2016 Olympics Aug. 9 recap: Pac-12 swimmers rule the pool once again
RIO DE JANEIRO -- No matter the event, no matter the stakes, it seems like a Pac-12 swimmer is always making some news at the Olympic Aquatic Center during these 2016 summer games in Brazil. As the fourth day of full action went in the books, a host of familiar Pac-12 stars could be found atop the podiums hoisting medals by the pool once again.
There were also surprises (um, women’s soccer) and fresh beginnings, as the women’s water polo and men’s sevens rugby teams played in their respective openers. Take a look at the top Pac-12 Olympic headlines from Tuesday.
At this point, it would be weird if Katinka Hosszu didn’t win a gold medal for Hungary during one of her competitions in Rio. Racing in her third event of the summer games, the ex-USC speedster took home her third gold medal after swimming the 200m individual medley in 2:06.58, an Olympic record. Stanford alum Maya DiRado joined Hosszu on the podium with a time of 2:08.79, good for bronze and her second medal of the games.
Hosszu decided to sit out of the 200m butterfly event earlier in the day, presumably to preserve energy for the IM and it looks like the strategy paid off. Hosszu has also claimed gold in the 400m IM, and the 100m backstroke in Rio, and will get back in the pool Thursday for the 200m backstroke competition.
Speaking of swimmers with busy schedules, soon-to-be Stanford freshman Katie Ledecky competed in her third finals event in four days. She combined with Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom for a thrilling race in the 200m freestyle that included some late drama. While Ledecky broke away from the pack in the third lap, Sjostrom closed the gap after the final turn. But in the final 15 meters, Ledecky found an extra burst that left Sjostrom and Co. behind, finishing with a personal best 1:53.73.
Observe @KatieLedecky in her natural habitat.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 10, 2016
Ledecky has now won three medals in Rio, along with her gold in the 400m freestyle and silver in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay. She will also race in the 800m event and is a prime candidate to take part in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay on Wednesday.
Former Cal Golden Bear Nathan Adrian nearly exited the 100m freestyle event in the prelims, recording the 16th fastest time to barely make the cut for the semifinals. But the reigning gold-medal winner in the event showed up for the night session, finishing in 48.73 to earn the fastest qualifying time for Wednesday night’s finals. Adrian will be looking to add to his medal collection, as he anchored Team USA’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay on Sunday.
The 200m breaststroke semifinal also featured a pair of Pac-12 swimmers: recent Cal grad Josh Prenot and Arizona swim icon Kevin Cordes. An Olympic record from Japan’s Ippei Watanabe in the first semifinal was needed to top Prenot, whose 2:07.78 mark is the third-fastest heading into Wednesday’s finals.
In the second 200m breaststroke semifinal, Cordes appeared to be outpacing the world record by the last turn, but faded a bit down the stretch when it turned into a close four-man race. In the end, he finished second in the heat and fifth overall with a 2:07.99, and will join Prenot in the finals with a chance to win gold.
— USA Swimming (@USASwimming) August 10, 2016
Heated competition wasn't only limited to the pool on Tuesday as swimming shared the spotlight with the women's gymnastics team final. Team USA, the heavy favorites, did not disappoint as the American's "The Final Five" lineup rolled to the gold medal for the second consecutive games with a 184.897 total, more than eight points better than the runner-up Russia. Incoming UCLA freshman Madison Kocian did her part for the quintet, posting the highest individual score on bars for the entire night (15.866). The 19-year-old Kocian will next go for an individual medal on bars later this week.
And a Kocian is nearly flawless - beautiful opening sequence. Straddle Jaeger. Stuck full-out. GREAT. 15.933/46.499
— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) August 9, 2016
Usually as steady as they come between the posts, former Washington goalie and current Team USA staple Hope Solo had a night to forget on Tuesday. The Americans fell behind in the 26th minute when Catalina Usme scored on a free kick that went through Solo’s hands and trickled into the goal.
