LONDON, England, July 31. THE figure at the center of much controversy after blasting the world-record in the women’s 400-meter IM, 16-year-old Ye Shiwen of China swept the IM events at the 2012 London Olympics with an Olympic record.With the win, Ye equaled Stephanie Rice’s IM sweep from 2008, and earned her second Olympic gold medal. She now has three international meet victories on her resume, after winning the 200 IM at the 2011 World Championships last summer.
Standing third heading into the final 50 meters, Ye blasted a 29.32 final split to win the event in 2:07.57. That performance cleared her Olympic record of 2:08.39 from the semifinal round, which had stood as the overall textile best as well. The time also bettered the Asian record of 2:08.32 set by Qi Hui in October of 2009, moving Ye to fourth all time in the event’s history. Ariana Kukors’ world record of 2:06.15 from the 2009 World Championships remained on the books.
The pundits have been out in full force either support or attacking Ye this week, some calling her a potential drug cheat due to China’s history. The controversy came to a boiling point, with the IOC even coming out in defense of the 16-year-old today.
Australia’s Alicia Coutts finished second in 2:08.15 to jump to fifth in the all time rankings. The silver is her third Olympic medal of the meet, one of each color. She won gold with the 400 free relay and took bronze in the 100 fly.
USA’s Caitlin Leverenz raced to bronze with a 2:08.95 on the back of a dominant breaststroke leg. That gave the U.S. its third bronze in four meets, which also included a silver from Amanda Beard in 2004. The medal is her first at any global meet. She did get regional bronze in both IMs at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships.
Defending champ Rice placed fourth in 2:09.55, while world-record holder Kukors took fifth in 2:09.83. Defending silver medalist Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe placed sixth in 2:11.13, while Great Britain’s Hannah Miley (2:11.29) and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (2:14.19) also swam in the finale.
LONDON, England, July 31. IMMEDIATE calls of doping after Ye Shiwen’s world-record performance in the women’s 400-meter IM have led to the International Olympic Committee to go public in defense of the 16-year-old at the 2012 London Olympics.Adams continued saying that the IOC can’t police speculation, but that it can police the sport.
“We need to get real here,” said International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams. “These are the world’s best athletes competing at the very highest level. We’ve seen all sorts of records broken already all over the place.”
“We can’t stop speculation. It is inevitably a sad result of the fact that there are people who dope and who cheat,” Adams said. “It’s very sad we can’t applaud a great performance. Let’s give the benefit of the doubt to the athletes.”
LONDON, England, July 30. AFTER setting the world record in the women’s 400-meter IM on the first night, China’s Ye Shiwen looks like a lock to sweep the IM events after posting an Olympic record in the 200-meter IM semis at the 2012 London Olympics.Australia’s Alicia Coutts, who placed third in the women’s 100 fly last night even after getting suck during the race, is gunning for her third Olympic medal of the meet after posting a second-seeded 2:09.83. She also helped the Aussies to a win in the 400 free relay on the first night. Coutts would love to join defending Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Rice and Shane Gould (1972) as the only Australians to win this event since it began in 1968.
Ye, 16, threw down a 30.59 final 50 meters to set an Olympic record and textile best in the shorter distance medley with a 2:08.39. That swim bested Stephanie Rice’s Olympic record of 2:08.45 set in her 2008 triumph. It also bested Ye’s overall textile best of 2:08.90 clocked both at the 2011 World Championships and in prelims this meet. Her time tonight pushed her to fifth all time, and is just off Qi Hui’s Asian record of 2:08.32 from the techsuit era. The question remains if she can track down the world record of Ariana Kukors, who blasted a 2:06.15 in the event at the 2009 World Championships during the heyday of the techsuit era.
Team USA fielded the best two spots with Caitlin Leverenz (2:10.06) and Kukors (2:10.08) qualifying third and fourth. Leverenz is vying for her first worldwide international medal after taking sixth in the 400 IM earlier this week and fifth and eighth in the 200 IM and 400 IM, respectively, in 2011. She did earn bronze at the more regional Pan Pacific Championships in both the IMs in 2010.
Kukors, the world-record holder, is vying for her first Olympic medal of any kind. She won this event at the 2009 World Championships with her world record, and took third in 2011. Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu qualified fifth in 2:10.74, while defending champ Rice posted a sixth-seeded 2:10.80. Rice is vying to join Yana Klochkova as two-time winners of the event after topping the 2008 meet.
Great Britain’s Hannah Miley finished seventh in 2:10.89, while defending silver medalist Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe earned the last transfer spot with a 2:10.93 for eighth. Coventry has won a medal in this event in the past two Olympics. First taking bronze in 2004, then silver in 2008.
LONDON, England, July 30. CHINA’s Ye Shiwen, who blasted the world record in the women’s 400 IM on the first night, is looking for an IM sweep after blistering the field in the women’s 200-meter IM this morning at the 2012 London Olympics.“I’m quite satisfied and I was quite surprised (with the result),” Ye said. “There’s absolutely no problem with the doping [when asked about doping claims]. The Chinese team has always had a firm policy about anti-doping.”
Ye turned in a sterling time of 2:08.90, matching her textile best posted at the 2011 World Championships. She posted splits of 28.16, 1:00.54, 1:38.17, 2:08.90, closing in 30.73 on the final freestyle leg. That effort matched her 10th-best time of all time, and puts her in position to join the likes of Stephanie Rice and Yana Klochkova as IM sweep artists. Her time also undercut the Olympic textile best of 2:10.68 posted by Klochkova at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and just missed Rice’s overall Olympic mark of 2:08.45 from Beijing.
