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Rediff.com  » Sports » Doing the swimming 'double'... without much trouble

Doing the swimming 'double'... without much trouble

Last updated on: August 9, 2012 13:57 IST

Young Missy Franklin achieved the 'backstroke double'

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Bikash Mohapatra

Swimming in Olympics is synonymous with medals and records.

The London Games is no exception.

Nine world records and 15 Olympic records were broken during the course of the week that witnessed 32 gold medals being awarded. Nnly two more events are left.

While the likes Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Rebecca Soni won as expected, the pool also threw up many surprises with the hitherto unknown names like Yannick Agnel, Chad le Clos, Ruta Meilutyte, Camille Muffat and Jiao Liuyang winning titles.

However, despite many swimmers winning multiple medals there were only a handful who managed to do the 'double' -- which is considered a prestigious achievement. In fact, at these Games many names who were expected to achieve the feat failed to.

Rediff.com takes a look at those swimmers who achieved the double without much trouble.

Missy Franklin (USA)

This 17-year-old from Pasadena was undoubtedly the biggest star to emerge out of the London Games.

The American left the British capital with a haul of five medals, four of them gold.

Among her wins was the 'double' in the backstroke events, those being her individual triumphs -- the other two gold medals she won were in relays.

In the 100 metres backstroke event, Franklin won the gold medal with a time of 58.33s, beating her national record in the process.

However, it was her triumph in the 200 metres backstroke that was even more memorable. En route to the gold medal, Franklin finished with a world record time of 2:04.06s, besting the mark (2:04.81s) set by Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe in the Beijing Games.


Image: Gold medallist Missy Franklin of the U.S., who set a new world record, poses at the women's 200m backstroke victory ceremony
Photographs: REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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Teen Shiwen achieved the 'medley double'

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Ye Shiwen (China)

Another teen sensation, Ye Shiwen created a sensation when she swam a leg of the 400 metres individual medley faster that Ryan Lochte -- the winner in the equivalent men's category -- leading to the American admitting in jest that he could have lost to her.

On a serious note, Shiwen's 'medley double' was a remarkable achievement considering she is only 16 years of age.

While her winning time in the 200 metres individual medley (2:07.57) was an Olympic record, she went further in the 400 metres, her timing (4:28.43) besting the world record set by Australian Stephanie Rice in the 2008 Beijing Olympics).


Image: China's Ye Shiwen poses with her gold medal on the podium during the women's 400m individual medley
Photographs: REUTERS/David Gray

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Kromowidjojo emulated compatriot De Bruijn

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Ranomi Kromowidjojo (The Netherlands)

The only gold medalist in the pool from the Netherlands in these Games, Ranomi Kromowidjojo achieved the 'double' that matters the most.

The swimmer of Surinamese origin, who turns 22 this month, won a relay gold at the Beijing Games four years back.

However, it was in London that she stamped her authority in emphatic matter, winning both the 50 metres and 100 metres freestyle, breaking the Olympic record en route in both.

It is sheer coincidence that she consigned reigning World champion Aleksandra Gerasimenya of Belarus to second spot in both the events.

Moreover, by winning the two freestyle events, Kromowidjojo followed in the footsteps of her legendary compatriot Inge de Bruijn, who won both events at the Sydney Games in 2000.


Image: Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands waves after she received her gold medal during the women's 100m freestyle victory ceremony
Photographs: REUTERS/David Gray

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Sun Yang completed the 'distant double'

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Sun Yang (China)

Sun Yang completed the 'distant double' at the London Games.

He won the 400 metres freestyle with an Olympic record (3:40.14) and 1500 metres freestyle with a world record (14:31.02) -- besting the mark (14:34.56) set by Australian Grant Hackett at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka (Japan).

His twin triumphs made Sun the first Chinese man ever to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.

Besides, the 20-year-old from Hangzhou finished as was one of the only two male swimmers, the other being Michael Phelps, to win two individual gold medals in London. 


Image: China's Sun Yang, wearing his medals, arrives for the evening finals swimming session
Photographs: REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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Phelps cemented his legendary status

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Michael Phelps (USA)

Michael Phelps didn't achieve the 'double' per se at these Games.

But the clutch of medals that he won as also the fact that he broke a long existing world record in the process merits a mention in this list.

In London, Phelps won the 100 metres butterfly and the 200 metres individual medley. Besides, he was part of the American team that won the the 4 200-metre freestyle relay and the 4 100-metre medley relay.

Another couple of silvers ensured the 27-year-old left London with a haul of six medals, giving him a total of 22 individual medals in the Olympics -- the most by an athlete in the quadrennial event, besting Larissa Latnyna's mark of 18.

The London Games weren't as successful for Phelps when compared to Beijing. However, the American did enough to ensure it would be a memorable one. 


Image: Michael Phelps of the U.S. holds up three fingers after winning the men's 200m individual medley final


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