Here’s Jill’s third report on Olympic swimming. If blogging about swimming were an Olympic event, we’d give Jill the gold!
It has been a busy week in Olympic swimming. And it has had its ups and downs for the American team. On Monday night, the American men lost the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay to the French, who were on a mission of revenge after their loss to the Americans in 2008. Michael Phelps’ leg of the relay was a major disappointment and he seemed to recognize as much, judging from his behavior after the race. (He really does not like to lose.) Phelps’ 200 butterfly on Tuesday night was a let-down as well. After years of reigning supreme in the 200 fly, Phelps earned only a silver (yes, “only” a silver) and passed the title on to South African Chad le Clos. After the race, Phelps could not contain his disgust and threw down his goggles in frustration. (See above about Phelps not liking to lose.)
But, it has not been all gray clouds and rainy days for the Americans. Despite Phelps’ disappointing 200 butterfly, that silver medal was Phelps’ 18th Olympic medal, tying him for the most medals won by an Olympic athlete. And, besides, let’s be real, here, people; A silver medal in the Olympics is nothing to sneeze at. The American men also got their revenge on the French in the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay, and it was not even close. The Americans took the gold, beating the French by three full seconds. Ryan Lochte led off the relay with an obvious determination to bend the French (along with the rest of the field) to his will and pound them into submission. The resulting gold medal was Phelps’ first gold of the 2012 games but, more notably, it was his 19th Olympic medal, making him the most decorated Olympic athlete in history. I think he is going to need another neck to hold up all those medals.
There are women on this team, as well, and they have been doing some darn good swimming. Allison Schmitt earned a gold in the 200 meter freestyle, beating out France’s Camille Muffat by two full seconds. That made a full set of medals for Schmitt, who has already earned a silver and a bronze during these games. And the baby of the team, Missy Franklin, gave everyone a tutorial in guts when she swam the qualifying round of the 200 meter freestyle and then fifteen minutes later, let me repeat that, fifteen minutes later, won her first Olympic gold medal in the 100 meter backstroke in a stunning come-from-behind victory that made jaws drop all over the world. Seriously, I can’t emphasize enough how amazing that is. And have I mentioned that she is only 17 years old? She is so young that she has so far refused any endorsement deals so she can remain eligible to swim on her high school swim team. Seriously, I am not joking, people. I mean, who does that? Missy Franklin, that’s who.
There’s still more swimming yet to come so buckle up and get ready!