Conor Dwyer, whose father Patrick emigrated to the United States from Co. Galway before the 23 year-old was born, has won an Olympic gold medal with the United States 4x200m freestyle relay team.
Michael Phelps will get all the headlines though as he won silver in the 200m butterfly and capped off the night by anchoring the US team to that gold with a time of 6mins 59.70secs – more than three seconds to spare over the French in that aforementioned 4x200m freestyle relay on Tuesday.
Ryan Lochte, who would win his fifth Olympic gold medal at the end of the race, swam the leadoff leg, followed by Dwyer and Ricky Berens.
In the 200m fly, Phelps had led right up until the last five metres of the race but finished .05 seconds behind South Africa’s Chad le Clos, who shouted and slapped the water in celebration when the 20 year-old realized he had pipped his idol.
Tuesday’s 200m fly race was similar to the 100m fly race four years ago in Beijing, when Phelps barely edged Milorad Cavic, getting to the touchpad just .01 seconds ahead of the Serbian swimmer.
Against le Clos, Phelps appeared to glide to the finish. It probably cost the 27 year-old the gold as le Clos powered into the touchpad with one, final, lung busting thrust.
With the silver medal, Phelps equalled the record for most Olympic medals with a total of 18 gold, silvers or bronze.
He matched former Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina, who won 18 medals, nine of them gold, at Melbourne in 1956, Rome in 1960 and Tokyo in 1964.
Phelps had less than one hour to rest before the men’s 4x200m relay and duly added his 19th medal.
Phelps’ medal count stands at 15 gold, two silver and two bronze. He won the other silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay also this year. His anchor leg of the 4x200m relay was his final act as an Olympian.
The gold medal (and the fastest time of the year) was a fitting way for history’s greatest swimmer to bow out.