From left, Missy Franklin, Dana Vollmer, Shannon Vreeland and Canton's Allison Schmitt pose with their gold medals today. (AP Photo/) / Michael Sohn/AP
LONDON (Detroit Free Press) - Allison Schmitt pushed the United States in front in the anchor leg to win the 4x200-meter freestyle relay at the London Olympics on Wednesday.
The Americans clocked an Olympic-record 7 minutes, 42.92 seconds.
Australia led by a half-second entering the anchor leg but had to settle for silver in 7:44.41.
France touched third in 7:47.49.
Schmitt chased down Australia's Alicia Coutts for the gold. She dove in the water about a half-second behind but passed Coutts on their first return lap.
"It was neck-and-neck the whole race," said Schmitt. "I just wanted to bring up the energy and bring home the gold tonight in the relay."
Schmitt is turning into one of the biggest American stars of the games, picking up her second gold to go along with a silver and a bronze. Seventeen-year-old Missy Franklin also claimed her second gold swimming the leadoff leg, and Dana Vollmer now has two golds in London. Shannon Vreeland rounded out the gold medal-winning quartet.
"Allison is a fighter and she can push through anything," Franklin said. "We had total faith in her."
The relay swimmers danced on deck to a Rihanna song before the session, then took that relaxed demeanor into the race. When the Americans fell behind, they didn't panic.
"I had confidence in them," Schmitt said, "and I just wanted to bring it home for them."