US swimmers golden on Friday

11:00 PM, Aug 3, 2012   |    comments
  • Michael Phelps (USA) competes in the men's 100m butterfly semifinals during the London 2012 Olympic Games Thu., Aug. 2, 2012, at Aquatics Centre. (Andrew P. Scott-USA TODAY Sports)
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Men's 100m butterfly

LONDON - Michael Phelps' last individual race of his Olympic career ended with another gold.

How could it not?

Arguably the greatest Olympian in history, he won his 21st overall medal by taking the 100-meter butterfly in 51.21 Friday night in the London Games. Chad le Close of South Africa and Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russis tied for silver.

He won the race on the second leg, falling behind at the start and standing seventh at the halfway point.

Phelps became the first man in Olympic history to win an individual swimming event at three successive Games in Thursday's 200 individual medley - and Friday's 100 butterfly allowed him to do that on successive nights. Phelps won the 100 fly in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.

Phelps came into the event with a career total of 20 Olympic medals, 16 of them gold, both records. He can add one last medal Saturday in the Olympic swim meet's final event, the men's 4x100 medley relay. Phelps, 27, said he will retire after the Games.

South Africa's Chad le Clos, who beat Phelps in the 200 butterfly, and Serbia's Milorad Cavic, who won silver behind Phelps in Beijing, entered the race as top contenders.

Two women have won individual swimming in three consecutive Games: Australia's Dawn Fraser (1956, 1960 and 1964) and Hungary's Krisztina Egerszegi (1988, 1992 and 1996).

Four years ago, Phelps set the world record in the Beijing Games in 50.58.

Women's 200m backstroke
LONDON -- American teenager Missy Franklin set a world record in the 200 backstroke Friday for her third gold and fourth medal overall at the London Olympics.

Franklin clocked 2 minutes, 4.06 seconds, 0.75 quicker than the mark set by Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe at the 2009 world championships in Rome in a now-banned bodysuit.

It was the seventh world record of the games.

Anastasia Zueva of Russia touched in 2:05.92 to take the silver medal and Elizabeth Beisel of the United States finished in 2:06.55 to take bronze.

Women's 800m freestyle
LONDON -- American 15-year-old Katie Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle at the London Olympics on Friday.

The youngest member of the U.S. swim team narrowly missed a world record in the grueling race, falling off pace on the last lap and finishing in 8 minutes, 14.63 seconds.

Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain touched in 8:18.76 to take the silver medal and defending champion Rebecca Adlington of host Britain finished in 8:20.32 for bronze.

Adlington set the world record of 8:14.10 at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Men's 50m freestyle
LONDON - American Cullen Jones won the men's 50-meter freestyle Friday, touching in 21.54 seconds.

Jones was .20 seconds behind winner Florent Manandou of France.

Brazil's Cesar Cielo, who won the event in Beijing in 2008, entered as the favorite. He was third in the final in 21.59. American Anthony Ervin was fifth.

Cielo and Jones finished in a dead heat of their semifinals Thursday.

Jones anchored the USA's 4x100 medley relay team that won its heat Friday morning. He called that "a little funky" but said he'd trained for the morning-evening double.

Ervin, 31, won a gold medal in this event at the 2000 Sydney Games, tying teammate Gary Hall Jr. In Sydney, he also won silver as a member of the 4x100 free relay.

Ervin returned to competitive swimming after an eight-year absence.

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