2016 Olympics Aug. 13 recap: Pac-12 swimmers wrap up sensational run in Rio
RIO DE JANEIRO -- All good things must come to an end sometime, and on Saturday that was true for Team USA’s swim program. In the eighth and final day of swim competition at the 2016 Olympics, perhaps it’s fitting that Pac-12 alums added some more medals to their totals.
Now that swimming is over, a large Pac-12 contingent of athletes is starting to make noise in track and field. Take a look at the top headlines from the Conference of Champions following the Day 8 action.
Conference of CHAMPIONS. Pac-12 athletes have now won 33 Olympic medals!
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) August 14, 2016
There was plenty of Pac-12 influence on the American women’s 4 x 100m medley relay team on Saturday. Three of the four swimmers -- Cal’s Kathleen Baker and Dana Vollmer, and Stanford’s Simone Manuel -- hail from the Conference of Champions and helped the relay claim gold with a time of 3:53.13. Cal's Abbey Weitzel also received a gold for her contributions during the preliminaries.
"It's something you dream about since you're a little kid,” Baker said, “and getting to stand up there with my teammates is such a good feeling. I really wanted to take it all in. I got to wave to my family and everyone's there supporting you. I love everything about this meet and I'm so sad it's over."
With the victory, the relay secured the 1,000th gold medal in Team USA history.
WHAT. A. NIGHT! https://t.co/TdIDaARbkl
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) August 14, 2016
"It's really special and the fact that I could do it with the relay is amazing,” Manuel said. “I mean, just sharing that with three other women is the icing on top of the cake and I couldn't have done this without the relay swimmers, the coaches. One thousand golds for Team USA is a nice number."
Less than 24 hours after winning gold in the 100m freestyle, Manuel was back in the water for the 50m freestyle final. This time around she earned a silver with a time of 24.09 seconds, touching just 0.02 seconds after Denmark’s Pernille Blume.
In what was (likely) Michael Phelps’ final Olympic race ever as part of Team USA, a couple of Cal Bears made sure he departed in golden fashion. To cap off the night, the American men’s 4 x 100m medley relay set an Olympic record with a time of 3:27.95, thanks to efforts from Cal delegates Ryan Murphy and Nathan Adrian. It marks Murphy's third gold of the Olympics, as he set a world record with a backstroke leg in a medley relay, and won the 100m and 200m backstroke events. Adrian collected his fourth medal and second gold in Rio, while fellow Golden Bear Tom Shields, and Arizona's Kevin Cordes also took home golds for racing during prelims.
"Yeah it's beyond unreal with all those guys," Murphy said. "You know, Nathan is a guy I see every day. He's someone I really look up to, and then how can you not look up to a guy like Michael? That guy's been an inspiration to me since 2004. I was just super excited to be on that relay and I'm pretty sure that that little bit of extra adrenaline is what pushed me to that record."
WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD
Oregon product Brianne Theisen-Eaton brought home the first medal for Pac-12 track and field on Saturday, as she earned the bronze in the heptathlon with a score of 6,653.
"Looking back I couldn't have done anything better I don't think,” Theisen-Eaton said. “I did my best at everything and ended up with a bronze medal and I think you have to be satisfied with that."
— Ashton Eaton (@AshtonJEaton) August 14, 2016
English Gardner, also an Oregon track alum, finished seventh in the women’s 100m final with a time of 10.94.
In Round 1 of the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Colorado product Emma Coburn (9:18.12) placed third to secure a spot in Monday’s final.
Former Oregon Duck Phyllis Francis topped the competition during Saturday’s 400m heats, finishing in 50.58 to claim the fastest qualifying time going into Sunday’s semifinals.
Allyson Felix, Team USA’s most decorated Olympian with ties to the Pac-12, began her Olympic quest by running the 400m. The USC alum recorded a time of 51.24, the sixth-fastest qualifying time heading into Sunday’s semifinals.
"It's good to get out there on the track and get started,” Felix said. “This race is completely different to the 200m. I just have to run hard and focus on doing the 400m now. I'll do my best.”
MEN’S TRACK & FIELD
Former Cal football running back Jahvid Best made Olympic history on Saturday, as he became the first ex-NFL player to compete in the summer games. Best, who started in a career in sprinting after retiring from football due to concussion problems, placed 54th for St. Lucia in the 100m dash with a time of 10.39. USC product and Team Canada sprinter Andre De Grasse, meanwhile, finished third in the 100m heats with a 10.04 mark and is primed for Sunday’s semifinal.
