London Spy

Sport guide: Swimming

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OVERVIEW:

Swimming has been part of every schedule at the modern Games, but it was touch and go in 1896.

In conditions that were considered too rough for sailing and rowing, the swimmers just got on with it, although Hungary's Alfred Hajos, winner of the 100 metres freestyle, commented later that his will to live overcame his desire to win.

From 1908 the swimmers used a dedicated pool rather than open water, but long-distance open-water events were added to the schedule in 2008. Synchronised swimming had become part of the programme in 1984.

The nature of the swimming competition — with different strokes, distances and the individual and team formats — enables athletes to challenge for, and win, a lot of medals.

On the men's side, Mark Spitz picked up nine golds in a total of 11 medals and Matt Biondi eight in his tally of 11. But no one comes close to Michael Phelps, who in 2008 boosted his collection of medals to 16, including 14 golds.

Given such achievements, it's no surprise to find that the United States have won nearly three times more medals than Australia, who sit second in the table. Ian Thorpe was Australia's finest, with five golds from nine medals at the 2000 and 2004 Games.

In London, individual swimmers will compete over distances starting at 50m — one length of the pool — and extending to 1,500m for men and 800m for women.

The schedule features freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke, as well as the medley, in which a swimmer tackles all four strokes during the same race. There are also relay events in freestyle and the medley.

The open-water events will again take place, with a race each for men and women over a 10km course in the Serpentine at Hyde Park.

Synchronised swimming is one of only two events to be contested solely by women. It will feature a duets competition and another for teams of eight, with participants equipped with nose clips to enable them to spend long periods underwater. They will be guided by underwater speakers as they perform routines to music while being judged on choreography, difficulty and execution.

Russia have carried off the most gold medals for synchronised swimming with six, one more than the United States. Japan have won the most medals overall, but the total of 12 doesn't include any golds.

EVENTS / FAVOURITES / FORMAT:

MEN'S
50M FREESTYLE
1 Cesar Cielo (Brazil)
2 Frédérick Bousquet (France)
3 Luca Dotto (Italy)
4 Alain Bernard (France)
5 Nathan Adrian (United States)
6 Stefan Nystrand (Sweden)
7 Andrii Govorov (Ukraine)
8 Brent Hayden (Canada)
100M FREESTYLE
1 Brent Hayden (Canada)
2 Alain Bernard (France)
3 James Magnussen (Australia)
4 Cesar Cielo (Brazil)
5 William Meynard (France)
6 Filippo Magnini (Italy)
7 Nathan Adrian (United States)
8 Eamon Sullivan (Australia)
MEN : 200M FREESTYLE
1 Paul Biedermann (Germany)
2 Michael Phelps (United States)
3 Ryan Lochte (United States)
4 Park Tae-Hwan (Korea)
5 Amaury Leveaux (France)
6 Daniil Izotov (Russia)
