LONDON – She's 16 years old, and for 50 meters on Saturday night, she swam faster than U.S. superstar Ryan Lochte. And now China's Ye Shiwen is at the center of some controversial buzz at the Aquatics Center of these Olympic Games.
Shiwen smashed the world record in the women's 400-meter IM and took gold Saturday night, torching the final 100 meters in the event and coming from behind to beat U.S. 400 IM champion Elizabeth Beisel. Shiwen shaved more than a second off Australian Stephanie Rice's world record in her win, finishing at 4:28.43. But it was her final 100 meters – the freestyle leg of the event – that raised eyebrows. Not only did Shiwen go virtually stroke-for-stroke with Lochte – who had won gold in the men's 400 IM earlier in the night – she beat Lochte in the final 50 meters.
Shiwen went 28.93 in her final 50 and 58.68 in her final 100 of her 400 IM. Lochte went 29.10 in his final 50. And the final 100 meters of the pair? Lochte went 58.65 to Shiwen's 58.68. That was such intriguing fodder that when Lochte was in the mixed zone Sunday morning, he said Shiwen had been a topic of conversation the previous night.