Making an early splash

robert gauthier/mct Ryan Lochte of the United States shows off his gold medal won in the 400m Individual Medley during the 2012 Summer Olympics at the Aquatics Centre on Saturday, July 28, 2012 in London, England.

Continuing coverage at postandcourier.com/olympics.

Ryan Lochte won the 400- meter individual medley, China collected a couple of gold medals and Australia set an Olympic record while winning the women's 400 freestyle relay.

Oh, and Michael Phelps went without a medal in an Olympic race for the first time since 2000.

It was quite the opening night at the pool.

After barely qualifying for the final, Phelps struggled to a fourth-place finish and was denied his 17th career Olympic medal. When it was done, he could barely get out of the pool.

Lochte took the gold with a time of 4 minutes, 5.18 seconds. Brazil's Thiago Pereira (4:08.86) settled for silver, while Japan's Kosuke Hagino (4:08.94) claimed the bronze.

“I think I'm kind of in shock right now,” Lochte said. As for his defeated rival Phelps, “I know he gave it everything he had. That's all you can ask for.”

The women's 400 IM went to 16-year-old Ye Shiwen, who set a world record with a time of 4:28.43. It was the third mark to fall since high-tech bodysuits were banned at the end of 2009.

American Elizabeth Beisel took silver and China's Li Xuanxu grabbed the bronze.

Sun Yang flirted with a world record in the men's 400 free. He took gold in 3:40.14, just off the mark of 3:40.07 by Germany's Paul Biedermann in a rubberized suit three years ago.

American Peter Vanderkaay took the bronze in 3:44.69.

Australia finished the 400-free relay in 3:33.15, Netherlands won the silver and the Americans got bronze.

The U.S. finish was enough to deliver a 12th medal to Natalie Coughlin, who matched Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson for most decorated U.S. female Olympian. Coughlin swam in the morning prelims, but wasn't used in the evening; everyone who swims on a relay gets a medal.

After hosting a dazzling opening ceremony Friday night, Britain got off to a shaky start on the first full day of action when favored cycling star Mark Cavendish finished 28th in the road race.

Kazakhstan's Alexander Vinokourov, who has said he will retire from cycling after the games, won gold. Rigoberto Uran of Colombia took silver, and Alexander Kristoff of Norway won a mass sprint for the bronze.

Wimbledon champions Roger Federer and Serena Williams each won their openers — one struggled, one didn't.

Federer, a four-time Olympian, overcame a jittery patch and beat Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. The top-ranked Swiss star was a point from victory in the second set, then lost three of his next four service games. But he recovered in time to avoid the upset.

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama watched from the front row of Williams' box as the fourth-seeded American beat former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-1 on Centre Court.

Cavendish and his troubles aside, his countrymen got off to a terrific start in men's gymnastics — almost as good as the United States.

While perennial powerhouses China and Japan bobbled and wobbled their way through qualifying, the Americans proved they really do have the goods to contend for the gold medal. They didn't count a single fall, and their final score of 275.342 is almost three points ahead of Britain.

Britain, which was only good enough to send two gymnasts to Beijing four years ago, got a spectacular pommel horse by Louis Smith and finished with a score of 272.420.

Maybe it was first-game nerves or a hangover from the opening ceremony. But the U.S. had to overcome a sloppy performance to post an 81-56 win over Croatia in its first game.

Coach Geno Auriemma had said he was hoping the Americans could play a style of basketball that would be entertaining and help grow the women's game internationally. That didn't happen.

The U.S., which got back to its hotel at 3 a.m. after the kickoff party, struggled for the first three quarters before winning its 34th consecutive Olympic game.

Next up for the Americans is Angola, which lost to Turkey 72-50 in its Olympic debut.

The U.S. women clinched a spot in the quarterfinals and remembered an injured teammate in a 3-0 victory over Colombia.

Megan Rapinoe scored in the 33rd minute for the Americans. After her goal, she reached into her sock and pulled out a birthday message for Ali Krieger, who blew out her knee in a qualifying match in January.

Abby Wambach made it 2-0 in the 74th, and Carli Lloyd scored in the 77th.

The Olympics' sexiest sport opened with a raucous debut, mixing in a little local flair with all of the more traditional trifles that have made the event one of the most sought-after tickets in London (though Sir Paul McCartney managed to get one for the afternoon session).

A dance team in bathing suits jiggled for the sold-out crowd during timeouts, while rock music nearly drowned out the pealing of Big Ben.

Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May- Treanor, who are trying for a third consecutive gold medal, beat Australians Tasmin Hinchley and five-time Olympian Natalie Cook in the final match 21-18, 21-19. The No. 2 U.S. men's team of Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb needed just 33 minutes to put away South Africans Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt.

Americans Joseph Diaz Jr. and Terrell Gausha posted impressive victories on the first day of the boxing competition.

Diaz looked sharp in a 19-9 victory over Ukraine bantamweight Pavlo Ishchenko in the tournament's opening bout, while Gausha knocked down Armenian middleweight Andranik Hakobyan twice in the final 7 seconds of his middleweight bout, winning by stoppage with no time on the clock.

Destinee Hooker had 21 points and the U.S. held off late-charging South Korea 3-1 in their opening match.

The fans at Earls Court chanted “Des-tin-ee! Des- tin-ee!” at one point as she dominated in the 25-19, 25-17, 20-25, 25-21 victory.

The U.S. won the silver medal in Beijing and is ranked No. 1 in the world.

Australia took the early lead in Olympic equestrian eventing at Greenwich Park, with Germany and the United States close behind.

Half the 50 riders rode their dressage test that starts the three-phase competition, which includes cross-country and show jumping.