By Sharon Robb
August 11, 2016—-On a day where most of the U.S. swimmers were not in the spotlight, the rest of the international swimming world grabbed the attention on Wednesday at the Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Swimming in Lane 8, Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:07.46. The 21-year-old won his country’s first-ever medal in Olympic swimming history.
American Josh Prenot took the silver in 2:07.53 and Russian Anton Chupkov took the bronze in 2:07.70. 2012 Olympic champion Daniel Gyurta of Hungary failed to qualify in the prelims.
“This is the biggest honor and biggest thing I could have given to my country,” said an emotional Balandin. The last great swimmer from his country was Vlad Polyakov, a former Florida Gold Coast swimmer now coaching at Louisville University.
“I’m very happy that I am the first one,” Balandin said. “The tactics was quite simple, swim fast. I was in an outside lane so I couldn’t see my competitors. This helped me a lot to claim the medal. I haven’t quite processed all of this. This is a great beginning for my country.”
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte won her first Olympic gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:04.85. Aussie Madeline Groves took silver in 2:04.88 and 2015 world champion Natsumi Hoshi of Japan took bronze in 2:05.20.
“It was difficult to control everything during the final,” Belmonte said. “I was very nervous and I was dreaming a lot. I had to control my emotions and nerves. I will remember it for all my life. This is because of many days of training, working hard and many sacrifices.”
Aussie teenager Kyle Chalmers, 18, pulled off a shocker in the 100-meter freestyle winning the gold medal in his Olympic debut in 47.58. Canadian and Bolles alum Santo Condorelli went out too fast and paid dearly fading in the back half. Pieter Timmers of Belgium was second in 47.80 and defending Olympic champion Nathan Adrian of the U.S. had to settle for bronze in 47.85.
“It was pretty special when the Australian flag was raised and when I looked up and saw my family,” Chalmers said. “It was a very special moment I shared with them. I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”
American Katie Ledecky won her third gold and fourth Olympic medal overall anchoring the winning 4×200-meter freestyle relay that won in 7:43.03. Ledecky’s split was 1:53.74. She has won the 200 and 400 freestyles and earned silver on the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.
On Thursday night, Michael Phelps, 31, and Floridian Ryan Lochte, 32, will renew their rivalry for the final time in the 200-meter individual medley championship. The rivals and friends will compete side by side.
DAY 6: THURSDAY
EVENING SESSION: 9 p.m., Men’s 50-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:17 p.m., Women’s 200-meter breaststroke final; 9:26 p.m., Men’s 200-meter backstroke final; 9:32 p.m., Women’s 200-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:01 p.m., Men’s 200-meter individual medley final; 10:18 p.m., Women’s 100-meter freestyle final; 10:31 p.m., Men’s 100-meter butterfly semifinals.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org