Michael Phelps reasserts authority with his 16th Olympic gold

 

The Aquatics Centre

The total now stands at 16 and this one was all his own work. Michael Phelps claimed his first individual gold of London 2012 last night with a devastating swim in the 200m individual medley that proved too much for a tiring Ryan Lochte. Phelps, the master of Beijing, has reasserted his authority in the pool.

In the head-to-head between the two team-mates and friends it stands at 1-1, Lochte having won the 400m medley on opening night.

But whereas Lochte is struggling with the demands of a programme which saw him pull out of his seventh and final event, Phelps has improved as the workload has heightened with the passing days.

Phelps has two events left. Their tally stands at two gold and two silver for Phelps; two gold, two silver and one bronze for Lochte. Much had been made of Lochte's intensive training regime, designed to equip him to compete across the week, but last night was a task too far.

He faced two finals in 31 minutes. In 1976 in Montreal Kornelia Ender won two Olympic golds in the space of just 27 minutes but the East German was competing at the height of her country's ruinous doping regime.

Neither went to plan for Lochte. In the 200m backstroke he led from the off and a trademark final turn – he is unmatched at the art – appeared to make gold his for the taking.

Instead he tied up and could not prevent his compatriot Tyler Clary and Japan's Ryosuke Irie surging past over the final 10m.

Lochte's first reaction? "He just looked at me and said, 'Good job'," said Clary.

His second reaction was to take to the diving pool that lies behind the main pool at the Aquatics Centre, the first swimmer to do so. He cut a weary figure as he swam slowly up and down while the semi-finals of the women's 200m backstroke played out.

It made no difference. Phelps produced his best performance of the week. He was ahead after the first 50m, the butterfly, and it was a lead he was never to lose.

Phelps won by 0.63sec in a time only 0.27 outside the world record he set in Beijing.

Lochte had enough to consign Laszlo Cseh to yet another bronze medal. Britain's James Goddard tired after a good start to finish seventh.

Phelps was not done, and while Lochte received his backstroke bronze medal he too took to the diving pool to ease off the lactic acid in his legs. Next he collected his gold and barely had time to chuck it in his kit bag before his 200m fly semi-final. He won it. It is odds-on gold medal No 17 will arrive tonight.

Rebecca Soni completed her domination of the 200m breaststroke by breaking the world record for the second night in succession.

It was the sixth record of the week as the drought in the wake of the banning of bodysuits at the end of 2009 is breaking quicker than many observers expected.

Another reflection of a tospy-turvy meet is reflected in Soni being the first 2008 champion to defend a title – Phelps was the second.

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital