(UPDATED) It seems Team USA is back to their usual high standard at the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships in Kazan.
Ryan Lochte, Nathan Adrian, Missy Franklin and Simone Manuel set a new world record in the Mixed 4x100 Free Relay, taking the gold.
To the bewilderment of fans earlier in the week, USA were off to a slow start, with the only individual golds coming from Katie Ledecky. Until Lochte saved the day. Winning the gold in the 200IM meant he became just the second swimmer in history to win the same event at four straight Worlds. In addition to this, he holds the honour of being the second best swimmer in the world, behind Michael Phelps.
After a lacklustre few days for the Americans, it was a relief to see Lochte’s familiar face on the podium - he's been there 24 times already, 16 times accepting the gold. It was maybe even a comfort, and not just for us longtime fans. Before this win, Phelps reminded Lochte of his role as a leader. “I definitely took that to heart. I'm one of the oldest swimmers now. I remember when I was one of the youngest. He’s right — I’ve got to be a team leader, getting them going.”
It's rare for athletes as experienced as Lochte to still excel after years of competing. But he showed us why he's still one of the most loved swimmers in the world, his versatility and determined-yet-chill demeanour winning fans everywhere.
The rest of the team have undergone somewhat of an improvement too, with Nathan Adrian earning a silver in the 50m free, a fine finish in a cut-throat event - and he broke the record in the semis.
Franklin is back to her strong self earning individual bronze and relay gold with Ledecky, who broke the 1500m record and is on track to win the 800.
Meanwhile, Tom Shields got a PB in the 100m 'fly semi, going into the finals as the fastest qualifier, and Conor Dwyer got the silver in the 200m free.
The biggest shock came when the usually dominant men’s 4x200m relay team placed second behind Great Britain despite Lochte giving them the lead. Lochte was adamant that this won't happen again.“We came up short, but we’re going to definitely remember this and hopefully train our butts off all next year and hopefully not let that happen again.”
Despite all this, USA is now leading the medal tally, as per usual. If the entire team adopts this attitude, they should all be back on top of their game in Rio.