7 Dominik Kozma (Hungary)
8 Nikita Lobintsev (Russia)
400M FREESTYLE
1 Park Tae-Hwan (Korea)
2 Paul Biedermann (Germany)
3 Sun Yang (China)
4 Zhang Lin (China)
5 Peter Vanderkaay (United States)
6 Gergo Kis (Hungary)
7 Ryan Cochrane (Canada)
8 Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia)
1500M FREESTYLE
1 Ryan Cochrane (Canada)
2 Sun Yang (China)
3 Gergo Kis (Hungary)
4 Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia)
5 Gregorio Paltrinieri (Italy)
6 Pal Joensen (Faroe Islands)
7 Chad La Tourette (United States)
8 Zhang Lin (China)
100M BACKSTROKE
1 Camille Lacourt (France)
2 Jérémy Stravius (France)
3 Ryosuke Irie (Japan)
4 Helge Meeuw (Germany)
5 Junya Koga (Japan)
6 Aristeidis Grigoriadis (Greece)
7 Nicholas Thoman (United States)
8 Liam Tancock (Great Britain)
200M BACKSTROKE
1 Ryan Lochte (United States)
2 Ryosuke Irie (Japan)
3 Tyler Clary (United States)
4 Radoslaw Kawecki (Poland)
5 Peter Bernek (Hungary)
6 Arkady Vyatchanin (Russia)
7 Zhang Fenglin (China)
8 Markus Rogan (Austria)
100M BREASTSTROKE
1 Fabio Scozzoli (Italy)
2 Kosuke Kitajima (Japan)
3 Cameron Van Der Burgh (South Africa)
4 Hugues Duboscq  (France)
5 Brenton Rickard (Australia)
6 Valeriy Dymo (Ukraine)
7 Christian Sprenger (Australia)
8 Mattia Pesce (Italy)
200M BREASTSTROKE
1 Dániel Gyurta (Hungary)
2 Kosuke Kitajima (Japan)
3 Eric Shanteau (United States)
4 Christian Vom Lehn (Germany)
5 Brenton Rickard (Australia)
6 Marco Koch (Germany)
7 Giedrius Titenis (Lithuania)
8 Hugues Duboscq (France)
100M BUTTERFLY
1 Michael Phelps (United States)
2 Konrad Czerniak (Poland)
3 Milorad Cavic (Serbia)
4 Tyler McGill (United States)
5 László Cseh (Hungary)
6 Jason Dunford (Kenya)
7 Takuro Fujii (Japan)
8 Rafael Muñoz (Spain)
200M BUTTERFLY
1 Michael Phelps (United States)
2 Takeshi Matsuda (Japan)
3 Wu Peng (China)
4 Pawel Korzeniowski (Poland)
5 László Cseh (Hungary)
6 Chen Yin (China)
7 Ioannis Drymonakos (Greece)
8 Bence Biczo (Hungary)
200M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
1 Ryan Lochte (United States)
2 László Cseh (Hungary)
3 Michael Phelps (United States)
4 James Goddard (Great Britain)
5 Markus Rogan (Austria)
6 Thiago Pereira (Brazil)
7 Gal Nevo (Israel)
8 Ken Takakuwa (Japan)
400M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
1 Ryan Lochte (United States)
2 Tyler Clary (United States)
3 László Cseh (Hungary)
4 Yuya Horihata (Japan)
5 David Verraszto (Hungary)
6 Thiago Pereira (Brazil)
7 Ioannis Drymonakos (Greece)
8 Huang Chaosheng (China)
4 X 100M FREESTYLE RELAY
1 France
2 United States
3 Australia
4 Russia
5 Italy
6 South Africa
7 Sweden
8 Brazil
4 X 200M FREESTYLE RELAY
1 United States
2 France
3 Germany
4 Russia
5 Australia
6 China
7 Italy
8 Japan
4 X 100M MEDLEY RELAY
1 United States
2 Australia
3 Germany
4 Japan
5 Italy
6 France
7 Russia
8 Hungary
10KM FREESTYLE
1 Thomas Lurz (Germany)
2 Spyridon Gianniotis (Greece)
3 Valerio Cleri (Italy)
4 Evgeny Drattsev (Russia)
5 Sergey Bolshakov (Russia)
6 Alex Meyer (United States)
7 Chad Ho (South Africa)
8 Brian Ryckeman (Belgium)
WOMEN'S
50M FREESTYLE

