Swimming Recap – Day 6

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Team USA dominated YET AGAIN yesterday in the pool!  Apologies for the delayed update, but hey, even bloggers need a day to themselves. Here’s a recap of how the Americans performed on Day 6.

Men’s 200m Individual Medley Final

Advantage: Michael Phelps in the final head-to-head battle between the greatest Olympian of all-time and his anointed successor, Ryan Lochte. Phelps had allowed Lochte to take and maintain the lead in their semifinal heat on the breaststroke, but there would be none of that Thursday as Phelps lead from start to finish, clinching his third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley.

The race begins with the butterfly, Phelps’ best stroke, before transitioning into a 50m backstroke, which is Lochte’s best stroke. The final two lengths of the pool are breaststroke followed by freestyle. Phelps led Lochte by 0.63 seconds at the finish. Brazil’s Thiago Pereira overtook Lochte on the backstroke for second place and held that slot before giving the silver back to Lochte on the final length of the pool. Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, always a force in the pool, wavered in the standings the entire race before clinching the bronze a half-second ahead of Pereira.

The final race of Phelps’ career will be the Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final on Saturday if the Americans qualify from the semifinals.

Men’s 200m Backstroke Final

Does Lochte have a firm grip on future American glory in the pool? Don’t tell that to Tyler Clary, who set an Olympic record time of 1:53.41 in the Men’s 200m Backstroke Final, clinching gold ahead of Japan’s Ryosuke Irie. Clary gained ground on each length of the pool, from the fourth position at the 50m touch, third at the 100m and second at the 150m. Lochte led Clary and Irie all the way through the 150m touch at the wall, but was a half-second behind Clary for the bronze.

Women’s 200m Breaststroke Final

It was a thrilling, global record-setting Women’s 200m Breaststroke Final. First, finishing third for the bronze medal, Russia’s Iuliia Efimova set a European record time of 2:20.92. Finishing second was Japan’s Satomi Suzuki, who equaled the standing Asian record with a time of 2:20.72. But the story for the second-straight day was USA’s Rebecca Soni, who set an American, Olympic and new World Record with a time of 2:19.59, nearly a half-second better than the world record she set in the previous night’s semifinals. Soni added the medal to her silver from the 100m Breaststroke.

Women’s 100m Freestyle Final

American Jessica Hardy was in position for bronze in the Women’s 100m Freestyle at the 50m turn, but she faltered to finish last in the field. Missy Franklin is apparently human after all, though she recovered from last at the turn to finish fifth. Dutch swimmer Ranomi Kromowidjo won gold with an Olympic Record time, Belarus’  Aliaksandra Herasimenia won silver and China’s Tang Yi won bronze.

Men’s 50m Freestyle Semifinals

American swimmers Cullen Jones and Anthony Ervin both qualified for the Men’s 50m Freestyle Final, which will air tonight on NBC in prime time.

Men’s 100m Butterfly Semifinals

Phelps and Tyler McGill qualified first and third for the Men’s 100m Butterfly Final, also to air this evening.

Women’s 200m Backstroke Semifinals

Franklin looks to continue her incredible run at the London Games tonight in the Women’s 200m Backstroke Final, along with teammate Elizabeth Beisel. The pair posted the top two qualifying times.

Women’s 800m Freestyle Qualification

Team USA’s Katie Ledecky led every lap of her qualifying heat and posted the third-best time in the Women’s 800m Freestyle prelims. She’ll swim for the gold medal today.

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London Fashion: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from the 2012 Olympics

Editor’s Note:  Not being of the fashion sensibility myself, I decided to outsource the commentary on Team USA’s Olympic fashion sense to someone who at least claims to have a good read on it. So she says. Kelli Eason is an LSU alumna and public relations professional living in Memphis, Tenn. For the record, she is known to wear hot pink shorts often, and I personally liked the Opening Ceremony uniforms.

Let me start by saying I love the Olympics. I love the sports, I love the camaraderie and I love that the entire world almost seems to get along for two weeks. I love these games, but sometimes I get a little distracted by what the athletes are wearing. So let’s take a break in talking about the athletes’ performance for a second and talk about…their outfits.

The Good (And the Interesting)

1.    The Medals

Example of the gold medals awarded at the 2012 London Olympics

As an LSU fan, of course I’m a little biased, but I love those royal purple straps, especially when paired with a shiny gold medal. If I won one, I’d definitely sing the home of the TIGERS with my new bling.

