All was not lost today for Team USA Swimming, as the Americans upped their medal count and, led by Dana Vollmer’s epic butterfly, made headlines.
QUICK FUN FACT: Have you noticed that sometimes your favorite American swimmers are wearing white swim caps and sometimes they’re wearing black ones? This is a USA Swimming tradition, according to former Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard, who did not qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. American swimmers will wear white caps during the day at qualifying events and black in the evenings, which are generally semifinals and finals.
Women’s 100m Butterfly Finals
There must be something in the water in upstate New York, with swimmers native to the area having performed incredibly well at these Olympics. Vollmer, born in Syracuse, was the latest example, blowing away the field and the established world record in the Women’s 100m Butterfly and securing the United States’ third gold medal in London. She posted a time of 55.98 and defeated silver medalist Lu Ying of China by nearly a full second.
Vollmer was making her individual Olympic debut, though she won gold in Athens 2004 in the 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay. She swam in the 2000 Olympic trials at age 12 – the youngest ever to do so – and will swim again in the 4 x 200m Free Relay on Wednesday.
American Claire Donahue finished seventh.
Women’s 400m Freestyle Finals
American Allison Schmitt was second in her qualifying heat by a mere two-hundredths of a second to French swimmer Camille Muffat. Despite her best efforts, Schmitt could only repeat the result in the final, as Muffat won with an Olympic Record time, never losing a split. To her credit, Schmitt set an American record with her time and remained in second place the entire race.
Men’s 100m Breaststroke Finals
Brendan Hansen, who barely qualified for the final in the 100m Breaststroke after finishing fourth in the final in Beijing, squeaked onto the podium with a bronze medal by four-tenths of a second ahead of Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta,. South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh won gold in world record fashion. Hansen was part of the gold medal winning USA team in the 4 x 100m medley relay and will swim that event later these Games.
Women’s 100m Backstroke Semifinals
Coloradan Missy Franklin is sitting in second position heading into the 100m Backstroke Finals tomorrow at 1:51 p.m. Franklin qualified just behind Aussie Emily Seebohm and will have to fend off home crowd favorite and world record holder, Brit Gemma Spofforth, as well.
Women’s 100m Breaststroke Semifinals
USA is set up in prime medal contention in the 100m Women’s Breaststroke, as both Rebecca Soni and Breeja Larson advanced from the first heat into the finals. Soni, a New Jersey native, and Larson, hailing from Mesa, Ariz., took the top two spots from their heat and are slotted second and fourth, respectively, for the final.
The last slot in the finals was up for grabs as Canada’s Tara van Beilen and Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson were in a dead heat at 1:07.48. Atkinson won a swim0ff later in the evening. The final is scheduled for tomorrow at 2:15 p.m. Central Time.
Men’s 200m Freestyle Semifinals
On a day which saw Ryan Lochte give up the lead and eventually the gold medal in the Men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay, Lochte put himself in position to win another gold medal by making it through the semifinals in the Men’s 2oom Freestyle. Defending Olympic champion Michael Phelps, who won this event in Beijing in 2008, decided not to swim this event in London. Lochte was faltering prior to the final turn but made a vigorous swim to come back and place second in his heat and posted the 5th best overall. Perhaps his final 50 explains his mishap in the relay?
Fellow American Ricky Berens failed to qualify for the final, which is tomorrow at 1:43 p.m. CT.
Men’s 100m Backstroke Semifinals
Team USA will field two swimmers in the 100m Backstroke Finals, with Matt Grevers posting the top overall time in the semis by nearly .4 seconds and Nick Thoman qualifying in the fifth slot. The final is tomorrow at 1:58 p.m.