Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): London Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Date Started: July 29, 2012
Date Finished: July 29, 2012
At Beijing France had been expected to win gold but were beaten on the anchor leg by the United States' team. The defeat stung and they did not forget it. In the final Nathan Adrian, who would later win the 100 free, gave the US the lead, swimming the only sub-48 second opener. Australia was second, which was disappointing as they opened with 2011 100 free World Champion James Magnussen. Australia would fall back and the race would be between the USA and France.
On the second leg Michael Phelps kept the US in the lead and Cullen Jones extended that on the third leg. The anchor swimmers were France's Yannick Agnel and American Ryan Lochte. They had swim earlier in the night in the 200 free with Agnel winning and Lochte placing fourth. Lochte was definitely stronger but not well-known as a sprinter and the question was if he could hold off Agnel.
The answer was no. Agnel closed quickly and won gold for France in 3:09.93, with Lochte coming home in 3:10.38 for the silver medal. Russia won a surprising bronze medal as they finished just ahead of Australia. For Phelps it was his 17th Olympic medal ever, and his first in London, but it was his first ever Olympic silver medal, after 14 golds, and two bronzes.