LONDON — Nathan Adrian took out the Missile by a fingertip. Then Allison Schmitt dealt more heartache to the team from Down Under.
Adrian, a 23-year-old largely overshadowed by American stars such as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, made a name for himself by winning the men's 100-meter freestyle Wednesday. He lunged to the wall to edge James "the Missile" Magnussen by one-hundredth of a second and again deny Australia its first individual swimming gold of the Games.
Adrian pounded the water, then put his hands over his eyes while dangling over the lane rope. Magnussen hung at the end of the pool, staring straight ahead at the wall in disbelief.
"It's not who swims the fastest time this year," said Adrian, a not-so-subtle dig at Magnussen posting the best time ever in a textile suit back in March. "It's who can get their hands on the wall first here tonight."
The Aussies took another bitter defeat in the final event of the evening, again to their American rivals as Schmitt chased down Alicia Coutts for gold in the 800 freestyle relay.
Schmitt dived in the water about a half-second behind but passed Coutts on their first return lap, and the Americans won going away in 7 minutes, 42.92 seconds. The Australians settled for another silver in 7:44.41, while France took the bronze.
Schmitt is turning into one of the biggest American stars of the Games, picking up her second gold to go along with a silver and a bronze. Missy Franklin, 17, also claimed her second gold swimming the leadoff leg, and Dana Vollmer now has two golds in London. Shannon Vreeland rounded out the gold medal-winning quartet.
Hungary's Daniel Gyurta and the United States' Rebecca Soni both set world records in the 200 breaststroke. The Hungarian won gold, while Soni set her mark in a semifinal heat, further proof that it's still possible to go fast without the now-banned bodysuits. Five records have fallen over the first five days of the Olympics.
One night after becoming the most decorated Olympian with his 19th medal, Phelps had a relatively light day, swimming the prelims and semifinals of the 200 individual medley and advancing to the final, where he will meet Lochte tonight. He is the two-time defending champion.
Lochte, the former Gator, also swam two rounds of the 200 backstroke to advance to tonight's final.