American Olympic swimming dominance continued on August 3 as Team USA athletes claimed top finishes in three of four final races. One of the best performances of the day belonged to 17-year-old Missy Franklin, who not only bested a talented field in the 200m women's backstroke to claim the gold, but set a new World Record in doing so.
Franklin, who's become a breakout star of the London Games thanks to a string of stellar swims and a bright, persistent smile, entered the final of her best event as the favorite to come out on top. And she didn't disappoint. She came out strong and stayed ahead throughout the race. With 50m left to swim, she held a whopping two second lead over her closest competitor. Her final time of 2:04.06 smashed the three-year old mark owned by Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry by .75 second.
Russia's Anastasia Zueva, who's better known as a sprinter than a distance swimmer, broke a disappointing streak of fourth place finishes by claiming the silver, while Team USA's Elizabeth Beisel snagged the bronze. During the medal ceremony, all three women grinned happily, with Beisel and Franklin exchanging a smile just before the National Anthem started.
Missy Franklin will close out her 2012 Olympic swimming experience with August 4's women's 4x100 medley relay.