As he exited the pool, Tyler Clary gave a frustrated shrug to the crowd. He is the third fastest 400 IMer in the world but he won't compete for a medal. The greatest swimmer of all time decided to drop into his event and he didn't even win. That title went to Ryan Lochte, who dispatched Michael Phelps effortlessly, easing up dramatically at the finish and making a 4:07 look the easiest it has ever looked.
Where once Phelps used to be able to eliminate all his competition within the first half of the race, he now is at best even with Lochte without the breaststroke to contend.
But enough about them. There were better swims to be had. Dana Vollmer summarily broke the American record. Despite her slender frame, she looks like she is leveraging twice the strength of her competitors on every pull.
Elizabeth Beisel showed world best form in the 400 IM. Her swim stands in contrast to her meteoric rise four years ago. She swims with professional precision now. Beisel swam a middle of the pack fly, stormed past the field on backstroke, then held off a world class breaststroker in Leverenz on the third hundred. Unlike Lochte she raced hard throughout, although a closer race could likely take her to a higher level.
The rest was far less impressive. The top two times in the men's 400 free was slow enough that two Brits, or two Danes for that matter, could have locked the Americans out. Despite some breakout performances in the men's 100 breaststroke, that event also lags the world standard. Perhaps Hansen has more in the tank- we'll see tomorrow.
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