Fifty meters from a gold medal, former Lawrence resident and current U.S. swimmer Michael Andrew led by a giant margin in the men’s 200 meter individual medley final Thursday evening at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
But the final 50 meters are a known flaw in Andrew’s medley swim. They were no different on the biggest stage in swimming.
Andrew faded fast in the final length of the medley — the freestyle leg — and wound up finishing fifth in a time of 1:57.31, making him 0 for 2 in medals after a fourth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke final Sunday.
The gold medal was won by Wang Shun of China (1:55.00), silver by Great Britain’s Duncan Scott (1:55.28) and bronze by Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches (1:56.17). The podium breaks a four-Games streak of American gold medals in the event, all of which were won by Michael Phelps.
Andrew, who entered the final with the fastest 200 medley time in the world this year (1:55.26), led by over a second after 150 meters Thursday after rapid legs in the butterfly (24.21), backstroke (30.30) and breaststroke (32.11). But his freestyle split of 30.69 allowed the rest of the pack to catch and overtake him.
Andrew and his family formerly lived and trained in Lawrence but eventually moved to Encinitas, California. He has one event remaining in his Olympics, the 50 freestyle, of which heats begin Friday morning Central time.