2.    Water Polo Robes and American Flag Speedos

Team USA water polo

Team USA looks like a bunch of Rocky Balboas when they come out. They even wear the robes open, AND they are ‘Merica colors. I don’t think I’d last 10 seconds playing water polo, but if I could, these guys would be intimidating. Also their flag speedos are patriotic, and I’ll admit that I enjoy them.

3.    The Olympic rings tattoos

Olympic Rings tattoo craze
Oy, Matt Grevers’ smile is as golden as his medals…oh, and he has those tattoos…

I’m not sure if this really counts as fashion, but it’s something unique that only happens at the Olympics, so it gets a mention. Has anyone else noticed the Olympic rings tattoos? I have noticed them on the male swimmers this year, but I know lots of other Olympians have them. It’s the placement on the USA male swimmers’ right biceps that intrigued me. It works for me.

4.    Black and white swim caps

Team USA white swim caps (day swims)Team USA black swim cap (night swims)

Not that this is some huge fashion statement, but I thought it was cool. The USA swimmers wear white caps during their day events and black caps during night events. They’re just so clever.

The Bad

1.    Gymnastics leotards that aren’t red, white and/or blue during competitions

To be fair, the USA women’s gymnastics team wore some great red leotards during one of their competitions. They also wore purple and pink in others. Of course they always look great, but come on, people. ‘Merica!

    

You tell me which one looks a little snazzier competing for her country.

2.    T-shirts in beach volleyball. And how they should go away.

Beach volleyball with T-shirts

This goes for both men and women. I understand they’re in London and it’s a little chilly there (about 55 degrees at night, to be exact). Seems as though London could utilize some of those nifty heat lamps every restaurant with a patio employs in the winter, no? At least Team USA is doing it right, though. Nothing looks more awkward to me than the athletes that put their t-shirts UNDER their bathing suit tops. That’s just not even functional, what if they get hot and want to take it off?

Beach Volleyball without t-shirts

3.    The Hair

Danell Leyva's Dad's hair Kohei Uchimara's hair

I’m actually totally neutral on most of the hair in this Olympiad. But let’s be honest, when I’m talking about bad hair, I’m talking about two people: Danell Leyva’s dad and his salty mohawk and that Japanese gymnast, Kohei Uchimura, that I’m confident was an anime character before he was an Olympian. It’s almost creepy…his hair doesn’t move!

The Ugly

1.    Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms

I know I’m not alone in feeling some disappointment in Team USA’s opening ceremony attire. With all the hype leading up to these uniforms – being designed by Ralph Lauren and made in China – I thought they might at least be exciting. Unfortunately, my opinion is that they made our athletes look like snobby sailors, rigid private school children or in the case of Lebron, big guy in a little coat. I loved India’s uniforms, as they were traditional and flowed really beautifully. My advice for next time would be to get something that might call to our heritage a bit, or at least look nice.

Team USA Opening Ceremony Uniforms
Meh.

All in all, the fashion statements being made at the 2012 Olympic Games are not going to make or break them. That said, it is pretty interesting to watch and talk about. Well, fashion statements and China’s antics, anyway.

Editor’s Honorable Mention – Parker Wishik

Okay so I HAVE made a handful of observations Kelli has neglected.

1.  Team USA Women’s Soccer Uniforms

Reminds you somewhat of the nautical theme? I personally am warming to them. They channel the flag and feature the stripe patterns familiar to European soccer – though with the stripes horizontal, they’re more akin to rugby unis.

Team USA women's soccer uniforms
Personally, Alex Morgan could sell any uniform to me.

2.  Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser’s Beach Volleyball Wardrobe

Rogers and Dalhausser

The defending gold medalists from Beijing may have just been bounced in the Round of 16 (tear), but they had been rocking some awesome Americana on the beach, with different uniform on each match.

3.  Team USA Nike lime green kicks

Team USA Nike Sneakers

Boy, these are EVERYWHERE. Our athletes have been wearing them at all stages of the Olympics, from actual competition in events like fencing and track and field to standing on the medal podium (Gabby Douglas and Kayla Harrison) to on-air TV interviews.

What are your thoughts?

“Yo Adrian! You Did It!” Team USA Wins Golds, Breaks World Record In Pool

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.

American swimmers Scott Weltz and Clark Burckle never contended for a medal, finishing

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.

Phelps Becomes Greatest Olympian of All-Time with Gold in 4 x 200 Freestyle Relay

Michael Phelps stands alone as the greatest – or most prolific, you call it – Olympic athlete of all time. No modern Olympic athlete, in any sport, Summer or Winter, from any country, ever, has won more medals than Phelps.

