If he had been subjected to the same nailbiting experience as those who watched his race, Nathan Adrian may be wearing a silver medal tonight instead of his gold.
Adrian won his second gold medal of the London Olympics by a fingernail as Americans won the Men’s 100m Freestyle and Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay finals Wednesday, with Rebecca Soni also claiming the world record in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke in her semifinal swim. Spectators also saw a lane-to-lane duel between American superstars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley semis.
Men’s 100m Freestyle Final
Adrian, a Bremerton, Wash., native nicknamed “Bok Choi,” won the 100m Free by a mere one one-hundredth of a second with a 47.52 time, overtaking Brazil’s Cesar Celo and Canada’s Brent Hayden after the 50m turn while fending off the rest of the field down the last length of the pool. He tapped the wall just ahead of Australia’s James “The Missile” Magnussen, who himself came back from fifth at the turn. Hayden settled for bronze.
Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay
Team USA fielded a stacked lineup in the Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay final, featuring three swimmers who have already won gold medals at these Games.
It was Allison Schmitt to the rescue on the anchor leg, chasing down the Aussies to give the Americans the gold in Olympic record-fashion with a 7:42.92 time. Australia led from the end of the second leg through the third leg. Missy Franklin led off and won the first split, but handed a third place time off to Dana Vollmer. Vollmer retook the lead on her first lap but finished her leg with Team USA in second. Shannon Vreeland, competing in her first Olympics, preserved the Americans’ second-place standing on the third leg before giving way to Schmitt, who posted the Americans’ fastest split times, catching and fending off Australia’s Alicia Coutts to clinched the gold. Schmitt’s relay split was the second-fastest in history.
Men’s 200m Breaststroke Final
Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta took no chances on his way to a gold medal, setting the men’s 200m breaststroke world record with a time of 2:07.28. Brit Michael Jamieson wowed the home crowd by claiming silver, finishing only .15 seconds behind Gyurta. Japan’s Ryo Tateishi took bronze.
Women’s 200m Butterfly Final
The Chinese women’s swim team has been as much of a story as Team USA in London, and it continued its winning ways Wednesday as Jiao Liuyang set an Olympic record and won the gold medal by 1.19 seconds ahead of silver medalist Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain. Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi won bronze.
American swimmers were not a threat to medal until the last 50 meters, when Kathleen Hersey made a run after Hoshi. She finished fourth, .3 seconds off the podium. Cammile Adams was at the back of the field for most of the race but rallied to finish fifth.
Women’s 200m Breaststroke Semifinals
Even though her race was just a semifinal, Soni left it all in the pool, setting a world record time of 2:20.00 and leading many to wonder what she would do for an encore in the final, to be swum tomorrow at 1:40 p.m. CT. Soni finished more than two seconds ahead of the next-fastest time by Danish swimmer Rikke Pedersen. American Micah Lawrence, making her London debut, also qualified for the final in the sixth position.
Women’s 100m Freestyle Semifinals
Franklin looks to continue her amazing performance at the games by medaling in tomorrow’s 100m Freestyle final, scheduled for 2:37 p.m. CT. Franklin qualified third out of the semis, with American Jessica Hardy joining her out of the last qualifying spot.
Men’s 200m Individual Medley Semifinals
As potentially his greatest competition for the 200m individual medley, Phelps kept his eyes on Lochte the entire semifinals – literally. Lochte and Phelps swam in adjacent lanes in the first semifinal heat, with Phelps maintaining the lead through both the butterfly and backstroke legs. Lochte took the lead on the breaststroke, and Phelps elected to coast to the wall in the freestyle instead of giving chase, qualifying third. Lochte posted the top qualifying time, while Hungary’s Lasclo Cseh beat out Phelps for the second spot.
Men’s 200m Backstroke Semifinals
Lochte may be the brand name in the backstroke, but Tyler Clary’s stock is also rising. The American outswam his more famous teammate by more than half a second in taking the top qualifying spot in tomorrow’s 200m backstroke final, set for 1:48 p.m. Lochte qualified in the second position.