Saturday's final of the men's 1500m freestyle was an enthralling 14 minutes and change. In the end, Sun Yang smashed his own world record by over three seconds to take home the gold medal for China. Connor Jaeger of the United States came in sixth and failed to medal.
The overwhelming favorite in the longest pool swimming event at the Olympic Games nearly got disqualified before the race even began. Just before the starting buzzer, when the swimmers were up on their blocks, Yang dove into the pool early. The scare only lasted a few moments, as the officials determined the false start was a result of crowd noise and not the fault of the swimmer, thus not necessitating a disqualification.
As the race began, Canadian swimmer Ryan Cochrane and Taehwan Park of Korea both kept pace with Yang, but Yang opened up a lead in short order and remained under the world record split for the duration of the grueling race. Yang held a lead of several lengths and sprinted the last two lengths of the pool to capture the gold and set the new world record at 14:31.02. Cochrane took the silver, finishing nearly nine seconds behind Yang. Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia captured the bronze.