Saturday, August 9, 2008

10PM EDT: Swimming Finals

The first morning of swimming finals will be highlighted by performances by Michael Phelps and Grant Hackett. There will be four finals today and stay with the LIVE EVENT BLOG from NOW Sports for all the coverage.

11:40PM - Thanks a lot for joining us for this LIVE BLOG of the swimming finals. We'll be doing live blogs on swimming all week long. Our next live blog will be in less than 20 minutes as we take a look at the Tennis competition. And remember to go to for continuous updates on Day 2 of competition.

11:37PM - So the first morning of finals have concluded. Michael Phelps captured his first gold medal in the men's 400 meter Individual Medley. Stephanie Rice claimed redemption for Australia as she won the women's 400 meter Individual Medley. In the 400 meter freestyle, Taewhan Park of South Korea won gold after his disappointing disqualification four years ago in Athens while China claimed its first medal in swimming as Lin Zhang won the silver in this event. And the Netherlands wins gold by dominating the final two legs in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay.

11:35PM - A new Olympic record for the Dutch winners of the 4x100 meter freestyle relay. Great performance by Dara Torres as she got the United States a silver medal and Australia was able to rebound for fourth or fifth position to claim the bronze.

11:27PM - Back with the last gold medal final of this first morning of finals at the Water Cube. It's the 4x100 meter freestyle relay for the women. The Australians are favored to win but the host nation has something to cheer about as China is the fastest qualifier in this event. Germany is beside China in lane five. The Americans, with Dara Torres and Natalie Coughlin, are in lane 3 and the Netherlands, who held the world record this year, is in lane six.

11:15PM - It looks like it will be a struggling final for Hansen as he does qualify for the final, but he'll have to do much better if he wants to challenge Kitajima. Meanwhile Alexander Dale Oen is the top qualifier as he wins this semifinal heat in Olympic record time.

11:10PM -Kitajima has shown why he is so good at this event and it will be up to Brendan Hansen in this next semifinal to see if he can make it into the finals to face Kitajima.

11:07PM - The next few semifinals is a good preview of what is to come. Brendan Hansen is racing in these semifinals and the men's 100m breaststroke is the only event he is entered in. First, we see Japan's Kosuke Kitajima compete in the first semifinal.

10:56PM - So we are through with three finals and when NBC brings us back for more swimming coverage, we'll provide you more blog coverage of this event, including our thoughts on the last final of the night, the Women's 4x100 meter freestyle.

10:53PM - Stephanie Rice wins gold for Australia in world record time, she led the entire way but Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe looked like she could catch Rice several times throughout the race. It was unpredictable as we predicted. A bit of a disappointing finish for young Katie Hoff, who captures bronze. Elizabeth Beisel finishes in fourth for the United States in an impressive performance by the young swimmer who could have a great future ahead of her.

10:51PM - It's Conventry and Rice way ahead of the rest of the field as we get into the breaststroke.

10:48PM - Stephanie Rice gets away very well in the butterfly portion of this race.

10:47PM - This race will feature Kirsty Coventry, the veteran swimmer, and Stephanie Rice from Australia, Hoff's biggest rival. This race could be unpredictable.

10:44PM - Now getting set for the Women's 400 meter IM as we see for the first time at these games, Katie Hoff, who can be compared to Michael Phelps when he was competing in Athens. Hoff is only 19 years old and she has a very full program here in Beijing.

10:40PM - We have a break in the action as we see the medal ceremonies take place for the Men's 400 meter Individual Medley. I guess there are technical difficulties since the playing of the national anthem has started late and been cut short. I'm sure we'll be hearing that anthem very often at the pool.

10:30PM - Taewhan Park, Lin Zhang and Larsen Jensen finish 1-2-3 and both South Korea and China grab their first medals of swimming in Beijing. It was Park who led for most of the race and won the event that used to be dominated by Ian Thorpe before he retired from the sport. This win will give a lot of pride for Korea and will likely be the highlight of these games for that nation.

10:29PM - Another final, this time the 400 meter freestyle final and it looks to be a close one with a lot of well-known athletes, including Grant Hackett.

10:21PM - Schipper, Zhao and Dekker finsih 1-2-3 in this semifnal of the women's 100m butterfly and China will have someone to cheer on in the final of this event to be contested tomorrow.

10:18PM - We mentioned in our ultimate Olympic preview that Australia has a big chance of scoring medals in women's swimming and this next semifinal exemplifies that. Jessica Schipper, along with Trickett, are huge medal contenders at this event.

10:14PM - After that exciting final, its time for some semifinals in the women's 100m butterfly. Looks like NBC is getting what it has paid for. Libby Trickett wins semifinal number one and Magnuson is in the final as well for the United States after placing second.

10:10PM - Phelps remains undefeated in this race and wins his first of what could be many gold medals here in Beijing. This is his seventh gold medal in his career and ninth overall. His strategy has been to take these Games one race at a time, and in this case one stroke at a time, and looks like that strategy is working for him. The United States captures gold in the beginning of what could be a huge U.S. domination at the pool.

10:09PM - Phelps was able to widen the gap ahead of Lochte during the breaststroke and he pulled away from him during the freestyle. Laslo Cseh of Hungary was able to pass Lochte to grab the silver. And of course, Phelps wins this final in world record time.

10:05PM - Lochte had a slight lead but Phelps has gotten it back as we head into the breaststroke.

10:04PM - Its Phelps and Lochte going at it in the 400 meter Individual medley. Hungary's Laslo Cseh is there as well.

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