Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

China gets two swim golds, two records

LONDON — On the first night of swimming, the big story was Michael Phelps failing to medal. But the biggest winner was China. Ye Shiwen, 16, set a world record in the women's 400-meter individual medley, and Sun Yang won the men's 400 freestyle in Olympic record time.

Also, Natalie Coughlin got a bronze medal as part of the U.S. 400 freestyle relay team, tying fellow swimmers Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson as the most decorated U.S. female Olympians in any sport. Australia captured gold in the relay with an Olympic record, and South Korea's Park Tae-hwan won silver in the men's 400, the 2008 gold medalist fortunate even to take part after initially being disqualified for a false start in the morning preliminaries.

Ye's winning time of 4 minutes, 28.43 seconds smashed the world record of 4:29.45 set by Stephanie Rice of Australia at the 2008 Olympics, and it was only the third mark to fall since high-tech body suits were banned at the end of 2009.

To show how much has changed since 2008, Rice could do no better than sixth Saturday. But it was still a surprise to see the ease with which Ye wrested command of the race from the favorite, American Elizabeth Beisel of Florida, in the closing freestyle leg. Beisel was second in 4:31.27, Li Xuanxu of China third.

Sun took gold in 3:40.14, just off the Olympic mark of 3:40.07 by Germany's Paul Biedermann in a rubberized suit three years ago. When it was done, Sun propped himself on the lane rope, pumping his fist and splashing the water. Peter Vanderkaay of the United States won the bronze.

Park was disqualified for a false start after leading his heat in the morning. However, South Korea filed a protest, which was rejected, then appealed to the sport's governing, which ruled in Park's favor after a video review.

Australia won the relay with an Olympic record of 3:33.15, rallying to pass the Americans and hold off the fast-charging Netherlands.

The Americans got off to a blistering start with Missy Franklin swimming leadoff under world-record pace. They were still ahead after Jessica Hardy went next. But the Australians rallied on the third 100 and held on at the end.

Coughlin, 29, swam in the morning prelims, then was reduced to the role of cheerleader in the evening as the Americans went with Franklin — set to swim seven races in all — Hardy, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt. Everyone who swims on a relay gets a medal, though.

"I was a little bit disappointed just because I tend to get better as the meet progresses," Coughlin said, "but I don't envy the coaches, what they had to go through this morning. They really weighed the decision, and I think they made a good one."

Coughlin, whose six medals in 2008 were the most by an American woman at one Olympics, didn't qualify for an individual event in London. She finished sixth in the 100 free at the Olympic trials to put herself in the relay mix.

U.S. women's coach Teri McKeever, who is also Coughlin's personal coach, considered each swimmer's split times and their relay exchanges in deciding to leave Coughlin out.

"As the head coach, I think I made the right decision," McKeever said. "As her coach, it was difficult."

China gets two swim golds, two records 07/28/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 28, 2012 11:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.