LONDON (AP) — Matt Grevers of the United States, who lives in Tucson and trains with Ford Aquatics, set an Olympic record to win the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the London Olympics on Monday.
Grevers finished in 52.16 seconds, 0.38 ahead of the previous mark set by fellow American Aaron Peirsol at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Nick Thoman, another American and a former University of Arizona swimmer, was second in 52.92, and Ryosuke Irie of Japan was third in 52.97.
The 6-foot-8 Grevers gave the U.S. its fifth consecutive gold medal in the 100 back, dating back to the 1996 Atlanta Games. Thoman joined his teammate on the medal podium, a finish they were thinking about all along.
“Going into the ready room, we were both just sitting there and we shared a look and shared a thought,” Thoman said. “I think that was in both of our heads.”
Grevers didn’t notice right away that Americans took the top two spots.
“I must be selfish because it took me a good 10 seconds to realize he got second,” Grevers quipped. “That’s something I should do right away. But when I noticed, that moment became much more special. To know that we can go 1-2 in that event, again really shows the USA’s dominance in backstroke right now when we’re able to step up.”
Japan’s Ryosuke Irie was third in 52.97.
“I’ve been watching the Olympics for as long as I can remember,” Thoman said. “The first one I really remember is the ’92 Barcelona Games and just watching guys back then. Seeing Lenny Krayzelburg, my idol, and then Aaron Piersol, again my idol, who I got to train with for a little while. Just being able to carry on that tradition, it’s a great thing.”