pace at 100 meters, with a full length on the competition.
She was able to hold her pace and shattered the world record by 0.75 seconds with a time of 2:04.06.
Beisel had a late surge to pass Simmonds and secure the bronze medal. Russia's Anastasia Zueva received the silver, 1.86 seconds behind Franklin.
Friday Morning Results
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Women's 50-Meter Freestyle
Ranomi Kromowidjojo won the heats with a time of 24.51 and teammate Marleen Veldhuis was second at 24.57.
USA's Jessica Hardy moved on in finishing at 24.99, but America's Kara Lynn Joyce lost the swim-off to Great Britain's Amy Smith after tying for the final spot at 25.28. Smith won the tie-breaker 24.82 to 25.16.
Men's 1,500-Meter Freestyle
Arguably the most grueling swimming event outside of water polo, the men's 1,500-meter freestyle qualification was lead by China's Yang Sun with a time of 14 minutes and 43.25 seconds.
Finishing within 10 seconds of the world record, Sun positioned himself well for history on Sunday.
Elsewhere, American Connor Jaeger made the final with a time of 14:57.56 and teammate Andrew Gemmell fell short taking ninth in the prelims at 14:59.05.
Women's 4x100-Meter Medley Relay
Look for Australia to really make some noise in the final after winning the prelims at 3:55.42. Although they're three-plus seconds away from the world record, there won't be a major challenge for gold.
Japan was second at 3:57.87 and the United States was fourth at 3:58.88 (0.53 seconds behind Denmark). Those three countries will most likely contend for silver as the rest of the field won't match the A-squads other than Australia.
Men's 4x100-Meter Medley Relay
As the only country to break the 3:33.00 mark, the USA won the men's 4x100 medley prelims at 3:32.65.
Provided that Michael Phelps competes in the final, the U.S. will crush even more. On a more interesting note, only 0.34 seconds separate the second through fifth place teams from the semifinals.
Great Britain at 3:33.44 through the Netherlands at 3:33.78. Lumped in between are Japan and Australia.
Men's 100-Meter Butterfly Semifinals
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Looking for a 21st Olympic medal, Michael Phelps swam 50.86 seconds in the men's 100-meter butterfly semifinal.
It was the fastest time as South Africa's Chad le Clos won the second heat at 51.42 seconds. This is an interesting situation, because as we previously saw, le Clos caught Phelps in the 200 fly.
And although it's only half the distance, don't expect le Clos to let Phelps get ahead. He has much confidence and will be looking for another upset. Also, be sure to watch for Phelps' teammate Tyler McGill.
He took third overall in the semifinals at 51.61 and has the capability to stay with the front pack throughout.
Women's 100-Meter Freestyle Final
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Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands brings home the gold with a time of 53 seconds flat in the women's 100-meter freestyle final.
It's a new Olympic record and Kromowidjojo has a legit shot to break the world record of 52.07 seconds. She's only 21 years old and this win gives her a second career Summer Olympic gold medal.
Elsewhere, Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus took silver at 53.38 and China's Tang Yi was third with a time of 53.44.
In a rarity of the 2012 London Games, the United States failed to medal as Missy Franklin finished fifth (53.64) and Jessica Hardy was eighth (54.02).
Men's 200-Meter Medley Final
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Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte got 1-2 in the men's 200-meter individual medley final.
Phelps wins a 20th Olympic medal with a time of 1 minute and 54.27 seconds and Lochte closed at 1:54.90. Together, both are the best 200 medley racers of all time and in a quiet third was Laszlo Cseh of Hungary (1:56.22).
This race is arguably the most important for Phelps in the 2012 London Games also, because he had not won an individual gold until now. In short, this puts the icing on the cake of an illustrious career.
Women's 200-Meter Backstroke Semifinals
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Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Franklin went 1-2 in the women's 200-meter backstroke semifinals, and were the only two who broke the 2 minute and 7 second mark.
Beisel led with 2:06.18 and Franklin was decently behind at 2:06.84. Other swimmers to watch for that qualified for the final are Meagen Nay of Australia (2:07.42) and Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe (2:08.32).
Coventry may have only swam the sixth-fastest qualifying time, but she's a seven-time medalist and has the veteran experience to take over in the finals.
Men's 200-Meter Backstroke Final
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In Olympic record fashion, Tyler Clary won the men's 200-meter backstroke finishing at 1 minute and 53.41 seconds.
One of closest finishes we've seen, Clary's American teammate Ryan Lochte took third as Japan's Ryosuke Irie won silver with a time of 1:53.78. All three racers were virtually neck-and-neck the entire race with no one getting ahead by more than roughly 0.5 seconds.
Lochte however, was winning after the final turn but fail to close the deal. Instead, Clary bolted toward the end and was able to out race Irie for gold.
Women's 200-Meter Breaststroke Final
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USA's Rebcecca Soni set a new world record with a time of 2 minute and 19.59 seconds.
She became the first woman to finish under the 2:20.00 mark and the performance defended her gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Games.
It also was an incredibly fast final as Japan's Satomi Suzuki won silver at 2:20.72 (equaling the Asian record) and Russia's Iulia Efimova took bronze by finishing 2:20.92 (the new European record).
Men's 50-Meter Semifinals
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USA's Cullen Jones and Brazil's Cesar Cielo tied in Heat 1 with a time of 21.54 seconds and American Anthony Ervin was third at 21.62.
In Heat 2, Cielo's fellow countryman Bruno Fratus won it with a time of 21.63 and Trinidad's George Bovell was second at 21.77.
So, it's shaped up to be a ridiculously fast final and the Olympic record may be in jeopardy. USA and Brazil lead the way and expect both countries to take the top four spots.
Thursday Morning Preliminaries
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Men's 50-Meter Freestyle
Such a fast race, the 50-meter freestyle leaves little room for error -- even in the preliminary rounds. If he intends on defending his Olympic title, Cesar Cielo will need an even stronger race in the semifinals.
Trinidad and Tobago's George Richard Bovell had the fastest swim of the heats with a time of 21.77. Cielo took second with a time of 21.80.
The U.S.' Anthony Ervin (4th, 21.83) and Cullen Jones (6th, 21.95) also qualified, as well as Australia's James Magnussen (10th, 22.11).
Ervin is an interesting story, returning to his first Olympic games since 2000 where he and Gary Hall Jr. tied for the gold medal in the 50 free. Magnussen, meanwhile, is looking to salvage his Olympics and the 50 free could be his last chance for an individual medal.
Women's 800-Meter Freestyle
Katie Ledecky had to wait six days to finally hit the pool. But when she did, it was worth the wait.
The 15-year-old Ledecky, Team USA's youngest swimmer, finished with the third best time of the morning (8:23.84) and will be one to watch in the finals tomorrow at 2:45pm ET. The favorite still is Great Britain's Becky Adlington, who holds the world record in the event and finished first in the heats with a time of 8:21.78.
Men's 100-Meter Butterfly
Michael Phelps went from last in the first 50 meters to winning his heat. Such a typical way for the most decorated Olympian ever to swim his last-ever Olympic heat.
Phelps (51.72) finished second in the heats to South Africa's Chad le Clos (51.54), the man who remarkably out-touched Phelps for gold in the 200 fly. Also advancing were Milorad Cavic and Phelps' teammate Tyler McGill.
Women's 200-Meter Backstroke
In the morning heats, Missy Franklin (2:07.54) and Elizabeth Beisel (2:07.82) finished first and second, respectively. Franklin looks poised to vie for her third gold medal in one of her specialty events.
South African Olympic veteran Kirsty Coventry also advanced with a third-place finish.
Women's 4x200-Meter Freestyle Relay
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This race was expected to be a battle between Australia, United States and France, with Canada ready to jump onto the podium if one of the other teams struggled.
Camille Muffat got France off to a strong start, while Missy Franklin of the U.S. slowed down over her final 25 meters.
France fell well back of the lead after the second leg, with Australia and the U.S. staying neck-and-neck through the first 600 meters.
The U.S. turned the pool over to gold-medal winner Allison Schmitt with a half-second deficit to overcome. Alicia Coutts was swimming the final leg but lost the lead in the first 50 meters of the final leg.
Schmitt built a 0.6 second lead with 100 meters remaining, finishing off the relay with an Olympic-record time of seven minutes, 42.92 seconds.
Australia took silver with France taking the bronze.
The U.S. team also featured Dana Vollmer and Shannon Vreeland. Alyssa Anderson and Lauren Perdue swam in the preliminary race and will also receive medals, even if they didn't get to stand on the podium.
Men's 200-Meter Individual Medley Semifinal
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Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte were given another opportunity to go head-to-head in the water today. They were in Heat 1 of the semifinals.
Lochte won going away in the final leg, beating Phelps by almost a full second.
Their times were well ahead of most of the field, setting up what should be a great battle in the finals.
Laszlo Cseh is their primary competition, winning Heat 2.
The finals include:
Chad le Clos
Women's 200-Meter Breaststroke Semifinals
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The overwhelming favorite in the 200-meter breaststroke is Rebecca Soni form the U.S. She didn't disappoint in the semifinals, setting a new world record.
She had more than two seconds on her closest competitor. The final should be a bit closer, but not likely by much ans Soni will certainly have an eye on improving on her record.
The United States had endured a drought in the event they once dominated. The last American to win the 100-meter freestyle was Matt Biondi in the Seoul Games of 1988.
By virtue of what appeared to be a slightly more stretchy back, Nathan Adrian out-touched the favored James Magnussen of Australia. The two were even in the pool, making Adrian's contortion the difference.
Adrian's time of 47.52 was over a half-second off world-record time, but was ahead of the only one that mattered...the 47.53 from Magnussen.
Brent Hayden of Canada secured the bronze medal.
Relay star Yannick Agnel was fourth.
Women's 200-Meter Butterfly Finals
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Jiao Liuyang of China set a new Olympic record in the 200-meter fly. She wasn't pushed down the line, as she had a convincing lead after overtaking Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia.
Garcia won the silver. She went out to an early lead, but couldn't maintain her pace over the final 50 meters.
Natsumi Hoshi won the bronze for Japan, with Americans Kathleen Hersey and Cammile Adams missing out on the medals in the next two spots.
Men's 200-Meter Backstroke Semifinals
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Tyler Clary responded from a difficult race against Michael Phelps to turn in the best qualifying time in the 200-meter backstroke. He won Heat 2 by almost a full second over China's Zhang Fenglin.
Ryan Lochte recorded the second-best time while winning Heat 1.
The two should put on a great show in the finals, even if Lochte has his showdown with Phelps shortly after this race concludes.
Ryosuke Irie of Japan will also be a factor in the finals.
Women's 100-Meter Freestyle Semifinals
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The U.S. wasn't a favorite to medal in the 100 free, but Missy Franklin didn't get that memo. She put on an impressive performance while saving up a bit of energy for the 200 free relay that followed.
Ranomi Kromowidjojo was an impressive winner of Heat 2, setting a new world record. Australia's Melanie Schlanger won Heat 1 and had the second-fastest time, 0.21 seconds ahead of Franklin.
Jessica Hardy of the U.S. had the last qualifying time for tomorrow's final. Tang Yi of China could also make a run at the podium.
Men's 200-Meter Breaststroke Final
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While it hasn't happened often, Wednesday's finals began without an American winning a medal.
Hungary's Daniel Gyurta was dominant in this race, taking the lead at the 150-meter mark and using a powerful stretch to grab gold. He set a new world record with a time of 2:07.28.
Michael Jamieson gave the home crowd reason to cheer as the swimmer from Great Britain won the silver medal, 0.15 second beind Gyurta.
