Swimming Records Broken at the Water Cube
Michael Phelps gave the world yet another surprise by winning the gold medal in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley taking a 1.41 second off his own world record with a time of 4:03.84.
When asked about his thoughts on winning Olympic gold and breaking yet another world record, Phelps said: “I’m emotional, excited. It’s a really good way to start.”As the world watched, the swimming talent stood on top the podium, tears welling up in his eyes. Silver went to Athens bronze medal winner Laszlo Cseh of Hungary. Ryan Lochte (USA) took the bronze medal this time around.
In the Men’s 400m Freestyle final, Park Tae-hwan of the Republic of Korea won the gold medal in 3:41.86 beating Zhang Lin (3:42.44) of China, America’s Larsen Jensen (3:42.78) and his idol, the favored Grant Hackett of Australia, who faded to sixth with a time of 3:43.84. Park’s gold medal is the first Olympic medal for the Republic of Korea. And the fact that two Asian male swimmers stood atop the podium in a swimming event today is also a first in swimming history.
In the Women’s 400m Individual Medley final, Stephanie Rice of Australia won the race easily in 4:29.45 and retook the world record from Katie Hoff of the United States of America who came in third with a time of 4:31.71. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe tried to out swim Rice in the last 50 meter lap, but failed. Coventry won the silver medal in 4:29.89.
The Netherlands sent the same team that broke the world record for the event in March this year: Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk and Marleen Veldhuis to compete in the Women’s 4×100m Freestyle Relay final and easily took the gold medal from the United States with a more than half a second lead. Defending world and Olympic champions Australia touched third with a new Australian record time. In the semi-finals of the Men’s 100m breaststroke, the Olympic record was again reset by Alexander Dale Oen of Norway with a time of 59.16 after another wave of record-breaking in yesterday’s prelims. Dale Oen will be competing in lane 4 with the Athens gold medalist Kitajima Kosuke beside him in lane 5 in tomorrow’s final. The world record holder Brendan Hansen will be in lane 2.
The top three Women’s 100m butterfly final qualifiers include Lisbeth Trickett of Australia (Lane 4), her compatriot Jessicah Schipper (Lane 3) and the United State’s Christine Magnuson (Lane 5).The evening session was by no means short of surprises. Two Olympic records were broken in the Women’s 100m Backstroke and 100m Breaststroke prelims by Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe and Leisel Jones of Australia within the hour. Coventry had just won silver in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley in the morning. Shortly after that, another Olympic record was smashed by an American in the Men’s 100m backstroke prelim, Matt Grevers, with a time of 53.41, 0.04 of a second off the previous record set by his compatriot Aaron Peirsol four years ago in Athens. And then, in Women’s 400m Freestyle, the 20-year-old Olympic record set by Janet Evans (USA) in Seoul was updated twice, first by Katie Hoff in heat five and then by the world-record holder Federica Pellegrini of Italy with a time of 4:02.19 in heat seven.
To cap the day off, in the last prelim of Men’s 4×100m Freestyle Relay, the world record was updated by the US quartet: Nathan Adrian. Cullen Jones, Ben Wildman-Tobriner, and Matt Grevers in 3:12.23. It is an impressive time considering Phelp’s absence from the team.