Facts going into the race:
Impact of morning finals - what it took to qualify for semis
Notes from the Beijing race:
The USA has now claimed seven gold, seven silver and four bronze medals since 1968. Ryan Lochte (USA) ensured that teammate Aaron Peirsol did not match East German Roland Matthes's double double of backstroke victories by taking down the world record in the 200m backstroke in 1:53.94. The first sub-1:54 effort helped Lochte reclaim the world record for his own, Peirsol having joined him on a 1:54.32 at US trials in Omaha on July 4. Peirsol took silver in 1:54.33, the bronze going to Arkady Vyatchanin (RUS) in 1:54.93. The Russian, who had held the continental standard at 1:55.44, raced in lane 8 on the outside, and inside world record pace at 50m (26.90), 100m (55.34), 150m (1:24.83) before succumbing to the Americans on the way home. "I knew that it was going to be a race," said Peirsol, "and I guess when I touched the wall I thought I had given it everything I had. I can't ask for anything more in terms of what I put in. The sport we are in is about racing and anyone can win on any given day. Today was no exception, I went out and raced, gave it my all." Five backstroke medals at three Olympic Games, three gold, two silvers. Just shy of the four gold and one bronze for Matthes. Lochte was the American who stopped an America surpassing an East German in the league of greatest Olympic backstroke specialist, and then he returned to the water in the medley final and put in an extraordinary performance, taking bronze behind Michael Phelps and Laszlo Cseh. Phelps said of Lochte: "That's an incredible day for him. I'm glad to see him get his first gold. It's a cool moment. I thought he had it in him." Lochte said: "I can't even put it into words. It's my first Olympic individual gold medal. I touched the wall and was like 'thank you, finally!'." Peirsol said: "I gave it my all. I was proud of how hard I tried - no regrets."
Impact on the all-time top 10:
All-time top 10, end 2007:
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
The USA has now claimed seven gold, seven silver and four bronze medals since 1968. Ryan Lochte (USA) ensured that teammate Aaron Peirsol did not match East German Roland Matthes's double double of backstroke victories by taking down the world record in the 200m backstroke in 1:53.94. Peirsol's tally is tremendous: five backstroke medals at three Olympic Games, three gold, two silvers. Americans have won half of all gold medals, and almost half of all medals since in the 13 finals contested in 1900 and then since 1964. The USA has claimed seven gold, seven silver and four bronze medals. Matthes (GDR) alone is the second most successful 'nation' with the two gold medals won in 1968 and 1972, when he also won the 100m. He remains the only man ever to win the double twice and is one of only three men to win the Olympic final in a world record, his 2:02.82 in Munich, 1972, registered as equal to his hand-held record of 2:02.8 before the advent of electronic timing to a hundredth of a second. The first sub-2-minute final was led by Krazelburg at Sydney 2000, that race remaining unique in Olympic history: eighth place at Athens 2004 was 0.06sec over 2 minutes. Just 13 nations have placed a swimmer on the podium since 1968. Peirsol was the first to break the 1:55 mark in Olympic waters.