(Photo courtesy of Rob Schumacher of USA TODAY Sports)
After losing to France in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Team USA was determined to prevent that from happening again.
The team of Michael Phelps, Caeleb Dressel, Nathan Adrian and Ryan Held pushed its way to the top thanks to a dominant performance by Phelps who now has an Olympic record 23 medals including 19 gold. Adrian earned his fourth Olympic gold medal while Dressel and Held won their first gold medals in their Olympic debuts.
France was favored to defend its title, and for a while, it looked like it might. USA trailed France by less than a tenth of a second after Dressel finished the first leg. Then Phelps put the rest of his team on his back and swam his leg a full second faster than his French counterpart. While it was close going into the turn, Phelps rocketed himself out of the turn and surfaced significantly ahead of France. After that, USA never looked back. Held did lose a half second on his leg but Adrian was able to make up a tenth of a second on his leg and brought home the victory. USA finished with an official time of 3:09:92 to win the gold medal. France won the silver medal while Australia won the bronze medal.
The victory meant a lot to Phelps.
“We wanted to bring that relay back to American soil,” he said after the race. “We had a sour taste in our mouth from 2012. I’m glad it’s back on our soil.”
So far, Dressel is the only University of Florida athlete to win a medal in Rio. Other UF results this weekend include Elisabeth Beisel of USA who placed 6th in the women’s 400m individual medley final. Conor Dwyer of USA came up just short of a medal as he placed 4th in the men’s 400m freestyle final. Finally, Kelly Murphy and the USA Women’s Volleyball team are currently atop Pool B’s standings.