US Women Take Down WR: 3:52.05
Aug 4, 2012 - Karin Helmstaedt
Olympic Games, London, Day 8 finals:
Women's 4x100m medley
The United States stormed into uncharted waters with a 3:52.05 world record, each of the four solo Olympic champions on its squad firing in turn to collect the USA's 15th gold and 29th medal of the Games in the pool, that tally confirming with a sledgehammer blow its status as the world's swimming superpower - with one last hurrah for Michael Phelps and the Stars and Stripes to come.
The women's mark was the ninth world record in the pool at these Games, Soni having set two in the 200m breaststroke.
Melissa Franklin and Emily Seebohm (USA) rejoined battle, the American teen scorching a 58.50 split, Seebohm on 58.76. Next in, pretty in pink once more, was another American Olympic champion at these Games, Rebecca Soni, on 2:03.32, Russian, Japan and Australia in contention.
Then came Dana Vollmer, who cracked 56sec as a pioneer winner in the solo butterfly final and home more than 5m ahead of next best, Australia, in 2:58.50, the Dolphins on 3:01.45. Allison Schmitt delivered the crown in 3:52.05, Australia on 3:54.02, Japan on 3:55.73 for bronze.
All of which meant five medals for Franklin, 4 gold; four medals for Vollmer, 3 gold; five medals for Schmitt, 3 gold; and three medals for Soni, 2 gold.
The 17-year-old Franklin, who will begin her senior year of high school when she gets back to Colorado, seems destined to be America's new star in the post-Phelps era after taking four golds and a bronze while swimming the same number of events as Phelps.
A definite bit of symmetry there, though Franklin doubts anyone can ever replace Phelps.
"I don't think his shoes will ever be filled. They're so huge," Franklin said. "Hopefully I can make little paths next to him."
Vollmer added, "He shows that he has class, even when he comes second. It seems like he really enjoyed himself at these Games. Like he was under no pressure to succeed."
On the incredible USA dominance of this meet Soni said, "I think all around this meet has been amazing. Not just for the US team but for all the world records that were broken."
Schmitt, who trains with Phelps and is normally a 200 freestyle swimmer, said, "It's been an honour to be on this team with these girls. It's weird being here on the final day, as I'm usually done by day five."