Schmitt Scorches A 1:53.61 OR
Jul 31, 2012
Olympic Games, London, Day 4 Finals
Women's 200 Freestyle Final
Allison Schmitt took gold for the USA in 1:53.61, an Olympic record, ahead of 400m winner Camille Muffat (FRA), on 1:55.58, the bronze going to Bronte Barratt (AUS) in 1:55.81. That put paid to Missy Franklin's seven-orb potential by just 0.01sec, while the reign of Federica Pellegrini (ITA) is over: fifth in 1:56.73.
After Franklin, in lane 8, turned first at the 50m in 27.02, Schmitt on 27.18, the champion-to-be tore away to a 55.58 lead by the half-way mark, Franklin still closest on 56.23, Muffat third in 56.38, Barratt on 56.52 in fourth. Only the order of the top four would change, Pellegrini crushed by the opening pace and in 7th in 56.98 at the turn. There was no coming back from that.
Schmitt, coached by Bob Bowman in Baltimore, put in a 28.97 split next and finished with a 29.26 last 50m (a little more context on that 28.93 of Ye Shiwen down the closing 50m of a 400m medley last Saturday - extraordinary, off the chart by a country mile).
No-one was in Schmitt's class, the world textile best, already in her grasp, moved on from 1:54.40, the 2009 shiny suit world record of Pellegrini, 1:52.98 a push too far for the best of the class of 2012.
By the last turn, Muffat had moved into the lead on 1:25.92, Franklin hanging on to third in 1:25.96 and Barratt threatening on 1:26.16. The hunt for home was all about the minor spoils, Muffat and Barratt just 0.01sec apart on the last split (29.65 the swiftest for the Australian), Franklin's 29.86 lacking the punch by the smallest of margins for bronze.
Schmitt shared a joke with Michael Phelps before the final on Tuesday - said she was still laughing afterwards. "I just tried to keep focused and keep calm," she told reporters, when asked about her strategy. "Mike and I were joking before the race that he said as soon as you get on the blocks it's time to start focusing."
After the race, she said: "It still hasn't sunk in and I couldn't be happier bringing home hardware to the US, let alone a gold medal." After the Games she will return home to Michigan and then go back to school, having taken a year out to focus on the Games.
Fastest field: London 2012 final - 1:53.61 - 1:57.68
To qualify for the final it took: