Archive for August 2nd, 2012

WATERCOOLER CHAT: OLYMPIC SWIMMING ACTION

OLYMPICS

It was more swimming action in the Men’s 200m Breast Stroke final.  In swimming, the breast stroke is regarded as the hardest form.  So much so that people have to specialize in it.  Michael Phelps does breast stroke, but it takes a special swimmer to do it for 200 meters.  The Americans had two representatives in the race: Scott Weltz and Clark Burckle, but all eyes were on Japan’s Kosuke Kitajima.  Kitajima is regarded as one of the best breaststrokers in the world, but when it comes to the Olympics he can’t seem to medal.  He has been to the last two Olympics and failed to medal in either.  This was essentially his last chance… and he wasn’t even favored.  That honor went to Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta.  The race started and Kitajima got out to a good start ahead of the pack, but down the stretch Gyurta pulled way in front, almost above world record pace.  In the end, Britain’s Michael Jamieson was on his tail, but Gyurta touched the wall first and pulled out the gold.  Tough break for Kitajima — he finished fourth, no medal.

And in the Women’s 200M Butterfly, USA’s Kathleen Hersey was looking for a medal with her father in the stands to cheer her on.  There was stiff competition, but Hersey thought that this was her year.  The race was close for a while, until China’s Jiao Liuyang pulled out to a healthy lead.  Gold was out of USA’s grasp, but Hersey fought back from 8th place (out of 8) to pull within medal contention.  It was a fierce push down the line with Hersey hoping she would have that extra ounce of strength to get that medal, but at the end, Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi reached her hand out just a little before Hersey’s and grabbed the bronze.  When Hersey looked up and saw she didn’t win… she immediately started crying.  All the work and fall just an inch short is truly sad.

Finally, it was one of the most electric events in swimming — the men’s 100m freestyle.  Essentially, this is the equivalent to the 100m spring — to decide the fastest swimmer in the world.  Just a burst of speed.  The favorite in this event was James Magnussen from Australia — also know as “The Missle”. They even did a profile on him right before the race.  Also in the race was Yannick Agnel (the hero from the relay who came back to beat USA’s Ryan Lockte).  We were set for a fantastic race.  Coming off the first 50m, Brazil’s Cesar Cielo had the lead, but then Magnusson came storming back to find himself in front.  Here’s the thing — everybody discounted USA’s Nathan Adrian, who found himself neck and neck with Magnusson in the final seconds.  And by one ONE HUNDREDTH of a second, Adrian put his hand out first and nabbed the gold.  A complete shocker!!!  Final times were Adrian:  47.52, Magnussen 47.53.  Wow!  The fastest swimmer in the world currently lives in the United States.

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