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Rio 2016 : Finals Day 7 – Ledecky is Queen, Schooling makes history!

by ZwemZa on August 13th, 2016
Katie Ledecky (google)

Katie Ledecky (google)

The seventh World Record came at Day 7 of the swimming competition at these Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In an outstanding solitary effort in the women’s 800m free, Katie Ledecky (USA) largely improved her own global mark, touching for gold in 8:04.79, almost two seconds faster than the time (8:06.68) she recorded in January 2016. With this victory, the 19-year-old earns her fifth medal and fourth gold here in Rio, after the titles in the 200m, 400m and 4x200m free, and the silver in the 4x100m free. This victory also continues her winning strike in individual events since London 2012, and including the 2013 and 2015 FINA World Championships.

In a race without opposition for Ledecky, the silver went to Jazz Carlin (GBR) in (a distant) 8:16.17, while Boglarka Kapas (HUN) got the bronze in 8:16.37. The British swimmer had been third at the 2015 Worlds, while the Magyar competitor was sixth in the Olympic final four years ago. Lotte Friis, the 2009 world champion and silver medallist in 2011 and 2013 was only seventh, while Mireia Belmonte (ESP), runner-up in London, finished in fourth.

In the other great race of the day, 21-year-old Joseph Schooling, one of the 2015 revelations – he was third at FINA’s showcase in Kazan -, earned the first gold medal-ever for his country Singapore in the history of the Olympic Games! In an outstanding achievement, Schooling, the fastest of the semis, controlled very well the pace of the race, and touched in 50.39, a new Olympic record. The previous best mark (50.58) of the Games had been established by Michael Phelps (USA) in Beijing 2008, when he beat Serbian Milorad Cavic by the minimum difference of 0.01. Speaking about Phelps, he was aiming at his fourth consecutive Olympic title in this event, but had this time to content with silver (his 27th medal at Olympics), together with Chad Le Clos (RSA) and Laszlo Cseh (HUN), all in 51.14. This constitutes also a new landmark in the history of the Games, as never before had a swimming race concluded with three silver medallists! The three men (eternal rivals in this event), hand in hand, before climbing to the second march of the podium will certainly be one the images to retain from these Olympics in Rio.

In another thrilling race, the women’s 200m backstroke, Maya Dirado (USA) gave everything she had in the last 10m to take the Olympic title in 2:05.99, beating Katinka Hosszu (HUN), who had controlled the final until the very last metres. The Magyar star got the silver in 2:06.05, while the bronze went to Hilary Caldwell (CAN) in 2:07.54. Dirado had already a gold in Rio, with her 4x200m free relay triumph, while Hosszu was looking for her fourth triumph, after the titles in the 200m and 400m IM, and the 100m backstroke.

Finally, in the men’s 50m free, 2012 Olympic champion and 2015 gold medallist at the Worlds, Florent Manaudou (FRA), could not revalidate his title, losing to Anthony Ervin (USA), winner in 21.40. The French star earned silver in 21.41, while the bronze went to Nathan Adrian (USA) in 21.49. This is a phenomenal return from Ervin, 35, who had won the same event at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney! 16 years later, he comes back to the top of the world hierarchy, beating Manaudou, nine years younger. Adrian was the 2012 Olympic champion in the 100m free.

In the only semi-final of the evening, Pernille Blume (DEN) confirmed her good shape from the heats, and was once more the fastest of the semis, this time in 24.28. The sisters Campbell will also swim in the decisive race (Cate was third and Bronte concluded in fifth), while Therese Alshammar (SWE) will not compete in the final (she was 15th): at almost 39, this is her sixth participation in the Olympics, where she won three medals in Sydney 2000.


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