In the final leg of the final race of Michael Phelps’ storied Olympic career, Nathan Adrian was the final American and the first swimmer to touch the wall in the men’s 400 medley relay, bringing a tear-stricken Phelps his 18th Olympic gold medal and 22nd overall — more than any other athlete in the history of the Olympics.
Oh, and Adrian has had a pretty good Olympics himself, too.
The Cal product wrapped up his Olympics with his second gold medal — and third overall — of the London Games, anchoring the American team with a time of 46.85 in the freestyle leg of the relay. His time was a full second faster than his opening leg of last Sunday’s 400 free relay final (47.89), a race which the Americans lost to France by 45 hundredths of a second, taking silver.
Adrian took home his first individual gold in Wednesday’s 100 free, taking down Australia’s James Magnussen by a hundredth of a second and earning himself hordes of fans in the process. Since the Olympics began on July 27, Adrian has increased his number of Twitter followers seven-fold, from about 13,000 to about 100,000.
But Adrian was just one of four Cal swimmers to nab gold medals on Saturday.
Dana Vollmer took her third gold medal and set her second world record of the Olympics in the women’s 400 medley relay, as the gold medalist in the 100 fly swam the same leg for the Americans, who set yet another world record with a time of 3:52.05. Vollmer’s time of 55.48 was exactly half a second under her world record swim in last Sunday’s 100 fly. (However, her time in Saturday’s 100 fly does not count toward a world record.)
Jessica Hardy and incoming freshman Rachel Bootsma each earned gold medals for their performance in the heats of the 400 medley relay, though they did not compete in the final.
The past and present of Cal men’s water polo faced off on Saturday, as sophomore Aleksa Saponjic and Serbia took down John Mann and the American squad, 11-6. Serbia remains undefeated in the tournament while the Americans fall to 3-1. Both teams are candidates to win medals later this week.
Max Zhang and China dropped their fourth straight decision of the tournament to Brazil, 98-59. Zhang scored two points and logged two rebounds in nine minutes of action.