Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 8/3/12

With the swimming competition entering its final stages, it’s time to start looking back at who has impressed during the first week of the Olympics. As always, fans get to see the best young talent in the world breaking through on the biggest stage in the world. This year the main stories have come from the women’s events with youngsters dominating the headlines, the most controversial of which has been 16 year old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen who won gold in the Individual Medley races in blistering times. Young American superstar Missy Franklin meanwhile has done phenomenally for the number of races she has participated in winning a couple of gold medals to go with it. Overall it has been a meet dominated by the two powerhouse countries of world swimming, the USA and China. Day six was a day that the Americans can be proud of as they won three of the four gold medals on offer.


In the evening’s first final there were a number of records broken in an incredibly quick race (by breaststroke standards at least). Winning the bronze medal was Russian Iulia Efimova in 2:20.92 which managed to break the European record time. She was beaten out for the silver by 0.2 seconds by Satomi Suzuki from Japan whose time was good enough to tie the Asian record for the race. While both women swam impressive races, neither one was able to match the performance of America’s Rebecca Soni who won the race by over a second in a world record time of 2:19.59 to claim another gold for her country.


In this race Ryan Lochte was considered to be a legitimate shot to win gold here and managed to get a start from lane 5 next to his countryman Tyler Clary. Unfortunately for Lochte he was only able to get bronze, missing out on the gold by 0.53 seconds. Japanese swimmer Ryosuke Irie, bronze medallist in the 100 backstroke managed to go one position better in the longer distance claiming the silver medal. Tyler Clary backed up his impressive qualification performance by breaking the Olympic record time in his path to the gold medal.


It only took six days but for the first time in this meet, the 2008 gold medallist successfully defended their title from four years ago as Michael Phelps claimed his first individual gold medal of the competition and his 20th overall Olympic medal. While it wasn’t as dominating as what fans remember from Beijing Phelps will be very happy with his successful race. Barely half an hour after competing in the backstroke and winning bronze, Ryan Lochte backed up to claim the silver medal in this race. He was competitive in this race and easily managed to beat out the rest of the field finishing nearly a second and a half ahead of bronze medallist Laszlo Cseh of Hungary.


In the final race of the night, American fans were hoping their teen starlet Missy Franklin could complete a perfect four for four gold medals on the night. They were left wanting however as Franklin finished fifth. Australian Melanie Schlanger had hopes of finishing in the medals after an impressive anchor leg in the relay however she was beaten out for the bronze by China’s Yi Tang. Belarus’s Aliaksandra Herasimenia beat both of those two by 0.06 and 0.09 to win the silver medal while the gold medal was won by Dutch swimmer Ranomi Kromowidjojo in a time of 53.00 which was an Olympic record.

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