Riding high off his gold medal win over teammate and Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte had the lead going into the last lap of the 400-meter freestyle relay before the French team pulled away with the gold medal.
On Sunday night, the Americans looked to ride Lochte's upset victory over Phelps in the 400 individual medley on the opening night of the games, and win the 400-meter relay. The United States broke out the big guns in hopes of taking down the favored Australians. The Americans led off with Nathan Adrian, followed by Phelps and Cullen Jones, with Lochte taking the anchor leg.
Phelps bounced back after a disappointing performance on Saturday and gave the Americans a solid lead in the second leg, but it wasn't the Australians who dashed the hopes of Team USA.
When Lochte dove into the water on the anchor leg, he was a half-body length ahead of the field. It was the Frenchman Yannick Agnel who spoiled the party. Agnel pulled even with Lochte with 25 meters to go. Agnel touched in 3 minutes, 9.93 seconds, having gone exactly one second faster than Lochte over the last two laps as the Americans settled for silver.
"We just raced tough and we came up a little short," said Lochte.
Four years ago in Beijing, the roles were reversed as France led in the final leg of the lap in the same event before falling to the Americans who took home gold.
"Being able to be on the medal stand, isn't too bad though," said Phelps after receiving the silver medal.
Phelps got his 17th career medal and first silver medal of his career. He also moved a step closer to becoming the most decorated Olympian ever, just one away from tying the mark for most career medals held by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina. Phelps still has five more events to go in London.
"At least I'm in a medal today," Phelps said ruefully, referring to a fourth-place finish in his first race of the London games.
The pool at the 2012 Olympics in London has been the place to be as all eyes have focused on the rivalry between Team USA teammates Phelps and Lochte.
Today's swimming schedule includes the men's synchronized 10-meter diving finals with U.S. hopefuls David Boudia and Nick McCrory. Also, it's the 200-meter men's freestyle and the 100-meter men's backstroke. On the women's side, it's the 100-meter women's backstroke finals where 17-year-old Missy Franklin hopes to bring home a gold medal for the U.S.