RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – They teamed up for a carpool karaoke video. They planted their flag in Brazil. And when the Olympics are done, they’ll be remembered as the latest in a long line of US swimming powerhouses.
So much for all those dire forecasts.
Turns out, the less-than-glittering times at the US trials were no indication of how fast they would swim once they got to the big stage. And all those who thought they were too inexperienced to shine on the international stage totally missed the mark.
The Americans finished off the final night at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium by equaling their biggest medal haul in the last three decades.
Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky & Co. made sure the US stayed firmly atop the swimming world.
“We all know we’re part of a really special team,’’ Ledecky said Saturday, five medals hanging from her neck after one of the greatest performances in Olympic history. “We have such great depth in the US in swimming, and it’s something we take great pride in. This is kind of our stage to show the world that.’’
The Americans piled up 16 golds and 33 medals overall, matching their total from the 2000 Sydney Games.
Phelps, of course, led the way. In what he again insists will be his final Olympics, the 31-year-old piled up five golds and a silver, bouncing back from a stunning upset by Singapore’s Joseph Schooling in the 100-meter butterfly to help power the US to victory in the final event at the pool, the 4×100 medley relay.
But no one was more dominant than the 19-year-old Ledecky, whose four golds included two world record-shattering performances. She joined Amy Van Dyken and Missy Franklin as the only American women to capture as many as four golds in a single games, matched Debbie Meyer as the only females to sweep the 200, 400 and 800 free, and also won silver anchoring the 4×100 free relay.
“What she’s doing in the sport is ridiculous,’’ Phelps said.
There’s something to be said for the camaraderie displayed by the American team.