Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

July 30, 2012

OLYMPICS: Loaded field to swim 'Race of Century'

LONDON — It's another "Race of the Century'' in the Olympic pool, and this time Michael Phelps isn't even in it.

The 200-meter freestyle final on Monday night features a loaded field, including Sun Yang of China, Park Tae-hwan of South Korea, American Ryan Lochte, Yannick Agnel of France and world recordholder Paul Biedermann of Germany.

Maybe Phelps knew what he was doing when he dropped the event after qualifying in it at the U.S. trials last month.

And Lochte figures to be the longest shot for gold in the race that gives him another shot at Agnel, who chased him down on the final lap to help France win the 4x100 freestyle relay on Sunday.

It could still be a big night for the Americans, with teenager Missy Franklin a medal threat in the 100 backstroke, Matt Grevers favored in the men's 100 back, and Rebecca Soni looking to upgrade the silver she won in 2008 to gold this time in the 100 breaststroke.

At the 2004 Athens Games, the 200 free was dubbed the "Race of the Century'' due to the presence of Australian Ian Thorpe, Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands and Phelps. They finished in that order.

Phelps won the race over Park four years ago in Beijing, one of his record eight golds. Now it's up to Lochte to try and keep the title in the U.S.

He failed to do it in a thrilling 4x100 free relay that was the opposite result from Beijing. Four years ago, Jason Lezak ran down Alain Bernard to preserve Phelps' bid to win a record eight gold medals in a single Olympics.

This time, the Americans built a commanding lead over the first three legs. Lochte dove in on the anchor leg with a half-body length lead over the field and was in position to add another gold to his dominating win in the 400 individual medley on Saturday.

But Agnel pulled even with Lochte with 25 meters to go, and the American couldn't hold off the Frenchman.

"I gave everything in the last 50 until he cracked,'' Agnel said. "In the last 10 meters, I saw that he was really cracking.''

Agnel touched in 3 minutes, 9.93 seconds, having gone exactly 1 second faster than Lochte over the last two laps. Lochte and the Americans settled for silver in 3:10.38, while favored Australia didn't even get a medal. Russia took the bronze in 3:11.41, beating the Aussies by 0.22.

"I was just really excited and I think I overswam the first 50 and it hurt me for the last 50,'' Lochte said. "But we were able to get a medal, so I guess that's good.''

He had little experience in the 100 free and had never competed on this relay at the Olympics. But coming off his big win on opening night, Lochte had the hot hand.

"The 100 free, I don't really swim it. I haven't swum it in a long time,'' he said. "You would think doing distance events, I wouldn't get tired. But sprinting takes a lot out of you.''

Despite predictions that records set during the high-tech suit era would be hard to break, world records are falling at the Aquatics Centre. American Dana Vollmer lowered the mark in the 100 butterfly, then Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa broke another in the 100 breaststroke - denying Japan's Kosuke Kitajima an Olympic threepeat. So far, three world records have been set in two days.

The French also had another reason to cheer.

Camille Muffat won the 400 free over American Allison Schmitt in a virtual match race.

Muffat touched about a half-stroke with an Olympic-record time of 4:01.45, while Schmitt was 0.32 seconds back in second. Defending champion Rebecca Adlington took the bronze in Britain's first swimming medal of the games.

Vollmer rallied over the final lap to win the fly in 55.98 seconds, beating the old mark of 56.06 set by Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom at the 2009 world championships.

"I'm on top of the world right now,'' said Vollmer, who qualified for Athens as a 16-year-old but missed out on the 2008 games.

Lu Ying earned silver in 56.87. Australia's Alicia Coutts grabbed the bronze in 56.94.

Kitajima was trying to become the first male swimmer to win the same race at three straight Olympics. But, like Phelps the night before in the 400 IM, the Japanese star didn't come close.

Van der Burgh was ahead at the turn and gained over the final lap to touch in 58.46, bettering the mark of 58.58 set by Aussie Brenton Rickard.

Australia's Christian Sprenger took the silver in 58.93, and American Brendan Hansen claimed bronze in 59.49.

"That's as fast as I can go right now, and I'm really pleased with the outcome,'' Hansen said.

Kitajima faded to fifth at 59.79. The night before, Phelps failed in his bid to win a third straight 400 IM title, finishing fourth while Lochte took gold.

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0016web.jpg District Champions!

    District champions ... Enough said!
    Claremore freshman forward Olivia Maulsby converted a game-winning header with 1:22 remaining to lead the No. 4-ranked Lady Zebras past No. 5 Skiatook, 2-1 Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference play at Lantow Field.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • DSC_0433web.jpg SOCCER: Bulldogs spoil ‘Senior Night’ for Zebras

    Claremore senior goalkeeper Sam Lillie made the most of his first and last varsity start Tuesday night against Skiatook on Senior Night at Lantow Field.
    For 40 minutes, Lillie was flawless in the goal, allowing only one goal and making several tenacious stops against the fiery Bulldogs.
    The second-half, however, told a different story as No. 3 Skiatook scored four goals and enjoyed a 5-0 win over the No. 15 Zebras.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Berryhill’s White strikes out 17, tosses no-hitter over No. 1 Verdigris

    Top-ranked Class 3A Verdigris got White-washed by 4A No.3 Berryhill on Tuesday night.
    In a battle of 2013 state champions, Chiefs’ ace Nick White — a future Oklahoma State pitcher —  fired a no-hitter with 17 strikeouts, igniting a 5-0 victory over the Cardinals.

    April 23, 2014

  • Stilwell’s Lea signs with RSU men's basketball

    Rogers State University men's basketball head coach Justin Barkley announced the addition of standout center Matt Lea for the 2014-15 season.

    April 23, 2014

  • HANSLOVANweb.jpg SOCCER: No. 2 Lady Cards roll past Oologah

    Verdigris senior forward Caitlyn Hanslovan tallied another ‘hat trick’ in her illustrious Lady Cardinals soccer career Tuesday night at Oologah.
    The three goals by Hanslovan soared the second-ranked Lady Cardinals past Oologah, 5-0 in non-conference play at Mustangs Stadium.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 5 Claremore HS tennis players earn all-conference

    The Claremore High School boys and girls varsity tennis programs had five players receive Metro Lakes all-conference recognition.

    April 23, 2014

  • SEC MEN'S BB: Johnson, Poythress returning to Kentucky

    Kentucky's frontcourt will bring back size and experience next season after freshman center Dakari Johnson and sophomore forward Alex Poythress announced they would return.

    April 23, 2014

  • NBA PLAYOFFS: Grizzlies look to keep home edge against Thunder

    The Grizzlies are happy to be back in Memphis, where they finished the regular season by winning a franchise-record 14 straight games.
    They brought home-court advantage with them.
    To guard Mike Conley, that ratchets up the pressure even more. It's time for the Grizzlies to protect the place they call the Grindhouse.

    April 23, 2014

  • NBA PLAYOFFS: Warriors, Clippers to meet in Oakland for Game 3

    Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson sat on the scorer's table at Oracle Arena on Wednesday morning. He gazed around the building and tried to envision what it will look and sound like when the Warriors host the Los Angeles Clippers for Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Thursday night.

    April 23, 2014

  • Arkansas' Beeks among SEC pitchers having banner season

    Now more than ever, the key to success in the Southeastern Conference is pitching.
    The league has the lowest ERA in the country, and aces abound as postseason play approaches next month.
    LSU's Aaron Nola (7-1, 0.88 ERA), Arkansas' Jalen Beeks (5-3, 1.49) and Mississippi's Chris Ellis (5-0, 1.72) are among those dominating almost every time they take the mound.

    April 23, 2014