Japan secured the silver and fourth with Ryo Tateishi and Kosuke Kitajima, respectively.
Women's 4x200-Meter Freestyle Relay Heats
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The final event of Thursday morning was where the finalists of the women's 4x200-meter freestyle event were determined.
Missy Franklin was rested by the American team, which could explain why they only finished second fastest overall (7:50.75), behind the Australian team.
The Australians were never under any real trouble as they cruised to a fastest-overall time of 7:49.44.
It's not going to be easy to pick between Australia, United States or Canada as to who's going to win the gold medal.
I suppose it'll come down to team selection by the coaches, but the only three teams I can see winning gold are either Australia, America or Canada.
Men's 200-Meter Individual Medley Heats
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This picture might look like Vin Diesel, but it's not.
It's Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, the fastest qualifier in the men's 200-meter individual medley event on Thursday.
Cseh qualified fastest from a field of athletes including Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps and Chad le Clos, with a time of 1:57.20.
Lochte's qualifying time of 1:58.03 was second-fastest and it almost seemed like it was too easy for him.
He never really got out of first gear.
The greatest Olympian of all-time, Michael Phelps, also qualified for the semi-finals, finishing fourth fastest overall with a time of 1:58.24.
There was even something for the British fans to cheer about as James Goddard and Joe Roebuck qualified for the semi-finals too.
This event is probably going to come down to a straight fight between Phelps and Lochte, but I wouldn't rule Cseh or le Clos out of the running either.
Women's 200-Meter Breaststroke Heats
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In Thursday morning's last individual women's event, American Rebecca Soni blew her competition away.
She qualified for the semi-finals with a blistering time of just 2:21.40, finishing over a second clear of her nearest rival.
Looking further down the list,there are a whole list of other women who could cause Soni problems, like Micah Lawrence and Rikke Pedersen.
For me, those women have got to stop Rebecca Soni.
She came out of the traps like a bullet today and, judging by this performance, it's going to take a special athlete to stop her from winning gold.
Women's 100-Meter Freestyle Heats
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Thursday morning's session in the pool kicked off with the women's 100-menter freestyle heats.
China's Tang Yi set the early pace, qualifying fastest with a time of 53.28.
As with all the other swimming heats this week, the time between the qualifying semi-finalists has been pretty short, and this event was no different.
Just over two seconds separate the 16 women looking to secure a medal and a podium place.
American swimmers Jessica Hardy and Missy Franklin both qualified for the semi-finals with times of 54.09 and 54.26 respectively.
British hopes of a medal in the event lie with Amy Smith and Francesca Halsall, but they'll both need to step up a gear to qualify for the final.
Men's 200-Meter Backstroke Heats
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The second session of Thursday morning's events was the 200-meter men's backstroke qualifying heats.
Americans Tyler Clary and Ryan Lochte qualified for the semi-finals as the two fastest men, in times of 1:56.24 and 1:56.36.
Again, the times between the 16 qualifiers were pretty tight, with just under two seconds separating the semi-finalists.
The smart money would have to be on either Clary or Lochte to win the gold medal in this event.
They both looked at ease in the pool this morning and when it's all said and done, the gold medal will probably be hanging around the neck of one of these men.
Men's 4x200-Meter Freestyle Relay Final
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From start to finish in the men's 200-meter freestyle relay final, there was no doubt that the United States would win the gold medal. Bookended by Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, the two best swimmers in the world, it ended up being a dominant victory.
This race was also special because it gave Phelps his 19th Olympic medal, breaking the career individual medal record, and 15th gold medal of his career.
The U.S. swam under seven minutes, finishing in 6 minutes, 59.7 seconds. France, which continued its impressive Olympics in the pool, won silver in 7:02.77. China finished third (7:06.3).
South Africa looked strong in the first leg but dwindled down the stretch and finished in seventh place (7:09.65), better than only Hungary (7:13.66).
In the middle were Germany in fourth (7:06.59), Australia in fifth (7:07) and Britain in sixth (7:09.33).
Women's 200-Meter Individual Medley Final
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Amid speculation that she has been doping—after a blistering final leg of the women's 400-meter individual medley—Ye Shiwen of China set an Olympic record in the 200 IM on Tuesday, winning her second gold medal of the Olympics.
Stephanie Rice of Australia was in the lead at the first turn, but Ye took the lead after the backstroke leg. Australia's Alicia Coutts was close all the way through as well.
American Caitlin Leverenz opened up a gap in her strongest stroke, the breaststroke, but she couldn't take advantage of it in the final leg.
Ye used another strong freestyle leg to pull away at the end, winning in 2 minutes, 7.57 seconds. Coutts hung with her until the last 20 meters, winning silver in the end (2:08.15). On the back of her strong breaststroke leg, Leverenz finished third (2:08.95).
Rice finished fourth (2:09.55), the U.S.'s Ariana Kukors finished fifth (2:09.83) and Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry ended in sixth (2:11.13).
Rounding out the field were Britain's Hannah Miley (2:11.29) and Hungary's Katinka Hosszu (2:14.19).
Men's 200-Meter Breaststroke Semifinals
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Japan's Kosuke Kitajima has a chance to become the first swimmer to win three consecutive gold medals in any event after qualifying for the 200-meter breaststroke final in 2 minutes, 9.03 seconds.
Britain's Michael Jamieson had a great race, flirting with the world record line for much of the race. He won the first heat in 2:08.2. Countryman Andrew Willis had the third-fastest time with 2:08.47.
Between them was Daniel Gyurta of Hungary, who used a strong second 100 meters to win the second heat in 2:08.32.
Americans Scott Weltz (2:08.99) and Clark Burckle (2:09.11) also made the final. Other qualifiers were Japan's Ryo Tateishi (2:09.13) and Australia's Brenton Rickard (2:09.31).
Women's 200-Meter Butterfly Semifinals
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Two more Americans qualified for a final in the women's 200-meter butterfly after strong swims in the semifinals on Tuesday. Cammile Adams and Kathleen Hersey started in separate heats, but both qualified.