1 Therese Alshammar (Sweden)
2 Marleen Veldhuis (Netherlands)
3 Britta Steffen (Germany)
4 Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Netherlands)
5 Francesca Halsall (Great Britain)
6 Cate Campbell (Australia)
7 Aliaksandra Herasimenia (Belarus)
8 Jessica Hardy (United States)
100M FREESTYLE
1 Aliaksandra Herasimenia (Belarus)
2 Jeanette Ottesen (Denmark)
3 Francesca Halsall (Great Britain)
4 Britta Steffen (Germany)
5 Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Netherlands)
6 Femke Heemskerk (Netherlands)
7 Natalie Coughlin (United States)
8 Libby Trickett (Australia)
200M FREESTYLE
1 Federica Pellegrini (Italy)
2 Kylie Palmer (Australia)
3 Allison Schmitt (United States)
4 Camille Muffat (France)
5 Silke Lippok (Germany)
6 Morgan Scroggy (United States)
7 Sarah Sjöström (Sweden)
8 Sara Isakovic (Slovenia)
400M FREESTYLE
1 Rebecca Adlington (Great Britain)
2 Federica Pellegrini (Italy)
3 Camille Muffat (France)
4 Joanne Jackson (Great Britain)
5 Coralie Balmy (France)
6 Kylie Palmer (Australia)
7 Chloe Sutton (United States)
8 Mireia Belmonte (Spain)
800M FREESTYLE
1 Lotte Friis (Denmark)
2 Rebecca Adlington (Great Britain)
3 Kate Ziegler (United States)
4 Chloe Sutton (United States)
5 Boglarka Kapas (Hungary)
6 Alessia Filippi (Italy)
7 Joanne Jackson (Great Britain)
8 Coralie Balmy (France)
100M BACKSTROKE
1 Anastasia Zueva (Russia)
2 Natalie Coughlin (United States)
3 Emily Seebohm (Australia)
4 Zhao Jing (China)
5 Gemma Spofforth (Great Britain)
6 Aya Terakawa (Japan)
7 Jenny Mensing (Germany)
8 Arianna Barbieri (Italy)
200M BACKSTROKE
1 Belinda Hocking (Australia)
2 Melissa Franklin (United States)
3 Elizabeth Beisel (United States)
4 Kirsty Coventry (Zimbabwe)
5 Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands)
6 Anastasia Zueva (Russia)
7 Daryna Zevina (Ukraine)
8 Alexianne Castel (France)
100M BREASTSTROKE
1 Rebecca Soni (United States)
2 Leisel Jones (Australia)
3 Yulia Efimova (Russia)
4 Ji Liping (China)
5 Jennie Johansson (Sweden)
6 Sarah Poewe (Germany)
7 Sarah Katsoulis (Australia)
8 Kasey Carlson (United States)
200M BREASTSTROKE
1 Rebecca Soni (United States)
2 Yulia Efimova (Russia)
3 Martha McCabe (Canada)
4 Sara Nordenstam (Norway)
5 Annamay Pierse (Canada)
6 Leisel Jones (Australia)
7 Nadja Higl (Serbia)
8 Sun Ye (China)
100M BUTTERFLY
1 Dana Vollmer (United States)
2 Alicia Coutts (Australia)
3 Sarah Sjöström (Sweden)
4 Lu Ying (China)
5 Jessicah Schipper (Australia)
6 Christine Magnuson (United States)
7 Ingvild Snildal (Norway)
8 Martina Granström (Sweden)
200M BUTTERFLY
1 Jiao Liuyang (China)
2 Liu Zige (China)
3 Ellen Gandy (Great Britain)
4 Jessicah Schipper (Australia)
5 Katinka Hosszú (Hungary)
6 Zsuzsanna Jakabos (Hungary)
7 Teresa Crippen (United States)
8 Natsumi Hoshi (Japan)
200M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
1 Ariana Kukors (United States)
2 Ye Shiwen (China)
3 Alicia Coutts (Australia)
4 Stephanie Rice (Australia)
5 Katinka Hosszú (Hungary)
6 Evelyn Verraszto (Hungary)
7 Kirsty Coventry (Zimbabwe)
8 Caitlin Leverenz (United States)
400M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
1 Elizabeth Beisel (United States)
2 Hannah Miley (Great Britain)
3 Stephanie Rice (Australia)
4 Katinka Hosszú (Hungary)
5 Kirsty Coventry (Zimbabwe)
6 Zsuzsanna Jakabos (Hungary)
7 (Spain) Mireia Belmonte
8 (Australia) Samantha Hamill
4 X 100M FREESTYLE RELAY
1 Netherlands
2 United States
3 Germany
4 Australia
5 Sweden
6 China
7 Italy
8 Canada
4 X 200M FREESTYLE RELAY
1 United States
2 Australia
3 China
4 Hungary
5 Italy
6 France
7 Great Britain
8 Slovenia
4 X 100M MEDLEY RELAY
1 United States
2 Australia
3 China
4 Germany
5 Great Britain
6 Sweden
7 Italy
8 Russia
10KM FREESTYLE
1 Martina Grimaldi (Italy)
2 Keri-Anne Payne (Great Britain)
3 Angela Maurer (Germany)
4 Melissa Gorman (Australia)
5 Giorgia Consiglio (Italy)
6 Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil)
7 Marianna Lymperta (Greece)
8 Poliana Okimoto (Brazil)
SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING : WOMEN'S DUET
1 Ishchenko/Romashina (Russia)
2 Jiang T T/Jiang W W (China)
3 Carbonell/Fuentes (Spain)
4 Boudreau-Gagnon/Isaac (Canada)
5 Inui/C. Kobayashi (Japan)
6 Sidorenko/Yushko (Ukraine)
7 Adelizzi/Lapi (Italy)
8 Kinney/Theriault (United States)
SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING : WOMEN'S TEAM
1 Russia
2 China
3 Spain
4 Canada
5 Japan
6 Ukraine
7 Italy
8 United States

For the pool events, preliminary heats are held in the morning with the quickest qualifying for the semi-finals and finals in the evening session, with a day between semi-finals and final. Some events proceed directly through from heats to the eight-participant final.

For the individual medley events the stroke order is butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle. For the medley relay it is backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.

The 10km open water event consists of six laps of the course marked out by buoys, passing through a timing gate after each lap that records lap times. A feeding pontoon will be positioned on the lake, where coaches will stand to hand athletes drinks on the end of long poles as they swim past. Deciding whether to stop to fuel up or swim on to save time is a key tactical decision. At the finish, swimmers must pass through a timing gate and slap the overhead board to record their overall time.

Synchronised swimmers participants perform a technical routine, involving a set series of moves and lifts, and a free routine, where the choreography is created by the swimmers, and each is around four minutes long. Five judges mark on technical qualities, such as synchronisation, precision of movement and routine difficulty and five on artistic qualities such as flair, creativity and feel for the music. The highest and lowest are discounted and the three remaining scores are averaged. The performance score is the technical score multiplied by six and the artistic score multiplied by four with a maximum of 100. The free routine is multiplied by 0.65 and the technical routine by 0.35 for the final overall score.

ALL-TIME MEDAL TABLE:

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