Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): London Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Date Started: August 3, 2012
Date Finished: August 4, 2012
This was the final swimming event in the pool at the London Olympics and the highlight was to be the last appearance of Michael Phelps at the Olympics. The race was conceded to the US team, with Phelps swimming fly, the backstroke being led by 100 gold medalist Matt Grevers, the free leg going to 100 gold medalist Nathan Adrian, and the breaststroke leg being swum by Brendan Hansen, bronze medalist in the 100 breast. But surprisingly, Japan's Ryosuke Irie kept them close on the backstroke leg, just behind Grevers, and Kosuke Kitajima, legendary breaststroker who had won the 100-200 double in 2004 and 2008, put Japan ahead as he outswam Hansen on the breaststroke leg.
Phelps then took over and pulled ahead but Japan's Takeshi Matsuda would not give in and the US led Japan by only 0.26 seconds at the final changeover, but Nathan Adrian was too strong for the Japanese anchor, Takuro Fujii, and the USA had gold in 3:29.35, as Adrian split 46.85 for his freestyle leg. Behind him, Takuro held on for silver, narrowly holding off Australia's James Magnussen in the freestyle.
For Phelps, this was his third consecutive gold medal in the medley relay, which he had also done in the 4×200 free relay, and in two individual events, the 100 butterfly, and 200 IM. He finished with 22 medals, 18 gold medals, 13 individual medals, and 11 individual gold medals, all Olympic bests. In London he won six medals, and four gold medals. And so it ended, the Olympic career of Michael Fred Phelps, II.