Ye stunned the world on night one with a 4:28.43 to set the women’s 400 IM global standard, including a blazing fast final 28.93 dash to the finish. The 16-year-old burst onto the international scene in 2010 by sweeping the IMs at the Asian Games, before winning the 200 IM at the 2011 World Championships last summer.
“I think I am now, but there will be people who will be more successful than me,” Ye said when asked if she was the best female swimmer in China. “I like the weather in Australia [when asked about training Down Under]. I always go to the seaside and enjoy the barbeque.”
Defending silver medalist Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, who has mostly been quiet internationally as she trained back in Texas with personal coach Kim Brackin, qualified second in 2:10.51. She fell to Stephanie Rice in the 2008 Beijing Games by .14 seconds, 2:08.45 to 2:08.59, in the closest finals swim in Olympic history in the event. Coventry has an impressive resume with seven Olympic medals, including a pair of golds in the 200-meter backstroke.
“It was a much better race than yesterday’s races,” Coventry said. “I just felt a lot more comfortable and controlled my nerves a lot better so that was good. I just was looking for a good solid race and I felt like I got it this morning so that was good.”
Qualifying third is USA’s Caitlin who won the penultimate heat of the morning with a 2:10.63, and will be looking to better her sixth-place finish in the women’s 400 IM from night one. She finished fifth in this event at the 2011 World Championships, and needs a podium for her first Olympic medal.
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (2:10.68), Australia’s Alicia Coutts (2:10.74) and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia (2:11.73) qualified fourth through sixth, while world-record holder Ariana Kukors of the USA took seventh in 2:11.94. Hungary’s Evelyn Verraszto snared the eighth spot with a 2:12.17. Defending gold medalist Stephanie Rice wound up qualifying ninth in 2:12.23 to keep hopes alive of a repeat.
Great Britain’s Hannah Miley (2:12.27), Germany’s Theresa Michalak (2:12.75), Israel’s Amit Ivry (2:13.29), China’s Li Jiaxing (2:13.43), Japan’s Izumi Kato (2:13.85), Spain’s Beatriz Gomez Cortes (2:13.93) and Brazil’s Joanna Melo (2:14.26) also made their way into the semifinal heats.
LONDON — China’s Ye Shiwen set the first world record at the Olympic pool, winning the women’s 400-meter individual medley with a dominant finishing kick Saturday night.
The 16-year-old Ye trailed American teenager Elizabeth Beisel more than halfway through the grueling race but pulled away in the freestyle leg to win gold in 4 minutes, 28.43 seconds. She beat the 4:29.45 by Stephanie Rice at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Beisel settled for silver in 4:31.27, while China’s Li Xuanxu took the bronze in 4:32.91.
Ye was the second Chinese swimmer to win gold on the opening night of swimming competition at the London Olympics. Sun Yang won the men’s 400 freestyle.
Meanwhile, Australia won gold in the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay, setting an Olympic record of 3 minutes, 33.15 seconds Saturday night.
The United States team got off to a blistering start with Missy Franklin swimming leadoff under world-record pace, but the Australians rallied behind Brittany Elmslie on the third leg. Melanie Schlanger held on at the end, with Ranomi Kromowidjojo closing fast to give the Netherlands a silver in 3:33.79.
The other members of the winning team were Alicia Coutts and Cate Campbell.
The Americans slipped to the bronze in 3:34.24, but that was still good enough to give Natalie Coughlin the 12th medal of her career, tying Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson as the most decorated U.S. female Olympian. Coughlin swam in the morning prelims, but wasn’t used in the evening; everyone who swims on a relay gets a medal.
LONDON, England, July 28. THE textile best fell twice during prelims of the women’s 400-meter IM at the 2012 London Olympics as swift swimming continued to be on offer at the London Aquatics Center.Beisel, the world champion in this event last summer, will be vying for Team USA’s fifth gold medal in the event, but first since Janet Evans topped the 1988 Seoul Olympics in the distance medley with a 4:37.76. Ye, meanwhile, is shooting to become the first woman from China to ever win the event. Lin Li is the only other Chinese medalist with a silver in the event behind Krisztina Egerszegi at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
In heat three of five, 16-year-old Ye Shiwen of China blasted a time of 4:31.73. That swim eclipsed the textile best of 4:31.74 posted by USA’s Elizabeth Beisel at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, and moved Ye up to eighth in the world rankings. Beisel, however, returned fire in the final heat with a 4:31.68 to retake the claim to the fastest time in textile, and moved to eighth all time ahead of Ye, bumping Ye back to ninth.
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu qualified third in 4:33.77, and could become her country’s first gold medalist since Egerszegi in 1992. China’s Li Xuanxu gave her country two swimmers in the top eight with a fourth-ranked 4:34.28, while Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia touched fifth in 4:34.70.
Local hero Hannah Miley qualified sixth in 4:34.98, while defending gold medalist and world-record holder Stephanie Rice of Australia checked in with a seventh-place time of 4:35.76. USA’s Caitlin Leverenz snatched the final spot in the finale with a 4:36.09.
By John Lohn
GILLETTE, New Jersey, May 14. AS we creep closer to the Olympic Games in London this summer, Swimming World will produce event-by-event previews of the action set to unfold. As part of this series, we’ll not only look at the leading contenders in each event, we’ll also provide a historical perspective on each discipline. This approach was successful in the leadup to the Beijing Games and we hope our readership enjoys the coverage for this Olympiad.