Hersey had the fastest time, swimming the 200 fly in 2 minutes, 5.9 seconds. Three Asian swimmers also got into the final, adding to the continent's already strong showing in London.
Jiao Liuyang of China had the second fastest semifinal time (2:06.1), closely followed by Japan's Natsumi Hoshi (2:06.37).
Adams came in seventh in the semifinal (2:07.33), ahead of Britain's Jemma Lowe (2:07.37).
Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain (2:06.62), Zsuzsanna Jakabos of Hungary (2:06.82) and Liu Zige of China (2:06.99) finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
Men's 200-Meter Butterfly Finals
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Michael Phelps finally equalled the all-time highest individual Olympic medal count in the 200-meter butterfly. He could have been the first to win three consecutive gold medals in an event but for a vital mistake right at the end.
Starting in Lane 6, Phelps started well and led at every turn, but South Africa's Chad Le Clos and Japan's Takeshi Matsuda were right behind him the whole way.
At the first turn, Phelps led, Matsuda was in second and Le Clos was third. Phelps also led at halfway and looked strong in the third 50 meters.
Phelps was great underwater on the last turn, but Le Clos was right behind him. Phelps was in first all the way to the end with Le Clos breathing down his neck. It looked like Phelps had it won.
Then, disaster struck.
Phelps mistimed his touch at the wall, allowing Le Clos to get in before him. In the end, Le Clos won gold (1 minute, 52.96 seconds), Phelps ended in second (1:53.01) and Matsuda took bronze (1:53.21).
The excitement of the finish in this race hasn't been matched at the Olympics to this point. It was close the whole way, and the twist at the end was unexpected.
It was an amateur mistake that kept Phelps from winning a gold medal in this race.
Women's 200-Meter Freestyle Finals
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Missy Franklin started the women's 200-meter freestyle in Lane 8, but she made quite a run at the gold medal. In the end, this race was the Allison Schmitt show.
Schmitt, Franklin and France's Camille Muffat all went out fast. Schmitt led at the first turn. At halfway, it was Schmitt first, Franklin second and Muffat in third.
At the halfway point, Schmitt took off and pulled away from the rest of the field. It was a lead she would not relinquish.
Franklin just didn't have enough left in the tank to sustain her strong start, and she ended up just missing out on a medal.
Schmitt took gold (1 minute, 53.61 seconds), Muffat won silver (1:55.58) and Australia's Bronte Barratt will take home bronze (1:55.81). Franklin officially finished just one-one hundredth of a second behind Barratt (1:55.82).
Men's 100-Meter Freestyle Semifinals
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Heat 2 of the men's 100-meter freestyle semifinals was the more interesting of the two, as France's Yannick Agnel and Americans Cullen Jones and Nathan Adrian went head to head (to head).
In that heat, Adrian touched the wall first, swimming the 100 in 47.97 seconds. In a surprise finish, Hanser Garcia of Cuba ended up in second place, swimming 48.04. Agnel finished in fifth (48.23), and Jones finished last (48.60)
So in the final, Adrian and Agnel will face off once again. Adrian had the second fastest time in the semifinals, while Agnel just sneaked in, finishing seventh overall.
Jones missed the cut-off, and world record-holder Cesar Cielo of Brazil was all the way back in fifth (48.17).
Men's 200-Meter Breaststroke Prelim Heats Overall
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There was a bit of a surprise in the last individual event on Tuesday morning, when Britain's Andrew Willis qualified fastest in the final heat ahead of Kosuke Kitajima.
It was a pretty good morning in the pool all round for the Brits, because earlier in the session, another Briton, Michael Jamieson, broke the British record, completing his heat in a quick time of 2:08.98.
As quick as Jamieson's swim was, he wasn't the fastest overall. That honour went to Daniel Gyurta of Hungary, who swam an impressive race in a time of 2:08.71.
The home crowd will be behind their medal hopes Willis and Jamieson in the semi-finals, but Gyurta and Kitajima are dangerously positioned to secure podium places.
It's certainly going to be interesting!
Women's 200-Meter Butterfly Prelim Heats Overall
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If one woman set the standard during the heats for the 200-meter butterfly event, it was Kathleen Hersey.
Right from the start, she showed her dominance and it was almost frightening how good her swim was, with a finishing time of 2:06.41.
She ended up finishing almost a full second ahead of her nearest rival, Jiao Luiyang, which doesn't sound like a lot, but watching her heat, there was only ever going to be one winner.
Britain's Jemma Lowe also gave the home crowd something to shout about, qualifying third overall with an impressive time of 2:07.64.
Three seconds separate the 16 women who qualified for the semi-finals and in my opinion, Hersey is the one to beat.
As Tuesday morning's action kicked off at the London games, the first races of the day took place in the men's 100-meter freestyle heats.
American Nathan Adrian set the early pace, swimming the fastest qualifying time out of all the heats, with an impressive showing at 48.19 seconds.
In fact, the 16 semi-finalists were only separated by 0.8 seconds, so this could prove to be a tough event to call.
Cullen Jones and Yannick Agnel can't be ruled out and they'll want to improve on their less than stellar showings earlier in the heats.
If Nathan Adrian can keep up the blistering pace he showed in the heats, then it's almost nailed-on that he'll be on the podium when the medals are being handed out.
Women's 200-Meter Individual Medley Semifinals
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The women's 200-meter individual medley had two very different semifinals. The second heat was loaded with talent, starting with China's Ye Shiwen, the 16-year-old with the fastest qualifying time.
It also included the former Olympic Record holder, Stephanie Rice. I say former because Ye set a new mark in her heat.
World-record holder Ariana Kukors of the United States was also in the heat, as was her American teammate, Caitlin Leverenz.
The two Americans were joined by Rice's teammate, Alicia Coutts, touching the wall behind Ye. Rice was well behind in fifth, but six swimmers from the heat made the finals.
