Matt Grevers of the United States set an Olympic record to win the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the London Olympics on Monday.
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Grevers finished in 52.16 seconds, 0.38 ahead of the previous mark set by fellow American Aaron Peirsol at the 2008 Beijing Games.
"This is just an incredibly fast Olympics," Grevers said. "To win six of them is a really hard thing to accomplish. Your body’s going to get tired. It’s not just a physical strain, it’s an emotional strain to try to get up and compete every time."
Nick Thoman, another American, was second in 52.9.
The 6-foot-8 Grevers pulled off a rally on his return lap, winning the 100 back in 52.16 — the fifth straight Olympics, dating to the 1996 Atlanta Games, that the U.S. men have won the backstroke. Thoman joined his teammate on the medal podium at 52.97, 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."