The United States women's squad weren't going to leave the pool in London without one final gold, so they went out and set a world record in the 4x100 medley relay.
There was no conceivable way to imagine the United States squad wouldn't get gold in the event: MIssy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Allison Schmitt, and Dana Vollmer had all won gold in their respective 100m individual events, including three world record performances, and here they were on the same relay team. Sure enough, the team's 3:52.05 set a three-year-old record set by a bodysuit-clad Chinese team in the 2009 Worlds by .14 seconds.
The United States trailed -- briefly -- after 50 meters, as Australia's Emily Seebohm beat Franklin across the first length of the pool in the backstroke. But Franklin turned the jets on to take a .49-second lead after 100 meters. Her 58.50 second split wasn't quite as fast as the 58.33 that set a world record in her gold-medal victory, but not bad. The medley was Franklin's fourth gold of the Olympics -- she seems pretty pleased about that:
"I honestly couldn't think of a better way to end it," Franklin said. "It was so perfect in absolutely every way."
Next up was Rebecca Soni in the breaststroke, who extended USA's lead to .79 seconds.
"Tonight it was really special to share it with Dana and with Allison and Missy," said Soni, who won gold and silver in the 200 and 100 breaststroke events. "It was just incredible. I know we were so close last year in Shanghai and to finally get it this year. It just kind of wrapped up the meet so perfectly for the U.S. women’s team."
Vollmer broke the race open after setting the world record in the 100m breaststroke. When she left the pool, the United States led by 2.68 seconds, and could coast to the medal. That left Schmitt -- the last swimmer named to the team -- with the world record as much on her mind as a win.
"I knew the other three girls already had their own world records and I wanted to join the club too," said Schmitt, who will return to school at the University of Georgia this fall after taking a year off to train for the Olympics. "On the last 50 (meters) I was actually kind of thinking about it. I could see we were ahead and I was like, ‘OK, come on, let's go.'"
Schmitt actually lost time against Australia's Melanie Schlanger, who cut the deficit to 1.97 seconds, but the United States had a sure gold, leaving the pool in London on a good note.