LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Ryan Lochte of the United States looks on after he competed in heat five of the Men's 400m Individual Medley on Day One of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 28, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Ryan Lochte's dream of only gold in the 2012 Olympics was dashed on Sunday. That's okay: He got some silver that goes better with his grills. And Florida's star wasn't the only swimmer making waves in the pool.
#Jeah, Subway share silver
Lochte's selection as the anchor leg in the men's 4 x 100 freestyle relay looked like a surprise and an attempt to bring in a ringer for the U.S. team. After all, Lochte is still likely going to be the most decorated swimmer at these Olympics, and maybe the fastest, too, and he's been part of very successful relay teams before.
But it didn't work out on Sunday.
France's Yannick Agnel swam his final leg of the relay in a blistering 46.74 seconds, one of the fastest splits in the event's history, and beat Lochte (47.74) by a full second to pass him and claim gold for France and relegate the U.S. to silver. The event played out like a mirror image of the memorable 2008 race in Beijing, when Jason Lezak swam an unbelievable 46.06-second anchor leg, the fastest 100 meters of swimming in human history, to edge Alain Bernard of France.
Unfortunately for Lochte, he wasn't all that close to Lezak on this day — and fortunately for scribes the world over, Michael Phelps' phenomenal performance in the second leg threw a twist in the narrative of these games. Phelps swam his 100 meters in a swift 47.15, the best split the U.S. got in the final, restored a bit of the luster he lost after a disappointing fourth in the 400 individual medley on Saturday, and earned his first Olympic silver medal ever.
Lochte probably wasn't expected to match Phelps, or even come from behind to win; my guess is that Gregg Troy, the Florida swimming and diving coach who is also serving as the coach of the Olympic team, thought that Lochte would be a lock to hold onto a lead in the final, despite having swam the 200 meters freestyle twice on the day, and once just 90 minutes before the 4 x 100 final. Lochte's teammates gave him a lead of about half a second for that final leg, but he couldn't hold it, in part because his very good (anything sub-48 seconds in a 100 freestyle is veritably flying) couldn't match France's great.
That happens, and Lochte, second to Phelps' great on so many other occasions, probably isn't going to be too broken up about it. But dominating the 200 meters freestyle final, his only race on Monday, would be a good way of proving that he can bounce back.
Spofforth qualifies for final
A slew of other Gators hit the pool on Sunday looking to qualify for finals. Only Gemma Spofforth did.
Spofforth, a 2010 UF graduate and British swimmer, qualified third for the women's 100 meters backstroke final, swimming her semifinal heat in 59.70 seconds. That was significantly back of American Missy Franklin (59.12), the gold medal favorite in the event, but Spofforth is the world record-holder (58.12), and finished .04 seconds out of a medal in it in Beijing. She'll be ready to swim like a demon in Monday's final.
For the Cayman Islands' Brett Fraser, who made the semifinals of the men's 200 meters freestyle but failed to qualify for the finals, Monday will be a day of rest before qualifying for the 100 meters freestyle on Tuesday.
Former Gators Dana Vollmer and Darian Townsend each had their own different sorts of days in the pool. Vollmer, who transferred from Florida to Cal, set a new world record in the 100 meters butterfly, snagging the U.S.'s third gold medal of the 2012 Olympics, and second in the pool. Townsend, who left UF for Arizona, was part of the South African team that finished fifth in the final of the 4 x 100 relay.
Incoming freshman Sinead Russell of Canada joined Spofforth in the semis of the 100 meters backstroke, but failed to advance to the final.
Bradley Ally, Melani Costa-Schmid, Shaune Fraser, and Omar Pinzon all swam in heats and failed to advance to semifinals on Sunday. GatorZone has full results and times for all the Gators (and former Gators) swimming on Sunday.
Abby Wambach's assailant may get ban
After Lady Andrade's punch to Abby Wambach's eye on Saturday, Wambach was justifiably angry. That anger may spur FIFA to expel Andrade from the Olympics.
FIFA will review the play, and, as the governing body in charge of Olympic soccer — because what would an Olympic soccer tournament be without two of the most corrupt institutions on Earth overseeing it? — has the authority to ban Andrade from play for the rest of the tournament. Considering that Colombia's stay may last all of one more day, that's not a major loss for either her team or Andrade, but there's little room for interpretation of the play as anything other than worthy of a straight red on replay, and a ban would just accomplish that one game later.
And, remember, FIFA: Abby sees you.
Gator Nation Medal Count, Day 2
Total Medals: 3 (Ryan Lochte: 1 gold, 1 silver; Elizabeth Beisel 1 silver)
Gold Medals: 1 (Lochte, men's 400 meters IM)
Silver Medals: 2 (Lochte, men's 4 x 100 meters relay; Beisel, women's 400 meters IM)
Bronze Medals: 0
Percentage of U.S. Gold Medals, Excluding Transfers: 33 percent (1 of 3)
Percentage of U.S. Gold Medals, Including Transfers: 66 percent (2 of 3)
Percentage of U.S. Medals, Excluding Transfers: 27.2 percent (3 of 11)
Percentage of U.S. Medals, Including Transfers: 36.4 percent (4 of 11)
If the University of Florida were its own country, it would currently be alone in ninth in the medal rankings, and tied for eighth in the overall Olympic medal count. The former stat ranks teams with better medals first; the latter only includes total medals.
By the former count — which is the one I would tend toward, because of how news outlets will list medal counts — Florida's medal haul is behind only China, the United States, Italy, Japan, France, Russia, and North Korea.
And, last, I'm not including transfers (Vollmer, Townsend, and Clark Burckle) when I'm tweeting about things, but I will include future Gator Russell. And I'll do the math for both in this post every day, because the math isn't that hard.