July 31, 2012
LONDON, United Kingdom -- Former University of Michigan men's swimmers Charlie Houchin (2007-10) and Davis Tarwater (2003-06) each earned Olympic gold medals for their preliminary swims in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay Tuesday (July 31), as Team USA prevailed in the finals to earn the first Michigan gold medal of the 2012 Olympic Games.
The 4x200-meter freestyle relay heats featured the Olympic debut for Houchin and Tarwater and the pair helped the United States qualify for the evening's event final with the fastest time during the morning heats. Houchin led off with a 1:48.22 split to give the Americans a slim 0.01-second edge on the field. Swimming the third leg, Tarwater inherited a 0.80-second advantage and stretched it to 2.43 seconds and two body lengths with a 1:47.33 split.
With a final time of 7:06.75, the Americans won their heat by 3.75 seconds over Australia and were nearly 2.5 seconds faster than the other heat winner, France (7:09.18).
The finals saw another swimmer with U-M ties in former volunteer assistant Michael Phelps swim the anchor leg of the relay final, leading the Americans to gold with a time of 6:59.70. The medal gives him 19 Olympic medals, the most all-time.
The trio of medals gives swimmers with U-M ties eight medals in the event since 2004, when Dan Ketchum also earned gold after swimming in preliminaries but not finals. Phelps and Peter Vanderkaay (2003-06) each earned gold medals in the relay at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
Contact: Scott Kemps (734) 763-4423