Great Britain's Hannah Miley took second in the first heat and just made the finals.
There will be two stories in the finals. One, will Ye break the world record, and two, can the Americans or Australians land two swimmers on the podium.
Men's 200-Meter Butterfly Semifinals
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Michael Phelps and Tyler Clary are likely looking forward to making news in the pool instead of out of it. Clary questioned Phelps' work ethic leading up to the games, causing a small media-storm.
Clary looked acceptable, but not stellar in the first semifinal, coming in fourth. Japan's Takeshi Matsuda won the heat.
Dinko Jukic got off to a fast start in the second heat, while Phelps struggled over the first 150 meters.
It looked as though he could be in trouble...until he came off the wall for the final 50 meters. Then he actually looked like Michael Phelps, pulling away to win the heat.
As it turned out, Phelps time wasn't much in front of Clary. They qualified fourth and fifth, respectively for the finals.
He'll be in decent position to make a run at becoming the first man to win the same individual event at three successive Olympics.
Women's 100-Meter Breaststroke Finals
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One of the amazing stories of this game has been the incredible run of the 15-year-old Ruta Meilutyte.
The Lithuanian was in tears after winning her semifinal in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:02.51.
She was in a fight with American Rebecca Soni in the finals, but Soni was a bit off-stroke for her touch, allowing Meilutyte to just hold on for gold.
Suzuki Satomi of Japan was a full second off the pace but secured the bronze medal.
Breeja Larson survived a scare with a false start, but there was a technical issue with the gun. She was allowed to swim the final, but couldn't hold her second-place position at the turn. She finished in sixth place.
Men’s 100-Meter Backstroke Final
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After an uneventful run in the semifinals, Americans Matt Grevers and Nick Thoman were ready to battle each other and Camille LaCourt from France, a country in the middle of a nice run of knocking off Americans.
It didn't happen in the 100 backstroke, as Grevers swam away with the race. LaCourt finished in fourth behind Japan's Irie Ryosuke.
Thoman held onto silver-medal position, posting Americans in the top-two positions for the first time in the 2012 games.
Grevers time of 52.16 is a new Olympic record.
Women’s 100 Meter Backstroke Final
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American sensation Missy Franklin has had a busy day. She had barely dried off from her 200 free semifinal heat when she took to the pool to race her second 100-meter backstroke of the day.
She didn't look any worse for the wear, setting an American record of 58.33 seconds to win gold in the 100 backstroke. She was just off world-record time of 58.12...a mark she might have made a run at if she was a bit more rested.
Emily Seebohm of Australia took the silver, 0.35 seconds behind, while the bronze went to Aya Terakawa of Japan.
Men's 200-Meter Freestyle Final
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The men's 200-meter freestyle finals pitted swimmers from France and the U.S. Ryan Lochte was attempting to rebound after running out of gas in the final 50 meters of the 4x100-meter free relay.
Agnel Yannick was looking to give France another gold medal in men's swimming.
The final wasn't close, as Yannick took the turn at 150 meters with a commanding lead. He finished well off record-pace, but his 1:43.14 was almost two seconds ahead of the field.
Lochte was in good position, but couldn't hold of South Korea's Park Taehwan or Sun Yang from China. That pair finished 1.79 seconds behind Yannick and earned silver medals.
Lochte finished fourth.
Women's 200-Meter Freestyle Semifinals
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The first semifinal featured the duo that battled in the 400-meter free final, Camille Muffat of France and American Allison Schmitt.
But it was Bronte Barratt of Australia that won the heat, out-touching Schmitt to record a time of 1:56.08.
Muffat was third, just 0.10 behind the leader.
Heat two included defending Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini, who had the fastest time in the morning. American Missy Franklin, with one of the fastest time in the morning, struggled but managed to grab the final spot in the final.
To be fair, Franklin basicaly has enough time to dry off and grab a quick sip of water before she'll be back in the pool for the finals in the 100-meter backstroke.
Pellegrini won her heat, but was a half-second slower than Barrett's time in the first semifinal.
The final features the following swimmers:
AUS Bronte Barratt USA Allison Schmitt FRA Camille Muffat ITA Federica Pellegrini GBR Caitlin McClatchey AUS Kylie Palmer RUS Veronika Popova USA Missy Franklin
Results in preliminary heats
Just under two seconds separated the 16 women who qualified from the women's 200-meter freestyle event on Monday morning.
Italy's Federica Pellegrini qualified fastest with a time of 1:57.16, closely followed by American pair Allison Schmitt and Missy Franklin, who qualified for the semi-finals with times of 1:57.33 and 1:57.62 respectively.
In a series of competitive heats, the one thing for the British crowd to cheer for was the performance of Caitlin McClatchey, who qualified seventh fastest in a time of 1:58.03.
She's the only British woman left in the event, leaving her carrying the weight of the British nation on her shoulders as their sole medal hope here.
The favourites for the semi-finals will no doubt be the American girls Schmitt and Franklin, although Pellegrini may well be an outside bet for a medal too.
Men's 4x100 Meter Freestyle Relay
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In the most highly anticipated event of the day, France narrowly edged Team USA out in the gold of the 4x100 meter freestyle relay.
The French finally got their revenge from Beijing when Jason Lezak had a thrilling comeback to beat France out for the gold.
This time around, Team USA was in the lead from the start. Then, France crept forward and the race was neck and neck.
Ryan Lochte lost the lead for the U.S. in the final leg and an immense showing from Yannick Angell in the final 50 meters gave France (3:09.93) the gold.
France was still a second and a half shy of Team USA's 2008 world-record performance.
Team USA (3:10.38) was just ahead of bronze-medalist Russia (3:11.41).
The big surprise of the event was Australia (3:11.61) who didn't even make the podium.
Women's 400-Meter Freestyle
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In a neck-and-neck race, France's Camille Muffat (4:01.45) edged out America's Allison Schmitt (4:01.75).
Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington who had the home-crowd support took home the bronze.
Muffat set an Olympic record and was about two-seconds shy of the world record of 3:59.15, set by Italy's Federica Pellegrini in 2009.
Men's 100-Meter Breaststroke Finals
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Cameron van der Burgh astounded the home crowd and set a world record with a time of 58.46. That made two world records in a thirty-minute time span.
Australia's Christian Sprenger took the silver and American Brendan Hansen won the bronze medal.
Women’s 100-Meter Butterfly Final
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Dana Vollmer of the United States won the gold medal in the women's 100 meter butterfly at the London Olympics in a world record time of 55.98 seconds on Sunday.
She was on track to break the record from the first split. Obviously, Vollmer is the first women to break 56 seconds. She is the second woman to set a world record after a banning of technical suits.
China's Lu Ying finished second while Australia's Alicia Coutts was third behind Vollmer who broke the previous record of 56.06 seconds set by Sweden's Sara Sjostrom in 2009.
Men's 4x100-Meter Freestyle Relay Prelims
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Leading into the final, Australia swam the fastest time of 3 minutes and 12.29 seconds in the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay.
After taking bronze at the Beijing Games it's clear the Australians are out to win it in 2012. Team USA came in second position at 3:12.59 while Russia was third with a time of 3:12.77.
All three countries were the only ones to break the 3:13.00 mark as France swam a time of 3:13.38, which was good enough to see fourth in the prelims. Now it's reasonable to suspect faster times in the final, but the U.S. and Russia still have quite a bit of ground to make up on Australia.
One sleeper team to keep an eye on is Italy. The Italians only swam the eighth fastest qualifying time (3:15.78), but were fourth in Beijing and have the potential to explode being the underdogs.
Women's 400-Meter Freestyle Prelim Heats Overall
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Winning the women's 400-meter freestyle preliminary heats was Camille Muffat of France with a time of 4 minutes and 3.29 seconds.
Setting up an expected intense dual, USA's Allison Schmitt swam the second-fastest prelim time of 4:03.31. Only two one-hundredths of a second behind Muffat, the women's 400 is looking to be arguably the most exciting individual swimming event.
Continuing down the ranks and Muffat's teammate Coralie Balmy positioned herself third with a time of 4:03.56. Balmy however, is one to keep an eye on because she took fourth here at the Beijing Games. The talent only gets strong as well with Italy's Federica Pellegrini finishing in the seventh spot with a time of 4:05.30. She is the current world record-holder.
Then there's the defending Olympic gold-medalist Rebecca Adlington of Great Britain who sneaked into the final at 4:05.75 in the No. 8 spot.
Easily one of the deepest and most talented events, the final will be extreme.
Women's 400-Meter Freestyle (First Few Heats)
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After the first three heats of the women's 400-meter freestyle, Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington leads with a time of 4 minutes and 5.75 seconds.
USA's Chloe Sutton sits in the No. 2 position after swimming 4:07.07 and Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain ranks third at 4:08.23. Interestingly enough, the top eight times through the first three heats all came in the third heat.
Bulgaria's Nina Rangelova won the second heat with a time of 4:11.71, but it was only good enough for ninth overall after Heat 3 was completed.
Men's 100-Meter Backstroke Prelim Heats
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Matt Grevers didn't really try in the men's 100-meter backstroke preliminary heats and still led all racers with a time of 52.92 seconds.
At the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials Grevers swam the event in 52.08 seconds, so just anticipate him challenging the world record.
Elsewhere, China's Feiyi Cheng put himself in the No. 2 slot at 53.22 seconds and Grevers' American teammate Nick Thoman is third overall after swimming 53.48 seconds.
All that said, don't expect anyone to challenge Grevers. He won silver in Beijing and is considerably ahead of the pack at the moment.
Women's 100-Meter Breaststroke Prelim Heats
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Australia's Leisel Jones sits fifth overall in the women's 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1 minute and 6.98 seconds.
The reigning 2008 Summer Games gold-medalist in the event was bested by Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania who swam the fastest preliminary time of 1:05.56. On a more consistent scale, USA's Rebecca Soni took silver during the Beijing Olympics and is on par as she's currently second overall with a time of 1:05.75.
American teammate Breeja Larson finished the prelims fourth at 1:06.58 and Russia's Iuliia Efimova is positioned well by ranking in the third spot with a time of 1:06.51.
Men's 200-Meter Freestyle Prelim Heats
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The 400-meter freestyle gold-medalist Ryan Lochte was outdone in the 200 free after finishing with a time of 1 minute and 46.45 seconds.
China's Yang Sun won the prelims in swimming 1:46.24 and while Yannick Agnel of France was third overall with a time of 1:46.60.
A few other potential contenders to watch for in the semifinals are South Korea's Taehwan Park (1:46.79) and America's Ricky Beren (1:47.07) who were sixth and eighth overall, respectively.
Women's 100-Meter Backstroke Prelim Heats
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The standard was immediately set by Australia's Emily Seebohm in swimming 58.23 seconds during the women's 100-meter backstroke heats Sunday.
The time is a new Olympic record and she was the only competitor to break the 59-second mark. USA's Missy Franklin also proves to be a strong challenge after swimming the second-fastest time of 59.37 seconds.
Other notable contenders like Great Britain's Gemma Spofforth qualified at the No. 12 spot with a time of 1:00.05. Spofforth took fourth in the 100 backstroke in Beijing.
Men's 100-Meter Breaststroke Semifinals
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South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh was the top finals qualifier in the men's 100m breaststroke semifinal. He paced the competition with a time of 58.83.
Italy's Fabio Scozzoli (59.44), Australians Brenton Rickard (59.50) and Christian Sprenger (59.61), and Lithuania's Giedrius Titenis (59.66) followed behind.
