LONDON — Her best race came on opening day, when Elizabeth Beisel took the silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley behind China’s Ye Shiwen, who set a world record. All she wanted out of Friday’s 200 backstroke was a place in the final and a shot at a medal. So she wasn’t quibbling with a bronze in a race where teammate Missy Franklin set the world record.
“For me to come top three is really something special,” said the Saunderstown, R.I., native after she’d made the podium in a race where she finished fifth in Beijing four years ago. “I can’t really complain about a bronze.”
Not when Beisel was in sixth place after 50 meters and in fourth coming off the final turn. There was no way she was going to catch Franklin, whose 2:04.06 effort took down the 2:04.81 mark that two-time defending champion Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe set in 2009. “Do you know how fast you just went?” Beisel, who represents the Bluefish Swim Club in Attleboro, Mass., asked her teammate. “Oh my God, that was amazing. She’s awesome.”
But Beisel was able to run down Great Britain’s Elizabeth Simmonds down the stretch to place behind Russia’s Anastasia Zueva in 2:06.55 and put two Americans on the podium in the event for the first time since 1972. “In 2008 I came home without a medal,” said the Florida junior. “This time I’m coming home with two.”