There’s always something especially enjoyable about the final day of a swimming competition, the crowd is a little bit more vocal as more and more swimmers are getting out to support their teammates. In the Olympics it’s even more crazy as the swimmers know this is the final competitive obligation before they can really let loose and enjoy the second week of the meet. In the final four events of the meet the fans were treated to the conclusion of one of the more memorable Olympics stories as the Michael Phelps era came to a close with the last event of the night.
WOMEN’S 50m FREESTYLE
In the women’s edition of the blink and you’ll miss it, splash & dash, the Dutch swimmers had a race to remember. Fresh off a gold in the 100 freestyle, Ranomi Kromowidjojo claimed her second gold and another Olympic record finishing in 24.05 seconds. Coming in second was Belarus swimmer Aliaksandra Herasimenia, who finished second in the 100 was forced to settle for second behind Kromowidjojo again being beaten out by 0.23 seconds. Rounding out the medals was another Dutch swimmer Marleen Veldhuis to cap a very successful race for the Dutch.
MEN’S 1500m FREESTYLE
For so long this race was dominated by Australia swimmers, first it was Kieran Perkins then Grant Hackett, it seemed like Australia would never lose this race but as we all know in sports, nothing is permanent. China’s Sun Yang is the new man to beat in this race having set the record at last year’s world championships, beating Hackett’s 10 year old mark by half a second. In this race he managed to top his own mark taking out the gold medal to give China another victory. His time of 14:31.02 was over three seconds better than his previous mark and well clear of second placed Canadian Ryan Cochrane who was caught up in a tense battle with Tunisian swimmer Oussama Mellouli being touched out by just over half a second.
WOMEN’S 4x100m MEDLEY RELAY
The women’s swimming program closed with the medley relay where the USA once again won the gold and managed to break the world record in the process. Teen star Missy Franklin managed to win her fourth gold medal of the competition and her fifth medal overall. The team finished two seconds ahead of silver medallists Australia who were swimming for some sort of pride after having their egos severely dented during the games. They in turn comfortably beat the Japanese team out for the silver medal by a second and a half.
MEN’S 4x100m MEDLEY RELAY
Even though the last race of the men’s program is technically a team event, this was all about the one man trying to finish his swimming career on the best note possible. After three Olympics, twenty-one medals (seventeen gold) and several world records it was time for his final race. Swimming the butterfly leg of the race, Phelps did his part for the USA team as they cruised to a nearly two second win over the rest of the field and Phelps finished his career with an eighteenth gold medal, a mark that will be very hard for anyone to beat. The race for second was very close between Australia and Japan as anchor leg swimmer James Magnussen pushed the Japanese team all the way to the end but ultimately fell short as they claimed bronze.
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