Finale to the Swimming at the London Olympics | By Sasha Sproule

The seven days of swimming events at London 2012 have brought plenty of media coverage, excitement, triumphs and upsets. Pandas varsity swimmer Sasha Sproule brings you her final update of the events in London, sharing all that you need to know about the pool!

An exciting end to the swimming events in London! On day five, the Canadian team was still looking good, right after Brent Hayden won a bronze medal in the 100 meter freestyle, the first medal for Canada in the pool. Martha McCabe qualified for the final in the 200 meter breaststroke; she went into the final in an outside lane but ended up in 5th with a time of 2:23.16 having a great swim. Last year she was ranked third in this event at the world championships with a time of 2:24.81 so she had a big improvement. Rebecca Soni of the United States took gold breaking the world record in the event that was previously set by Canadian Annamay Pierse. Soni was the first female swimmer to break the 2:20.00 mark in the 200 meter breaststroke.

Next up in the pool on day five was the men’s 200 meter backstroke. Ryan Lochte was the favorite to win in this event but ended up in third position. His teammate Tyler Clary took the gold and Ryosuke Irie of Japan took the silver. It was a really exciting race to watch, because Lochte was in contention until the last 50 meters of the race. Just minutes after the 200 meter backstroke, the 200 meter individual medley was set to go. Lochte, having a tough double was also in the 200 IM, going head to head against Michael Phelps once again. As exciting as all the duels in the pool between Phelps and Lochte seem to be, this was no exception! There was only 0.63 of a second separating the two swimmers. Phelps took the gold in a time of 1:54.27 and Lochte finishing in second. You could tell by watching the race that Phelps really wanted the win: he was in the lead from start to finish.

Day six in the pool was also an exciting one. Ryan Cochrane of Victoria, BC qualified in second position for the 1500 meter freestyle in the preliminaries and would race for the medals on day seven. The first final of the night was the women’s 200 meter backstroke with Canadian Sinead Russell. She went out after the race on the first 50 meters and then fell behind to eighth position after that, but it was still a great swim and a great Olympic debut. Missy Franklin of the United States took the gold with a world record time and her teammate Elizabeth Beisel took the bronze.

South Africa’s Chad Le Clos, taken by Charles McCain on Flickr.

The 100 meter butterfly was next up in the pool and Michael Phelps tried to do what few are able to do in swimming- win back-to-back Olympic gold. He managed to come out on top in a very close race. There was a tie for second between South African swimmer Chad le Clos and Russian swimmer Evgeny Korotyshkin. Milorad Cavic of Serbia, who was second to Phelps in the unbelievable 100 fly in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, ended up in fourth. If you missed the race in 2008, it is definitely one worth looking for on Youtube, as the finish is unbelievable.

On the final day of competition Canada got its second medal of the games in the pool. Ryan Cochrane claimed the silver medal in the mile (1500 meter freestyle). Yang Sun of China claimed the gold in the mile in a world record time.

After seven long days of competition, the meet is over. This was one of Canada’s best Olympic appearances in recent history, claiming both one silver and one bronze. The Canadian team, having made lots of finals and gaining some medals, is a great set up for an even better performance in 2016.

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