Aug. 4, 2012
LONDON - Former Auburn swimmers Tyler McGill and Eric Shanteau earned gold medals, and former Tiger Matt Targett won a bronze medal as the swimming competition at the 2012 London Olympics came to a close Saturday night at the Aquatics Centre.
McGill (USA), Shanteau (USA) and Targett (Australia) all earned their medals as part of their respective countries' 4x100-meter medley relay team. McGill and Shanteau swam the prelims for Team USA, and Targett swam both the prelims and finals for Australia.
Along with Cesar Cielo's bronze in the men's 50-meter freestyle Friday, former Auburn swimmers captured a total of four medals in London. Today's medals marked the 48th, 49th and 50th medals earned by Auburn athletes - all sports - in Olympic history, dating back to 1932. A total of 31 of those 50 medals have been won by swimmers.
The United States team won their 13th straight men's 4x100 medley relay at the Olympics, giving McGill and Shanteau gold medals as they swam in the preliminary heat of the race on Friday. The U.S. team of Matt Grevers, Brendan Hansen, Michael Phelps and Nathan Adrian ran away from the field to touch first in a textile-best 3:29.35, almost two full seconds ahead of Japan.
It marked the first career Olympic medals for McGill and Shanteau, making them the 28th and 29th different Auburn athletes to win Olympic medals. They are the 13th and 14th different swimmers to earn medals.
At least one Auburn swimmer has been involved in the winning U.S. 4x100 medley relay five times. Rowdy Gaines won the last of his three gold medals in 1984 (Los Angeles), John Hargis was part of the winning squad in 1996 (Atlanta), Mark Gangloff swam the breaststroke for the Americans in 2004 (Athens) and 2008 (Beijing), and McGill and Shanteau joined that group today.
Australia, featuring Targett on the butterfly leg, finished third to win the bronze medal in a time of 3:31.58, just .32 seconds behind silver medal-winning Japan. Sitting in fifth place after the breaststroke leg, Targett's butterfly split of 51.60 brought the Aussies up to fourth place, and a stellar closing kick from James Magnussen in the freestyle pulled Australia ahead of Hungary into third place.
Targett now has three career Olympic medals with two coming in the 4x100 medley relay. He was part of the silver medal-winning Australian team in 2008 (Beijing), and he also won bronze with the 4x100 freestyle relay that same year.
A fourth former Tiger, Adam Brown, narrowly missed the medal stand as host nation Great Britain finished fourth in the final with a 3:32.32. The Brits were in sixth place with the freestyle leg still remaining, but a split of 47.91 from Brown propelled them into fourth, just behind the Australians.
Senior Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace wrapped up her Olympic run and her Auburn career with an eighth-place finish in the women's 50m freestyle final, clocking a 24.69 in the final women's individual race of the Games. It was .05 shy of her time in the semifinals, but history was made as she was the first-ever Bahamian swimmer to advance to an Olympic final.
Saturday's finals marked the final night of swimming competition at the 2012 London Olympics. Track and field competition began Friday with 12 current and former Auburn athletes competing for their respective countries. Follow @AUTrack and #AUOlympics on Twitter for updates throughout the rest of the London Games.
Saturday's Auburn Olympic Swimming Results
Women's 50m Freestyle - Final
8. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH) - 24.69
Men's 4x100m Medley Relay - Final
1. United States (Matt Grevers, Brendan Hansen*, Michael Phelps*, Nathan Adrian) - 3:29.35
3. Australia (Hayden Stoeckel, Christian Sprenger, Matt Targett, James Magnussen) - 3:31.58
4. Great Britain (Liam Tancock, Michael Jamieson, Michael Rock, Adam Brown) - 3:32.32
*Eric Shanteau & Tyler McGill also earn medals by swimming in prelims