The Aquatics Centre was home to some incredible moments during the 2012 London Games, and these are the five best moments from the pool over the Olympic Games. Records were set, and medals were won. Swimmers made history, but none more than Michael Phelps.
The swimming events are extremely exciting theater because we always love to see who is fastest. There are rivalries among countries and rivalries within teams. We saw them play out over the course of the swimming events, and they captivated us from beginning to end.
There was intense action from both the men's and women’s teams. Michael Phelps passed the torch to Missy Franklin. For Team USA, the swimming events were an incredible success, from start to finish.
Here are the top five moments from the Aquatics Centre in the London Games.
Katie Ledecky won the gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle swim as a 15-year-old. It is an astounding achievement, especially considering the how she blew away the field during the race. Ledecky won the race with a time of 8 minutes, 14:63 seconds. She beat a very strong field, including the UK’s own Rebecca Adlington by over four seconds.
Ledecky is going to be front and center for quite some time. She is entering her sophomore year in high school, and she doesn’t yet have her driving permit. Ledecky could swim on the US team for three more Olympics and still only be a 27-year-old swimmer.
The youngest member on the entire US team brought home a gold medal. It was an incredible moment for Ledecky and for the US team.
Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens gave Michael Phelps a massive lead, and it allowed him to swim the anchor leg of the 4x200-meter freestyle race. Phelps breezed to the wall, and by doing so, he won medal No. 19 of his Olympic career. The Americans won with a time of 6:59.70, crushing the field by just under three seconds.
It makes him the most decorated Olympian in history, and the greatest Olympic athlete in the history of the Olympic Games. The 4x200-meter free gold medal gives Phelps 15 gold, two silver and two bronze for his career. It is hard to imagine anyone surpassing this medal total again.
This was a legendary moment and one of the greatest at the London Games.
Missy Franklin is the next thrilling swimmer for the USA Team. As a 17-year-old, she is entering the prime of her swimming career, and she is already a star. She is already a four-time Olympic gold-medal winner, and she is just getting started.
Franklin finished the 200-meter backstroke with a gold medal, and she set a world-record time of 2:04:06. She bested her competition by 1.86 seconds, and set a mark that will stand for some time. Franklin will be back in the Olympic pool in Rio De Janeiro in 2016 to defend her titles.
Franklin is going to be a superstar for many years, and Michael Phelps is passing the torch to her to carry the US team in the pool. Franklin’s star is going to burn as brightly as anyone's during the next four years, leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games.
This was the matchup that everyone wanted to see. Ryan Lochte was supposed to pass Michael Phelps during the London Games as the next great one, and this was where Lochte would finally swim past Phelps as they were going to race each other.
Lochte and Phelps were teammates, but they are also rivals, and it was an extremely intense rivalry between two swimmers who hate to lose. There was tremendous buildup to this race, and some expected Phelps to fade. There were questions about his conditioning and whether Phelps could hang with Lochte in this race.
Michael Phelps had an answer for all of us, as we watched him swim his way to another gold medal. Phelps got out to a fairly comfortable lead in the race, and the push from Lochte never came. This was one of the most memorable moments from the pool in London.
Michael Phelps established himself as the greatest Olympian of all-time during the London Games. There is no better moment from the Aquatics Centre than watching Phelps swim his last race as an Olympic athlete. The last time he would be in a pool would be an incredibly memorable moment, and Phelps did not disappoint.
Matt Grevers, Nathan Adrian, Brendan Hansen and Phelps would swim the 4x100-meter medley relay for the US Team, and they would help Phelps win gold in his last race. They finished with a time of 3:29:35. The Americans held a slim lead until Nathan Adrain hit the water and blew away the field in the freestyle portion of the race.
It was a fitting sendoff for Phelps, as he finished his Olympic career with 18 gold medals. He also has two silver and two bronze medals. It will make a lasting memory, and it was the best moment from the pool in the London Games.