Former Oregon distance runner and Team USA’s Galen Rupp fell short of the podium in the 10,000m race, placing fifth with a time of 27:08.92.
Washington’s Kerry Simmonds and Katelin Snyder, and Stanford’s Elle Logan all took part in Team USA’s gold medal-winning eight squad on Saturday, which finished the final in 6:01.49. In the same final, Washington State’s Lisa Roman and Cal’s Caileigh Filmer helped Canada (6:06.04) place fifth.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 13, 2016
Team USA’s eight features five Pac-12ers, and the crew finished fourth (5:33.24) in Saturday’s final, less than 3 seconds off the pace of bronze medal-winning Netherlands (5:31.59). But the Dutch featured former Cal rower Olivier Siegelaar, meaning the Pac-12 alum got his hands on some hardware.
WOMEN’S WATER POLO
With a roster that features 11 of 13 players with ties to the Pac-12, Team USA’s women’s water polo team wrapped up the group stage with a perfect 3-0 record. After rolling to wins over Spain and China, the Americans claimed an 11-6 win over Hungary on Saturday. Stanford star and Team USA captain Maggie Steffens scored four goals to pace the American offense. The U.S. will play host country Brazil in an elimination match on Monday, in what’s sure to be a physical contest.
"That's what we need to be ready for,” said Team USA coach and former UCLA water polo legend Adam Krikorian. “I'd be shocked if teams don't come out and play physical with us. Everyone's looking for an edge and trying to find a way to gain an advantage."
After dropping a pair of contests to open Olympic competition, Team USA’s men’s volleyball, which is coached by UCLA’s John Speraw, has bounced back with two victories. On Saturday, the Americans handed a 3-1 defeat to France, two days after they defeated Brazil. The group stage will conclude on Monday with a match versus Mexico.
Australia’s Leilani Mitchell, a Utah product, nailed a couple of 3-pointers en route to 8 points in Saturday’s 74-66 win over Belarus. USC hoops alum Sebnem Kimyacioglu contributed 14 points in more than 40 minutes of play for Turkey in a 79-76 win against Brazil.
Stanford’s Kassidy Cook will be on the outside of Sunday’s final in the 3-meter springboard competition looking in. During Saturday’s semifinals, Cook placed 13th with a score of 3:04.35. But only the top 12 divers advance to the final, meaning Cook will be the top alternate if someone is unable to compete on Sunday.
Thanks everyone for all the support! Obviously not the performance I dreamed of but still gonna keep it OG at the OG's
— Kassidy Cook (@KassidyCook1) August 13, 2016
"I'm really proud of myself for taking the risk of taking a year off of school, without knowing if I was going to make the Olympic team and how I was going to do at the Olympics,” Cook said. “I really think that I've benefited from it as a person and as a diver. I made the Olympic Games, which was one of my goals. Obviously, things didn't go as planned today, but I've had a really good experience here."
Through Saturday’s third round of the men’s golf tournament, Washington product and Chinese Taipei representative Cheng-Tsung Pan sits tied for 12th place with a cumulative stroke count of 209, including par 71 on Saturday. Cal golf alum and South Korean Byeong-Hun An (210 strokes) currently ranks tied for 14th after shooting a 1-under 70 on Saturday. The two will wrap up the tournament on Sunday, trying to chase down leader Justin Rose (201 strokes, minus-12 overall) of Great Britain.
Ex-Arizona State star Ike Diogu posted a double-double in Nigeria’s 90-76 win over Croatia on Saturday, scoring 10 points while grabbing 12 rebounds. Two days after going 7-of-12 from beyond the arc, former Oregon hoopster Chamberlain Oguchi couldn’t find his shot and finished with 3 points on 1-of-10 shooting, including 1-of-9 from distance.
"I think we put together a complete defensive effort,” Diogu said. “Guys really pressured the ball for 40 minutes, and when we do that, we're a really tough team to beat. We showed that we can compete with anybody. When we put it all together, we're a pretty special group."
A couple of UCLA Bruins had tough days in continuing group stage action on Saturday, as Howard Shu (men’s singles) and Jamie Subandhi (mixed doubles) each suffered from 2-0 sweeps. While Shu fell to Cuba’s Osleni Guerrero and dropped his record to 0-2, Subandhi and partner Patrick Chew lost to the Netherlands to be eliminated from the tournament after going winless in three group stage matches.