Dec 30, 2012, 2:54 PM EDT
After the American swim team won 31 medals (16 gold) at the London Olympics, 2012 could be called the year of the swimmer in the U.S. of A. Among that hardware haul were some extra special swims, courtesy of wide-eyed high school kids, grizzled veterans and everyone in between.
Here’s a list of five memorable swims in 2012, in no particular order.
Ryan Lochte, 400m IM, Olympic Trials
Lochte went on to win this race at the Olympics, but his victory over Michael Phelps at Trials might have been the better performance. The race occurred on the first night of finals at Trials, and it was the first time Lochte and Phelps would race each other at the meet. The CenturyLink Center was alive and had the atmosphere of an old-school heavyweight fight. Flames shot up from the deck as the two rivals – who happen to be good friends – made their way through all four strokes in the four-lap race. It was the most exciting race of the summer – including the Olympics. Lochte touched in 4:07.06, Phelps in 4:07.89. Phelps finished fourth in London.
Missy Franklin, 200m backstroke, Olympics
It wasn’t Franklin’s first medal in London, but it was probably her most memorable (at least individually). Franklin competed in six events at the Games – three individual races and all three relays. The 200m backstroke is her best event, which was obvious in London as she won the race in 2:04.06 seconds, a stunning three quarters of a second faster than the previous world record. The 17-year-old from Colorado became the first American woman to win Olympic gold in the race since 1972.
Nathan Adrian, 100m freestyle, Olympics
All we heard entering the men’s 100m freestyle was the name James Magnussen; he was the Australian sprinter who was supposed to dominate the field and win gold. Magnussen was the fastest swimmer heading into the final but Adrian, who was 23 at the time, spoiled Magnussen’s party in epic fashion. Adrian managed to out-touch the Aussie by .01 of a second – the closest possible margin in swimming. A disappointed Magnussen was left with the silver medal. “So many emotions,” Adrian said. “It was incredible.”
Katie Ledecky, 800m freestyle, Olympics
It’s not very often that 15 year olds make headlines at the Olympics. For a swimmer that age to beat the Olympic champion is even more rare. Ledecky did both, winning the 800m freestyle in London. The Maryland native qualified for the final as the No. 3 seed after clocking a time of 8:23.84. In the final, Ledecky went 8:14.63 and won by four seconds. 2008 Olympic champ Rebecca Adlington, a Brit who had almost the entire arena cheering for her, was almost six seconds slower in third. Ledecky’s performance was the second fastest 800m freestyle swim in history.
Michael Phelps, 4x100m medley relay, Olympics
This list would not be complete with Phelps, who ended his career on the final day of the swimming competition at the Olympics with a gold medal in the medley relay. He swam the third (butterfly) leg behind Matt Grevers and Brendan Hansen, and in front of Nathan Adrian. The squad finished two seconds shy of the world record, but that was not the point. Phelps put the finishing touches on a career that spanned four Olympics and which included 22 Olympic medals, more than anyone else in history. Nineteen of his medals are gold. Those are the types of numbers that will stand for a very long time.
Sep 4, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT
The U.S. will play Australia live on NBCSN and Live Extra on Saturday.
Sep 4, 2015, 3:53 PM EDT
If the U.S. qualifies for Rio, it can name three men to the roster over age 23.
Sep 4, 2015, 2:49 PM EDT
The upgrade would happen after the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Sep 4, 2015, 1:24 PM EDT
First, a pole vaulter. Now, a javelin thrower.
Sep 4, 2015, 1:06 PM EDT
The IOC called it an “emergency” fund.
Sep 4, 2015, 7:57 AM EDT
Merritt left the hospital less than a week after winning a bronze medal in Beijing.
Sep 3, 2015, 4:46 PM EDT
Canadian sprint sensation plans to compete collegiately in 2015-16.
Sep 3, 2015, 3:49 PM EDT
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, David Rudisha and Wayde van Niekerk were among the Beijing stars in Diamond League action.
Sep 3, 2015, 12:08 PM EDT
The course designer attached a camera to his helmet and traversed the dirt, rocks, going over a bridge and through a tunnel.
Sep 3, 2015, 11:38 AM EDT
The 2016 U.S. Olympic team is now at eight athletes across all sports.
Sep 2, 2015, 4:02 PM EDT
The four-time U.S. champion isn’t retiring yet.
Sep 2, 2015, 3:37 PM EDT
Some of the names most associated with Los Angeles professional sports teams are Olympians.
Sep 2, 2015, 11:27 AM EDT
One event includes 2015 World champions from three different events.
Sep 2, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT
“I can hardly imagine that it is possible given the schedule.”
Sep 2, 2015, 9:19 AM EDT
An African nation has never hosted an Olympics.
Sep 1, 2015, 5:11 PM EDT
Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome previously announced bids.
Sep 1, 2015, 1:51 PM EDT
Walsh Jennings and April Ross will have little to no wiggle room in Olympic qualifying next year.
Sep 1, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT
She could become the second oldest Olympic singles player since the sport returned to the Games in 1988.
Sep 1, 2015, 8:58 AM EDT
A competition will be held to pick a new logo.
Aug 31, 2015, 4:20 PM EDT
Olympic champions came through and potential future Olympic stars broke out.
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- Los Angeles’ ties to the Olympics 1
- Five events to watch at Zurich Diamond League 0
- Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid is official 1
- Top ten storylines from World Track and Field Championships 0
- USOC, Los Angeles agree to 2024 Olympic bid, reports say 1
- U.S. finishes World Championships with fewest medals since 2003 3
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- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (62)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)