But Solo’s teammates picked her up, as Crystal Dunn converted a rebound into a goal in the 42' to level the score. About 15 minutes into the second half, incoming UCLA freshman Mallory Pugh supplied a go-ahead goal when she controlled a deflection amongst heavy traffic in front of the goal and booted it through a sea of legs into the back of the net.
[Related content: Follow the Pac-12 to Rio]
The 18-year-old nearly scored three minutes later on a breakaway with Stanford alum Christen Press, but Pugh was called offsides before she could tack on another goal. If the Olympics have been any indication, Pugh is going to be a handful for Pac-12 teams when she enrolls this fall.
It appeared as if Pugh’s goal would stand as the game-winner, but Usme scored again as the clock struck 90:00, this time hitting a laser of a free kick from the right side of field that Solo failed to punch out of the goal. Still, the U.S. won their group with the 2-2 tie and are headed to the quarterfinals.
But the Olympic journey in Rio is over for three Pac-12 alums with the Football Ferns: Cal’s Betsy Hassett, Stanford’s Ali Riley and UCLA’s Rosie White. Following Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to France, New Zealand was eliminated from the tournament.
WOMEN’S WATER POLO
Team USA coach and former UCLA water polo legend Adam Krikorian made an emotional return to the pool on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after returning from California due to the sudden passing of his brother, Blake. His team, loaded with 11 of 13 players with Pac-12 ties, rewarded him with an 11-4 win in its Olympic opener against Spain. Stanford products Maggie Steffens and Kiley Neushul each scored two goals, along with former UCLA star Courtney Mathewson to pace the offense.
In the debut of rugby sevens on an Olympic stage, Team USA went 1-1 on Tuesday, suffering a 17-14 loss to Argentina before clobbering Brazil, 26-0. In the loss to Argentina, Team USA fell behind, 12-0, early in the second half. But with a quick scoring flurry that included a try from Cal’s Danny Barrett, the Americans claimed a 14-12 lead with 1:30 left, only to surrender a last-second, game-winning try to Argentina’s Matias Moroni.
— USA Sevens Rugby (@USASevensRugby) August 9, 2016
There wasn’t nearly as much drama in Tuesday’s nightcap against Brazil, as USA built a 14-0 lead by half and maintained a shutout. Barrett and former Oregon football player Zack Test both entered the contest as substitutes in the second half but didn’t contribute to the scoring.
Nigeria’s Chierika Ukogu finally fulfilled a lifelong dream on Tuesday as she took part in the Olympic single sculls quarterfinals in the Lagoa. After putting off medical school and having to raise her own funds to compete at the highest level, the Stanford grad finished 18th out of 24 racers with a time of 7:54.44.
Cal graduate Nareg Guregian and partner Anders Weiss bowed out of the coxless pairs competition on Tuesday with a 10th-place finish in the semifinals, as only the top six finishers advanced to the final.
MEN’S TENNIS SINGLES
Former USC tennis star Steve Johnson has been a busy man at Rio, juggling responsibilities as a singles and doubles player for Team USA. On Tuesday, Johnson defeated Gastao Elias of Portugal, 2-0, to advance to the third round of the singles competition.
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) August 9, 2016
WOMEN’S BEACH VOLLEYBALL
UCLA alum Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat have got off to a rough start so far in Rio. Two days after a dropping its opening match against Poland, the American duo suffered a 2-0 sweep at the hands of Brazilians Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes on Tuesday.
Once again, former Arizona State standout Ike Diogu was the leading scorer for Nigeria, posting 19 points and 7 rebounds in an 89-80 loss to Lithuania. Former Oregon Duck Chamberlain Oguchi received a start at guard for Nigeria, adding five points and six rebounds in the losing effort.
The USA men’s volleyball team struggled once again on Tuesday, losing its second straight match to begin the competition in Rio. Coached by UCLA’s John Speraw, the American side lost to Italy, 3-1. After falling into an 0-2 to start the Olympics, Team USA still has three more group matches to try and salvage its hopes to advance to the quarterfinals.
Stanford’s Marion Lepert fell to 10th place in the RS:X individual windsurfing competition following three more races on Tuesday.