The Americans came into the men's 4x200m freestyle relay as heavy favorites, and it was obvious why when the U.S. outpaced the field to take the gold medal on Tuesday. Not only was the win dominant, it was also record-setting -- it gave Michael Phelps his 19th medal, making him the most decorated Olympian of all time, in any sport.
Team USA finished in 6:59.70, more than three seconds ahead of France, who had beaten the U.S. in the 4x100m relay on Sunday. China won bronze, finishing more than six seconds behind the Americans.
Ryan Lochte led off for the United States' team and took them out to an early lead in the first 100 meters, and then really extended that in his second 100m, giving the Americans almost a full-second advantage as Conor Dwyer took to the water for the second leg.
Dwyer extended the lead Lochte built to a full 2.13 seconds over Germany. Ricky Berens used the third leg to increase the lead to 3.88 seconds before handing it off to Phelps for an anchor leg that amounted to a coronation of sorts. It only seemed fitting that Phelps' record-setting 19th medal would be gold.
Perhaps even more fitting? Phelps' split was the fastest among the four American swimmers.