If there's one golden law of men's swimming, it's this: winning three straight ultimate medals in individual competition is all but impossible.
Two-time defending gold medal champ in the 200-meter breaststroke Kosuke Kitajima didn't even medal during Wednesday's final at the London Aquatics center. More shocking? Kitajima held the lead and the world record pace halfway through the race.
Instead, it was 2004 silver medal winner Daniel Gyurta of Hungary who set the new world mark, touching the wall in 2:07.28. Gyurta wasn't even in the medaling in this event in 2008. It's so rare for a swimmer to come back after eight years, having never won gold in an event, and manage to improve his performance. Big-time swim; surprising, even.
Great Britain's Michael Jamieson took silver (2:07.43), and Kitajima's teammate, Ryo Tateishi, brought in the bronze with a 2:08.29 swim. Kitajima's fourth-place finish came in 2:08.34.
The '08 silver winner, Brenton Rickard of Australia, took seventh. Americans Scott Weltz (2:09.02) and Clark Burckle (2:09.25) took fifth and sixth, respectively. That result isn't necessarily surprising, considering men's 200-meter breaststroke is not normally an American-dominated event. The U.S. didn't medal, or finish higher than sixth, at Beijing, and only took bronze eight years ago.