The United States of America were in the lead at the second change over as Micheal Phelps had a brillant swim. The United States of America take silver and Russia the bronze.
Payback. This time, it was France chasing down the United States — and Ryan Lochte, no less — to win another riveting relay at the Olympics.
With Michael Phelps looking much stronger than he did the night before, the Americans built a commanding lead over the first three legs of the 400-meter freestyle relay and never really had to worry about the defending world champions from Australia.
When Lochte dove into the water on the anchor leg, he was a half-body length ahead of the field and looking to add another gold to his dominating victory Saturday in the 400 individual medley.
Not so fast.
Or should we say not nearly fast enough.
Yannick Agnel, playing the chaser role that Jason Lezak did for the American four years ago in this same event, sliced through the water and was right on Lochte`s shoulder as they made the flip at the far end of the pool. With about 25 meters to go, they were stroke for stroke. But Lochte, who had already competed in the 200 free prelims in the morning and in the semifinals about 90 minutes earlier, simply didn`t have enough left to hold off the towering, 20-year-old Frenchman.
Agnel touched in 3 minutes, 9.93 seconds, having gone exactly a second faster than Lochte over the last 100 meters. Lochte and the Americans settled for silver in 3:10.38, while Australia — the favorite — didn`t even get a medal. Russia took the bronze in 3:11.41, edging the team from Down Under by 0.22 for the last spot on the podium.
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