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Adrian leads US gold rush in pool

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LONDON — Nathan Adrian claimed the title of the world’s fastest man on water when he won the 100m freestyle gold medal by a fingernail at the London Olympics on Wednesday.

American teenager Missy Franklin then captured her second gold medal of the Games on a dramatic night of swimming that saw two world records broken and the host-nation make a rare appearance on the medal podium at the Aquatic Centre.

In a desperate finish to the 100 freestyle sprint, Adrian got his fingers on the wall ahead of Australian world champion James Magnussen by 0,01 seconds, the closest margin to a dead-heat in Olympic swimming.

It was impossible to split the pair with the naked eye, but Adrian, the first American to win swimming’s premier event in nearly a quarter of a century, was awarded the gold in a time of 47,52secs with Magnussen second in 47,53.

Canada’s Brent Hayden was third in a classic race where the eight finalists were separated by less than a second.

“I almost started crying in the water. This is something that happens every four years,” said Adrian, the first American to win the event since Matt Biondi in 1988.

“It’s not who swims the fastest time this year, but it’s who can get their hands on the wall first here tonight.”

Magnussen went into the Olympics as the favourite after winning the world title last year and boasting that he would win, but said he had learnt a painful lesson.

“I just felt pretty much bullet proof coming into this Olympics and it is very humbling,” he said.

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