This time, no one was getting by Nathan Adrian. Not even by an inch.
Three days after his strong opening in the 400 free relay was spoiled by a spectacular French finish, Adrian clinched his first individual gold medal in the 100 free, taking down Australia’s James Magnussen by a mere hundredth of a second in arguably the greatest finish of the Olympics so far.
Trailing by four hundredths of a second at the halfway mark, Adrian and Magnussen went down to the wire on the final 50, touching the wall at virtually the same time. Adrian stared at the scoreboard for a few seconds to confirm the result before beginning his exuberant celebration.
“And that’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks,” Adrian said. “So many emotions. It was incredible.”
Adrian wasn’t the only Calympian to win a gold on Wednesday. Dana Vollmer swam the second leg of the women’s 800 free relay, which set an Olympic record with a time of 7:42.92. Cal women’s swimmers have now won five medals this year. Of the three gold medals Cal athletes have won, Vollmer has earned two. Vollmer set a world record and took gold in the 100 fly earlier in the week.
Kara Kohler won Cal’s third medal of the day, earning a bronze in the women’s quad sculls with a time of 6:40.63 for Team USA.
In the men’s coxed eight final, Team USA finished with a fourth place upset. Team USA finished with a time of 5:51.48, trailing first place Germany by a mere 2.3 seconds. Mike Teti, Cal head rowing coach, led the men’s coxed eight into the final, but his squad came up short in the final.
Canada’s Scott Frandsen earned a spot in Friday’s final with a third-place finish in the semis of the men’s pair.
Elsie Windes and Heather Petri were also in action on Wednesday, and Windes recorded two assists in Team USA’s 9-9 tie with Spain.