Two-time defending Olympic 100m breaststroke champion Kosuke Kitajima also advanced to the semifinals after placing sixth. Hungary's Daniel Gyurta took seventh, while American Brendan Hansen kept his Olympic comeback alive with an eighth-place finish.
U.S. swimmer Eric Shanteau did not make the cut, settling for 11th place in the field of 16 swimmers.
Women's 4x100-Meter Freestyle Relay Final
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Australia established a new Olympic record while earning gold in the 4x100-meter relay finals. The Australians dethroned defending champion Netherlands with a finishing time of 3:33.15.
The Netherlands (3:33.79) placed second and saw the Olympic record it set at the 2008 Beijing Games erased. The U.S. (3:34.24) secured bronze in the event.
China, which has enjoyed a strong opening day in the pool, placed fourth at 3:36.75.
Women's 400-Meter Individual Medley Final
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The youngest competitor in the women's 400m IM finals dominated on her way to gold. 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Shiwen Ye finished at 4:28.43, establishing a new world record in the process.
Famous Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice, who previously held the record (4:29.45), settled for a disappointing sixth-place finish. American Elizabeth Beisel (4:31.27) captured silver.
China's Xuanxu Li (4:32.91) took bronze.
American Caitlin Levernz (4:35.49) tied with Rice for sixth place.
Men's 400-Meter Freestyle Final
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China has it's first Olympic gold medalist in men's swimming. Yang Sun set a new Olympic record in the 400m freestyle final on Saturday afternoon.
He finished in 3:40.14, breaking Ian Thorpe's mark (3:40.59) that stood since the 2000 Sydney Games.
South Korea's Taehwan Park (3:42.06) took silver and American Peter Vanderkaay placed third to secure a bronze medal.
U.S. swimmer Conor Dwyer finished fifth at 3:46.39.
Women's 100-Meter Buttefly Semifinals
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American Dana Vollmer (56.36 seconds) finished first in the second heat of the women's 100M butterfly semifinals. She surged past Ausralia's Alicia Coutts (56.85) and Denmark's Jeanette Gray (57.25), who placed second and third in the heat, respectively. American Claire Donahue followed in fourth at 57.42.
Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom (57.27) took top honors in the first heat, followed by China's Ying Lu (57.51) and Liuyang Jiao (58.04).
As expected, Vollmer looks a definite favorite in this event.
Men's 400-Meter Individual Medley Final
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Ryan Lochte blew away the competition in the 400-meter individual medley, including two-time defending Olympic event champion Michael Phelps. Lochte finished well ahead of the field in 4:05.18 to take gold.
Phelps failed to medal in an event he has dominated over the years. He finished at 4:09.28, in fourth place behind Brazil's Thiago Pereira and Japan's Kosuke Hagino.
It's the fifth consecutive Olympics in which an American has won the 400 IM event.
Phelps-Lochte Showdown Set
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The most anticipated event of Saturday's Olympic action is still on... barely.
Michael Phelps was nearly left on the doorstep of the 400 IM finals, which take place during the next slate of swimming action set to begin this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. ET. He secured the eighth fastest time in the qualifying round, becoming the last swimmer to punch their ticket for the eight-man medal race.
Although Phelps won his heat with a time of 4:13.33, he narrowly advanced to take on American rival Ryan Lochte in the 400 IM final. Lochte placed third overall in the qualifying round at 4:12.35.
A rivalry that grew at the 2011 World Championships and reached another level at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials renews today. Despite Phelps' pedestrian performance in the pool during qualifying rounds, no one will overlook him in the final.
"You can't count him out," Lochte told the Associated Press. "Even though he just squeaked in eighth, he's a racer. We're going to do everything we can to go 1-2 tonight."
Phelps is the two-time defending gold medalist in the 400 IM.
Women's 4x100-Meter Freestyle Relay
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Not surprisingly, Australia, United States, Netherlands and China all swam the four fastest times in the women's 4x100-meter freestyle relay.
The Australians led the way with a time of 3 minutes and 36.34 seconds while the U.S. was second at 3:36.53. On a more impressive scale was 29-year-old Natalie Coughlin who swam the quickest leg for the Americans.
This event is her only shot for a medal in London and it's clear Coughlin wants to go out on top. That said, all four of these countries went top four at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
So, we can easily anticipate the final being a nail-biter across the board.
Men's 100-Meter Breaststroke
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By a mere one one-hundredth of a second did Australia's Christian Sprenger take the overall time in the men's 100-meter breaststroke.
Recording a finishing time of 59.62 seconds, Japan's Kosuke Kitajima was immediately behind at 59.63 seconds and Lithuania's Giedrius was third overall at 59.68 seconds. Even more intensely, all three were in the same heat which only bodes well for increasing the magnitude as the event continues.
As for the USA, Brendan Hansen swam 59.93 seconds and was third in his heat while Eric Shanteau took fourth in his respective heat at 59.96 seconds. Both qualified for the next round.
Women's 400-Meter Individual Medley
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World record-holder Stephanie Rice managed to take second in her heat with a time of 4 minutes and 35.76 seconds, so she's moving on in the women's 400-meter individual medley.
Great Britain's Hannah Miley took Rice's heat by swimming 4:34.98 and the top time went to Elizabeth Beisel of the U.S. at 4:31.68.
Shiwen Ye of China was second overall with a time of 4:31.78 and American Caitlin Leverenz just made the cut in eighth overall by swimming 4:36.09.
Men's 400-Meter Freestyle Qualification
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China's Yang Sun lead the way with a time of 3 minutes and 45.07 seconds during the men's 400-meter freestyle.
Right behind him however, was the American duo of Peter Vanderkaay and Conor Dwyer. Vanderkaay finished with a time of 3:45.80 and Dwyer at 3:46.24.
All three closed out as the top three during the beginning stages and it'll be interesting to see if Sun, Vanderkaay and Dwyer all remain atop throughout the event.
