The day largely belonged to the Americans. Michael Phelps proved he's still one of the best swimmers in the world, and in my opinion the best of all time.
His performance in the 200-meter individual medley was sparkling as he held off the man who was supposed to supplant him as the top dog.
Ryan Lochte had to settle for the silver medal in this one, but he has still won more medals than Phelps through six days.
Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Beisel also shined, and they look to have a fierce head-to-head clash of their own in Friday's final of the 200-meter backstroke.
Here's how the whole day in the pool went down:
(Times and standings from NBCOlympics.com)
Men's 50-Meter Freestyle Qualifiers for Final
|=1||1||BRA - Cesar Cielo||21.54|
|=1||1||USA - Cullen Jones||21.54|
|3||1||USA - Anthony Ervin||21.62|
|4||2||BRA - Bruno Fratus||21.63|
|5||2||TRI - George Richard Bovell||21.77|
|6||2||FRA - Florent Manaudou||21.80|
|=7||1||AUS - Eamon Sullivan||21.88|
|=7||2||RSA - Roland Schoeman||21.88|
George Richard Bovell of Trinidad had the fastest qualifying time in the heats with 21.77. But in the semifinals Americans Cullen Jones and Ervin Anthony bested him, as did Brazilians Cesar Cielo and Bruno Fratas.
Bovell still qualified, but Friday's final is wide open. Judging by what I saw today, Jones seems to be the favorite.
He has been disappointed in his performance in London thus far, and he looks to be on a mission.
Women's 800-Meter Freestyle Qualifiers for Final
|1||GBR - Rebecca Adlington||8:21.78|
|2||DEN - Lotte Friis||8:21.89|
|3||USA - Katie Ledecky||8:23.84|
|4||ESP - Mireia Belmonte Garcia||8:25.26|
|5||NZL - Lauren Boyle||8:25.91|
|6t||HUN - Boglarka Kapas||8:26.43|
|6t||VEN - Andreina Pinto Perez||8:26.43|
|8||FRA - Coralie Balmy||8:27.15|
Adlington has put herself in a nice position to bring home gold for the host.
She had the fastest qualifying time, and she is one of the favorites for gold in the final on Friday. The lone American qualifier is Katie Ledecky of Bethesda, Maryland.
She's the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team at 15 years old. She had the third fastest qualifying time, and a medal would be one of the Games' nicest stories.
Men's 100-Meter Butterfly
|1||1||USA - Michael Phelps||50.86|
|2||2||RSA - Chad le Clos||51.42|
|3||2||USA - McGILL Tyler||51.61|
|4||2||SRB - Cavic Milorad||51.66|
|5||2||NED - Joeri Verlinden||51.75|
|6||1||GER - Steffen Deibler||51.76|
|7||1||POL - Konrad Czerniak||51.78|
|8||2||RUS - Evgeny Korotyshkin||51.85|
The 100-meter fly is a star-studded event, and the stars didn't disappoint in the preliminary heats. World-record holder Chad le Clos had the fastest qualifying time, and Michael Phelps was just behind him.
In the semifinals, Phelps won his heat, as did le Clos. It is shaping up to be yet another showdown for Phelps in the final on Friday.
The challengers never stop coming for the world's greatest.
Women's 200-Meter Backstroke Qualifiers for Final
|1||1||USA - Elizabeth Beisel||2:06.18|
|2||2||USA - Missy Franklin||2:06.84|
|3||1||AUS - Meagen Nay||2:07.42|
|4||1||RUS - Anastasia Zueva||2:07.88|
|5||1||FRA - Alexianne Castel||2:08.24|
|6||2||ZIM - Kirsty Coventry||2:08.32|
|7||1||GBR - Elizabeth Simmonds||2:08.48|
|8||2||CAN - Sinead Russell||2:08.76|
Americans Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Beisel dominated the preliminary heats. They finished first and second to easily qualify.
In the semifinals, it was more of the same. Friday's final will clearly come down to battle between Franklin and Beisel for the gold medal.
This is the closest thing the women have to Lochte vs. Phelps.
Women's 200-Meter Breaststroke
|1||04||USA - Rebecca Soni||2:19.59||WR|
|2||03||JPN - Suzuki Satomi||+1.13|
|3||06||RUS - Iuliia Efimova||+1.33|
American Rebecca Soni broke the world record she set on Wednesday with a gold-medal performance on Thursday.
Her performance in this event was one of the most dominating performances of all of the swimming events.
Men's 200-Meter Backstroke
|1||USA - Tyler Clary||1:53.41||OR|
|2||JPN - Irie Ryosuke||1:53.78||+0.37|
|3||USA - Ryan Lochte||1:53.94||+0.53|
American Tyler Clary claimed gold in this his second and final opportunity at a medal in these Olympics. He set an Olympic record with his performance, holding off Irie Ryosuke of Japan.
Ryosuke seemingly had the race in the bag but faded at the end, and Clary claimed the top spot on the podium.
Ryan Lochte gained a bronze medal, and this continued the Americans' balanced showing at the London Games.
Men's 200-Meter Individual Medley
|1||03||USA - Michael Phelps||1:54.27|
|2||04||USA - Ryan Lochte||+0.63|
|3||05||HUN - Laszlo Cseh||+1.95|
Michael Phelps must have felt like Roy Jones Jr. He could have leaped from the water, yelling, "Y'all must've forgot!!"
He reminded us with a gold-medal performance in the event that he has won in three Olympic competitions.
Phelps may be passing the torch, but the fire is still shining a light on him. He's the greatest ever; it gets less debatable with every medal.
Women's 100-Meter Freestyle
In the only final that didn't feature an American on the podium, Ranomi Kromowidjojo captured gold. Franklin was the fastest American, finishing fifth, but Kromowidjojo's Olympic record time was impressive.
|1||04||NED - Ranomi Kromowidjojo||53.00||OR||-|
|2||01||BLR - Aliaksandra Herasimenia||53.38||+0.38|
|3||06||CHN - Tang Yi||53.44||+0.44|
Individual Medal Count
Table from London 2012 Official Site
Team Medal Count
The United States still holds a sizable lead in the medal count in swimming.
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