Kitsap County’s Nathan Adrian attempted Aug. 10 to be the first person to win back-to-back Olympic Games gold medals in the 100-meter freestyle since 1928.
The Bremerton swimmer, facing a pool of stiff competition, ultimately earned the bronze medal in the 100-meter freestyle final in Rio de Janeiro.
During the prelims the day before, Adrian finished fourth in his heat and qualified 16th out of 16, barely reaching the semi-finals. When asked why he struggled, he told NBC Sports, “I guess I was a little rusty.”
Although Adrian touched first in the first 50 meters, Kyle Chalmers of Australia boosted his closing to win gold with a time of 47.58. Peter Timmers of Belgium barely edged Adrian for the silver with a time of 47.8, while the American swam a 47.85 to claim his place on the podium.
“It actually felt pretty good, to be honest,” Adrian told NBC Sports after the race.
“Not my fastest time of the season, but I can’t be upset about that. I just came away with the bronze medal.”
Adrian won the 2012 gold medal in London by 0.1 seconds over Australia’s James Magnussen.
“I wanted it. We all wanted it,” he said. “That’s what makes the Olympics special. There’s eight guys in there that are going for gold. Kyle’s a young guy. He doesn’t have the opening speed that some of us do, but he certainly has the closing speed.”
Unlike the 2012 Olympics, Adrian will also race in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4×100 medley relay in Rio.
“I’m happy to have another medal,” he said to NBC. “I’m very satisfied.”
Adrian earlier in the week earned a gold medal anchoring the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay.
American Caeleb Dressel finished sixth with 48.02 in the 100-meter freestyle.
Adrian raced in the 50-meter freestyle prelims Thursday morning and qualified for the semi-finals with the second fastest time (21.37). He will race in the semi-final heat at 6 p.m. Aug. 11.