It was a historic gold medal for Michael Phelps in the Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay – the 19th of his Olympic career. It capped a field day for Team USA in the pool Tuesday, with Americans winning medals in every final event, including gold in the Women’s 200m Freestyle.

Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Final

The American men were heavily favored to repeate as gold medalists in the Men’s 2 x 400m Free, but I certainly didn’t expect the dominating performance begun on the second 100m of the leadoff swim by Ryan Lochte and ended on the resolute determination of Michael Phelps’ anchor leg. It was an interesting shift in strategy for Team USA, taking the pressure of the finish off Lochte and shifting it to their best swimmer.

While Lochte, Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens share in the golden glory, the weight of the moment belongs to Phelps. His gold medal in this event was his 19th Olympic medal, which is the most of any athlete in any sport from any country in the modern history of the Olympic Games. Phelps’ family – watching from the grandstands – was clearly emotional, and Phelps hugged the lane divider for quite a while following the race’s conclusion to take in the moment.

France finished 3.07 seconds behind Team USA for the silver, and China was 6.6 seconds behind for the bronze.

Men’s 200m Butterfly Final

Phelps was not invincible on the day, however, faltering in his best event in probably the best race of the day. Phelps had the lead at every touch of the wall by tenths of a second and was seemingly on his way to gold at the final turn, but South African Chad le Clos, swimming in the lane to Phelps’ right, rode his wake and chased him down in the last half-length of the pool for the gold medal. Phelps lost his signature event by only five-hundredths of a second. Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda won the bronze, and American Tyler Clary finished fifth.

It came down to the finish, which was the exact opposite of the same event in Beijing in 2008. Then, Phelps took a final stroke into the wall, overtaking an opponent who stayed underwater, stretching for the wall, by one one-hundredth of a second. This time around, Phelps was the one stretching underwater, and le Clos took the extra stroke.

Women’s 200m Freestyle Final

Allison Schmitt has hit for the cycle, topping her silver medal in the women’s 400m freestyle and bronze in the 4 x 100m free relay with an Olympic record time of 1:53.61 for the gold medal in the 200m free, blowing away the field. Schmitt was fourth after the 50m mark but posted the best time at each split the rest of the way. French swimmer Camille Muffat took silver and Aussie Bronte Barratt took bronze. Missy Franklin, the gold medalist in the women’s 100m backstroke, was in medal contention at each split but finished .01 seconds out of a tie for bronze.

Women’s 200m Individual Medley Final

Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, amid allegations of doping after she posted a better freestyle split time than male American swimmer Ryan Lochte in a previous semifinal, chased down American Caitlin Leverenz and Australia’s Alicia Coutts in the last 50 meters on the freestyle to win her second gold medal of the Games. Shiwen’s time of 2:07.57 was an Olympic record. Coutts also overtook Leverenz, who led at the 150m mark after the breaststroke, for silver, though Leverenz held on for the bronze after coming back from sixth place at the 100m mark following the backstroke.

World record holder, American Ariana Kukors, finished fifth.

Men’s 100m Freestyle Semifinals

Cullen Jones and Nathan Adrian, swimming in the same semifinal, were in contention for the lead at the 50m mark, with Adrian touching the wall first. Adrian pulled away from the field with 25 meters to go to win an intense semifinal, but Jones struggled visibly, finishing last and missing the final. Adrian’s 47.97 second result was the second-fastest time in the semis.

Men’s 200m Breaststroke Semifinals

Americans Scott Weltz and Clark Burckle advanced to the Men’s 200m Breaststroke Final, swum tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., with times of 2:08.99 and 2:09.11, respectively. Weltz qualified in the fourth position, and Burckle qualified sixth.

Women’s 200m Butterfly Semifinals

Kathleen Hersey enters the Women’s 200m Butterfly Finals with the top qualifying time of 2:05.90, .2 seconds quicker than Jiao Liuyang of China. American Cammile Adams also qualified for the finals, finishing seventh. The finals will be swum tomorrow at 2:12 p.m. CT.

Franklin, Grevers Lead Golden Monday in the Pool for Team USA

Ryan Lochte is the premier name on the minds of swimming fans and smitten women the world over, but Monday’s finals belonged to two other members of Team USA Swimming, as Missy Franklin and Matt Grevers were victorious in the backstroke, continuing American dominance in the event.

Women’s 100m Backstroke Finals

Missy Franklin, a 17-year-old swimmer residing in Aurora, Colo., came from tenths of a second behind at the 50m turn, overtaking Aussie Emily Seebohm to win the gold medal in 100m Women’s Backstroke. Seebohm allowed Franklin to overtake her on the last length of the pool but was never in danger of finishing any lower than a silver medal. Japan’s Aya Terakawa came back from fifth place at the turn to finish with the bronze medal.

Franklin’s feat is especially notable considering that less than 15 minutes prior to racing for gold, she swam in the semifinals of the Women’s 200m Freestyle, qualifying for the eighth and final spot.

Men’s 100m Backstroke Finals

In Beijing in 2008, Chicagoan Matt Grevers finished with a silver medal behind American all-time great and world record holder Aaron Piersol, whom Grevers touted as the best in the world. Piersol remains the world record holder in the 100m Backstroke, but he no longer holds the Olympic Record, which Grevers broke today on his way to taking the gold medal. Fellow American Nick Thoman made up substantial ground to give Team USA a 1-2 finish, winning his silver medal by .05 ahead of bronze medalist Ryosuke Irie of Japan.

Grevers’ Olympic Record time was 52.16 seconds. Thoman was third coming off the wall at 50m but stuck in the middle of a crowded pack gunning for silver. He held on for second place, fending off Irie, who had come back from 6th at the wall.

Women’s 100m Breaststroke Finals

Rebecca Soni seemingly struggled in the first 50 meters but battled back and made a mad rush down the stretch, but in the end she couldn’t overtake young Lithuanian swimmer Ruta Meilutyte, settling instead for a well-earned silver medal.

Soni went into the wall at the 50m turn in fourth place, a strong split considering she was near the back of the pack for much of the first length of the pool. The difference was too much to overcome, despite a spirited effort in the final 10 meters. Soni finished with a time of 1:05.55, a mere .08 seconds behind Meilutyte, who is the youngest woman to ever win the event and secured her country’s first medal at these Games.

American Breeja Larson was almost disqualified for entering the pool early, but further investigation revealed there was a technical malfunction, causing the start to sound before the swimmers were instructed to take their marks. Larson hit the wall at 50m in second place, but faltered down the stretch and finished in sixth place.

Soni will compete in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke and will swim breaststroke in the Women’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay.

Men’s 200m Freestyle Finals

The race was Lochte’s to win as he faced a field missing 2008 gold medalist Michael Phelps, who decided prior to the Games beginning to drop the event from his program. Coming off the wall at the 150m mark, Lochte was in position to clinch at least a silver medal, possibly overtaking France’s Yannick Agnel, who was less than two-tenths of a second ahead, for gold.

Instead, Lochte faltered down the last half length of the pool, giving way to China’s Sun Yang and Korea’s Park Taehwan, who tied for dual silver medals. Lochte was in at least third place at every split of the race before finishing fourth.

Team Ryan will enjoy Lochte for two more individual events – the 200m Backstroke, possibly his best event, and the 200m Individual Medley, where he’ll again go head-to-head against Phelps. Lochte will also swim for the U.S. in the Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay.

Women’s 200m Individual Medley Semifinals

Caitlin Leverenz and Ariana Kukors qualified with times of 2.10.06 and 2.10.08, respectively, in the women’s 200m individual medley finals tomorrow.

Men’s 200m Butterfly Semifinals

Phelps and fellow American Tyler Clary both posted qualifying times in the 200m Butterfly and will swim in the event finals tomorrow afternoon.

American Swimming Trio Wins Gold, Silver and Bronze in Record Fashion

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.

French Fried: Lochte, USA Concede Lead, Gold to France Relay Team

Revenge is a dish best served cold, in chlorinated water, aged over four years.

The French swim team feasted Sunday night in London, winning the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay, defeating the USA by four-tenths of a second. The French victory was the opposite result of the everlasting image of Jason Lezak chasing down Alain Bernard to win the gold for the USA in this same event in Beijing in 2008.

The American team held the lead virtually from the get-go, as Michael Phelps swam the second leg and extended the lead bequeathed to him by Nathan Adrian to three-quarters of a second. Phelps performed a remarkable turn after his first 50m and extended his lead by going for distance under the water off the wall. Cullen Jones, the third leg in 2008, largely preserved the lead, though he gave some ground back to the pursuing French. It was then up to Lochte, who could not hold off France’s anchor down the final stretch, giving way in the last 25 meters and finishing second for the silver.

What will America now say about wonder boy Lochte? If you want to bash these Olympic heroes while they’re down as was the case with Phelps yesterday, then Lochte is equally guilty of choking today. In my opinion, the French simply outswam the Americans today, and there’s no necessity in pointing blame or crying foul over a silver medal.

This marks the first time since I believe the 2000 Sydney Olympics that the USA men did not win gold in the 4 x 100m free.