Lochte returns to the mountaintop, Dwyer peaks
Ryan Lochte's final 100 meters of the 4 x 100 meters freestyle relay was a disappointment on Sunday. He didn't give his teammates a chance to let him down on Tuesday — and neither did Conor Dwyer.
The two Gators blitzed to the lead in the 4 x 200 meters freestyle relay in 1:45.15 and 1:45.23, respectively, and led a team that was sub-1.45.40 in all four splits to an easy victory over France in the event, which got Michael Phelps his record-breaking 19th Olympic medal.
Lochte's 200 meters wasn't the fastest by a U.S. swimmer (Phelps anchored in 1:44.05), but it was a no-doubt victory for the Americans as soon as Dwyer built on that lead. Lochte led by 0.98 seconds after his leg, and Dwyer extended the lead by another 1:15 to 2:13 with his, leaving plenty of room for Ricky Berens and Phelps to screw up and still win comfortably. Neither did, though France's Yannick Agnel swam a ridiculous 1:43.24 while trying to erase a massive lead — Phelps could have swam his anchor leg in 1:47 flat and still won by more than a tenth of a second — and the U.S. got a breezy gold medal in an event it was heavily favored in.
That's a nice thing for Lochte, who got his fifth gold medal and restored a bit of order to his Olympics with the win, but it's awesome for Dwyer, who got his first Olympic medal with maybe his best swim ever. Dwyer's personal record in the 200 free (from the blocks) prior to these Olympics was 1:46.64; he smashed that with a 1:45.52 anchor split in qualifying for the relay, the fastest leg anyone swam in qualifying. And then he bested that by nearly another quarter second on Tuesday.
So, yeah, I'm happy for Lochte, who got on track like I hoped he would. But I'm happier for Dwyer, who came through in his best chance at a medal.
Also, both of them made their moms happy, which is adorable.
Mixed results for other swimming Gators
Gemma Spofforth missed her chance to take the podium for Great Britain; Jemma Lowe still has hers. Lowe was fifth in her semifinal heat in the women's 200 meter butterfly, and will swim for a medal on Tuesday.
South Africans Darian Townsend (a transfer from Florida) and Sebastian Rousseau (a current Gator) went first and second for the RSA team that finished seventh in the men's 4 x 200 relay. To give you a sense of just how fast Lochte and Dwyer were: Townsend started in 1:47.25, and Rousseau followed with 1:47.36. Swap those times out for Lochte's and Dwyer's, and the U.S. loses by more than a second.
Shaune and Brett Fraser both swam for the Cayman Islands in the first semifinal of the men's 100 meters freestyle. They came in seventh and eighth in that semi and did not advance to the final.
Clark Burckle, a Florida transfer who ended up at Arizona, qualified sixth for the 200 meters breaststroke. He's got a solid shot at a medal, but we're not counting him in our medal tabulation.
Wambach scores, rides her bicycle
Abby Wambach scored after getting a nifty assist from Alex Morgan in the first half of the U.S. women's national team's 1-0 win over North Korea on Tuesday, but the goal itself wasn't all that special. No, the special thing about Wambach's day was the bicycle kick goal she converted before it.
Wambach was, of course, offsides on the play. But it's still a cool shot.
Wambach has scored in each of the U.S.'s three wins so far, and is second to Canada's Melissa Tancredi in the goal table. But of the 12 teams in the field, half have three or fewer goals.
Raymond survives scare
Lisa Raymond, part of the top-seeded U.S. women's doubles team and the U.S.'s mixed doubles team, is likely to win a medal of some sort in London. Getting past a game Poland team in her 2012 Olympics debut — Raymond and Liezel Huber defeated Polish sisters Agniezska and Urzsula Radwanska, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the round of 16 — is a good start to that campaign. Raymond will play in both women's doubles (against Russia) and mixed doubles (against Italy with Mike Bryan on Wednesday.
Gator Nation Medal Count, Day 4
Total Medals: 4 (Ryan Lochte: 2 gold, 1 silver; Elizabeth Beisel 1 silver)
Total Medals For Individual Gators: 5 (Ryan Lochte: 2 gold, 1 silver; Conor Dwyer: 1 gold; Elizabeth Beisel 1 silver)
Gold Medals: 2 (Lochte, men's 400 meters IM and men's 4 x 200 meters relay)
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: 22.2 percent (2 of 9)
Percentage of U.S. Gold Medals, Including Transfers: 33 percent (3 of 9)
Percentage of U.S. Medals, Excluding Transfers: 17.4 percent (4 of 23)
Percentage of U.S. Medals, Including Transfers: 21.8 percent (5 of 23)
For the purposes of our medal count, I'm counting 33 members of Olympic teams as Gators, by the same criteria as Only Gators. GatorZone counts Gators who transferred and finished their collegiate careers elsewhere. I'll calculate stats for both here.
If the University of Florida were its own country, it would currently be in 11th in the medal rankings, and tied for 11th in the overall Olympic medal count. The former stat ranks teams with better medals first; the latter only includes total medals.
Romania (five medals) moved ahead of UF today, but the Gator Nation still has a better medal tally than North Korea (three golds, one bronze), Brazil (three medals) and Great Britain (two silvers, two bronzes).
Lochte is also tied for the individual medal lead at the 2012 Olympics with Agnel. Both have two gold medals and one silver medal.