Phelps, Lochte all the Talk, but Unsung add to Medal Count

By: Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY
By: Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY

LONDON - So much of the talk at these Games has been about Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin. Big names who have put on even bigger performances.

The USA's Dana Vollmer poses with her gold medal after winning the women's 100-meter butterfly with a world-record time of 55.98 seconds.

Nearly halfway through the Olympic swimming events, the Americans have won 12 medals total: four gold medals, five silver and three bronze. China, second in the swimming medal count, has five total medals.

Lochte has a 400 IM gold and a 4x100 relay silver. Franklin has 4x100 freestyle relay bronze and 100 backstroke gold. Somewhat surprisingly, none of the U.S. gold medals belongs to Phelps. So who's winning them?

Men like Matt Grevers in the 100-meter backstroke. Women like Dana Vollmer, who set a world record when she won the 100-meter butterfly.

Silvers and bronzes have gone to swimmers casual fans likely haven't heard of, like Nick Thoman and Elizabeth Beisel.

This American team is strong - and deeper than most think. Tuesday morning's preliminary heats show that.

Nathan Adrian was the top qualifier in the 100-meter freestyle prelims in 48.19 seconds, .19 ahead of the top 100 freestyler in the world, Australia's James Magnussen.

"48.1 has never felt easier, so that was nice," said Adrian, who added that he expected the other swimmers to be rested and significantly faster at Wednesday's final.

Cullen Jones also cruised through his 100 free heat, qualifying ninth for Tuesday night's semifinals in his first individual Olympic event.

On the women's side, Kathleen Hersey was the top qualifier in the women's 200-meter butterfly in 2:06.41, nearly a half-second faster than she swam the event at trials last month.

"I was trying to have a good, solid morning swim," Hersey said. "I didn't feel I went into that last gear. The emotions take you through so much the first half. The only thing you have to think about is that last 50 meters."

Clark Burckle qualified sixth and Scott Weltz seventh for the 200-meter breaststroke semis Tuesday night.

Finally, the group of Charlie Houchin, Matthew McLean, Davis Tarwater and Conor Dwyer earned the USA the top seed in Tuesday night's 4x200-meter freestyle relay final. Phelps and Lochte will swim in the final.

"Those guys get a lot of our medals … but at the end of the day, we're all members of Team USA," Thoman said after winning his silver medal.

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