|From left, Dana Vollmer, Rebecca Soni and Missy Franklin celebrate as they win record-setting gold. (US Presswire)|
They came, they swam, they dominated.
The United States women's swimming conglomerate exits London with gold medals in eight events, that tally finished off in the ultimate event on Saturday: the 4x100 medley.
Missy Franklin (backstroke), Rebecca Soni (breaststroke), Dana Vollmer (butterfly) and Allison Schmitt (freestyle) swam the United States to a world record-setting 3:52.05 finish, cruising to the top of the podium in the process. The Australian quartet, two-time defending gold medal champs in the 4x100 women's medley, took second (3:54.02). Japan jockeyed for the bronze, touching in 3:55.73, beating out the Russians by .30 seconds.
It was indisputably American's superteam of female swimmers, and any other result would've been a surprise because the aforementioned foursome had already dominated so impressively at these Games. Consider, between the four girls, there are now 12 gold medals. Franklin alone has hauled in four golds in London. She led off the medley by giving America a .49-second lead ahead of Japan and .51 lead on the Aussies.
Soni, the two-time gold medal winner in the breast, took the second leg and increased the United States' lead to .79-second son Russia and 1.63 ticks ahead of Japan halfway through. And this is when you knew it had to be gravy for the U.S. When Vollmer, who won gold and set a new world record in the 100-fly on Sunday, hopped in the pool and essentially floored it. By the final 30 meters of Vollmer's leg, the U.S. was well in ahead, a. 2.28 margin on Australia and more than three seconds ahead of Japan.
From there, it was all Schmitt, the golden girl in the individual freestyle earlier at these Games. She was able to casually-but-quickly paddle her way back to her teammates, who were all smiles and hugs once she touched, gold was confirmed, and the girls were out of the water.
The world record time by the U.S. means it's the fifth straight Olympics that the women's 4x100 has seen a new global mark set. Eventually, some group is going to come short of the shatter, right? We'll have to wait another four years to find out.