Team USA’s excellence in the pool continued Monday as there were medals aplenty and some high drama on Day 3 of the Rio Olympics.
Most of USA’s biggest names in swimming were in action, while some of its rising stars also took center stage. Things went well in the water,but it wasn’t all positive for U.S. athletes Monday.
Here are some of the takeaways from Day 3’s biggest swimming events and yet another disappointing finish in men’s team gymnastics.
Lilly King backs up tough talk with gold
After catching the country’s attention with her criticism of rival swimmer, Russian Yulia Efimova Sunday, Lilly King backed up her strong words in the 100-meter breaststroke final. The Indiana native set an Olympic record in claiming the gold medal, beating out Efimova with relative ease. The Russian, whose presence in the Olympics has been controversial amid doping allegations, took silver, while American Katie Meile earned bronze.
Phelps swims angry in 200m butterfly semifinal
You better get your social media accounts ready, because Angry Michael Phelps looks to be a lasting meme. The most decorated Olympian in history shook off some pre-race peacocking by South African Chad le Clos (who beat Phelps for gold in this event in 2012) to qualify for the 200-meter butterfly with the second fastest time. Phelps will look to improve on his silver-medal finish in London and try to earn his third career gold medal in this event. Phelps and le Clos will be swimming side-by-side in lanes five and six, respectively, in Tuesday night’s must-see final.
Murphy extends U.S. gold streak in 100m backstroke
If there’s one event the U.S. has completely owned in recent years, it’s the 100-meter backstroke. Ryan Murphy continued the American dominance by winning his first gold medal, while setting an Olympic record in the process. That marks the sixth straight Olympics that an American man has taken gold in this event. Fellow American David Plummer took bronze, while Chinese swimmer Xu Jiayu earned silver.
Ledecky in, Franklin out in 200m free final
Katie Ledecky, one of the must-watch Americans in these Olympics, easily qualified for the final in the women’s 200-meter freestyle, posting the second best time among all swimmers in the semifinals. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, already a gold medalist in Rio in the women’s 100-meter butterfly, edged out Ledecky for the best time. Meanwhile, Missy Franklin — who won four gold medals in 2012 — failed to qualify for the final, posting the slowest time of all 16 semifinalists. She finished fourth in this event in London.
Team USA fails to medal in men’s gymnastics
As great of a day as it was in the pool for Team USA, it was a tough one for the men’s gymnastics team. Team USA finished fifth in the men’s team final Monday with a score of 268.560. Team USA’s medal drought now stretches to 20 years, with the last men’s gymnastics medal coming in 1996 in Atlanta. The American men have not won gold since 1984. Japan took home top honors in Rio with a score of 274.094. Russia finished with silver, while China took bronze.