Women's 100-Meter Butterfly Qualification
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Dana Vollmer put on the most impressive performance during the qualification heats of the women's 100-meter butterfly with a time of 56.25 seconds.
That time was not only the fastest time but Voller did it in style by setting a new Olympic record.
China's Ying Lu came in second to Vollmer with a time of 57.17 and American Claire Donahue recorded the seventh fastest time of 58.06 seconds.
Men's 400 Individual Medley (Heats 4 and 5)
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As expected Michael Phelps takes his heat with a time of 4 minutes and 13.33 seconds.
Not far behind him though was Hungary's Laszlo who finished just seven one-hundredths of a second after Phelps.
Ryan Lochte on the other hand, bested both men with 4:12.35 and didn't even win his heat. That honor went to South Africa's Chad Le Clos with a time of 4:12.24.
Men's 400 Individual Medley (First Few Heats)
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Alley Bradley of Barbados wins heat one with a time of 4 minutes and 21.32 seconds.
Then, Bauwens Ward of Belarus takes the second heat and surpasses Bradley's time by finishing with 4:16.71.
Japan's Kosuke Hagino however, steals the show of the first three heats with a time of 4:10.01. Next up, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
5 American Athletes to Watch
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Michael Phelps (Butterfly, IM): There are two things on the legend’s checklist before he retires: win the three medals he needs to become the most decorated Olympian ever and beat rival Ryan Lochte. With seven races on his docket and two head-up showdowns against Lochte, Phelps will have ample opportunity to do both.
Missy Franklin (Freestyle, Backstroke): In her Olympic debut, the 17-year-old phenom can become the first U.S. woman ever to win seven medals at one Summer Games. And she’s only going to get better.
Ryan Lochte (Backstroke, IM): The two-time reigning Swimming World Magazine swimmer of the year has been dominant since Beijing, particularly in the 200 and 400 IM. But can he beat Phelps when the stakes are highest?
Allison Schmitt (Freestyle): Schimitt, who trains with Michael Phelps in Baltimore, has been swimming out of her skull since an early June meet in Austin, Texas. The 22-year-old freestyle specialist is a threat to medal in four events.
Rebecca Soni (Breaststroke): Soni won both Olympic breaststroke distances at the 2011 World Championships. Undersized and underestimated, the New Jersey native makes up for her natural disadvantages with a distinctive, fast-paced stroke that few can explain, much less replicate.
5 International Athletes to Watch
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James Magnussen, Australia (Freestyle): A perfect sprinter’s blend of hubris and talent, the man they call “The Missile” is a threat to win gold in all four of his Olympic events. More incredible still, Magnussen is just 21 years old.
Rebecca Adlington, Great Britain (Freestyle): Adlington, then 19, lit up Beijing, winning gold medals in the 400 and 800 free while breaking Janet Evans’ 19-year-old world record in the latter. With the eyes of an eager home nation upon her, “Becky” will be under big-time pressure to deliver a worthy encore.
Federica Pellegrini, Italy (Freestyle): Despite a buffet of coaching changes, Pellegrini has been peerless in the water since Beijing. The world record holder at 200 and 400 meters is favored to win both events in London.
Sun Yang, China (Freestyle): Sun was just 19 last year when he broke Grant Hackett’s longstanding record in the 1,500 freestyle. He’s expected dominate the event in London, with even greater medal hauls to come as he and his nation climb the swimming ranks.
Kosuke Kitajima, Japan (Breaststroke): The Japanese champion has a knack for big-race heroics, as evidenced by his back-to-back gold medals at both breaststroke distances. If Kitajima pulls that golden double for a third time—or even just goes 1-for-2—he belongs in the conversation for greatest swimmer ever.
5 Races to Watch
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Men’s 200 IM: This will be the second of two showdowns between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Phelps won the dress rehearsal at U.S. Trials, but the two were never separated by more than a stroke. It’d be a shocker if this one didn’t come down to the final five meters.
Women’s 400 Freestyle: One of the the most star-studded fields in London will feature British darling Rebecca Adlington, world record holder Federica Pellegrini, fast-rising American challenger Allison Schmitt and versatile French star Camille Muffat. Expect a frenzied home crowd and a fierce fight for the podium.
Men’s 4x100 Freestyle Relay: This relay has quickly become one of the most competitive and talked about races in any Olympic discipline. In Beijing, Team USA needed a heroic final 50 from Jason Lezak to shock the heavily favored French. Four years later, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and the gang may need a similar out-of-body effort to defeat a loaded Australian squad.
Women’s 200 Backstroke: Of Missy Franklin’s four individual events, this is the one she’s most likely to win. If she could break Kirsty Coventry’s techsuit-aided world record in the process, her legend would grow larger still.
Men’s 4x100 Medley Relay: Not only is it the final race of the London competition, it’s expected to be the final race of Michael Phelps’ legendary career. And wouldn’t you know it, Team USA comes in as the pre-race favorite.
Schedule (Part I)
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Saturday, July 28 (all times ET)
Men’s 400-meter Individual Medley (2:30 pm)
Men’s 400 Freestyle (2:49 pm)
Women’s 400 IM (3:09 pm)
Women’s 4x100 Freestyle Relay (3:50 pm)
Sunday, July 29
Women’s 100 Butterfly (2:30 pm)
Men’s 100 Breaststroke (3:08 pm)
Women’s 400 Freestyle (3:15 pm)
Men’s 4x100 Freestyle Relay (3:54 pm)
Monday, July 30
Men’s 200 Freestyle (2:41 pm)
Women’s 100 Backstroke (2:49 pm)
Men’s 100 Backstroke (2:56 pm)
Women’s 100 Breaststroke (3:13 pm)
Tuesday, July 31
Women’s 200 Freestyle (2:39 pm)
Men’s 200 Butterfly (2:47 pm)
Women’s 200 IM (3:39 pm)
Men’s 4x200 Freestyle Relay (3:47 pm)
Note: All times are Eastern Daylight Time. All listed events are event finals.