Maybe all this simply was too much for 19-year-old Katie Hoff, even if she won't admit it.
Talk of gold medals and a sack full of medals. Five individual events -- none shorter than 200 meters -- and a relay. Two finals, the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley, within 58 minutes of each other Wednesday morning.
Not matter what she has done, it somehow hasn't been quite enough.
She was fourth in both her Wednesday races, breaking her own U.S. record in the 200 free and swimming slower than she had three times earlier this year in the 200 IM.
Hoff also had been slower than her season-best times in the first two events, the 400 IM and 400 freestyle, but won bronze and silver medals.
Although Hoff insisted after the 200 IM she was not disappointed, she stayed to answer questions in the mixed zone for just 38 seconds before walking away.
"I got an American record in my 200 free,'' she said. ``I wasn't as fast as I wanted in the 200 IM, but I did my best.''
She also would not say the work load was too heavy. Neither would her personal coach, Paul Yetter.
"I did this double at the (Olympic) trials, so I was confident I could pull it off here," Hoff said of her Wednesday races.
She has the 800 free relay and 800 freestyle remaining.
"Part of the thing with Katie is she has a lot of chances to do well, and that is part of the reason she enters such a big program,'' Yetter said.
"I think she is capable of doing anything she wants. Right now, she is having a good meet.''
In the 200 free Italy's Federica Pellegrini won with a world-record time.
It was one of six world records set Wednesday, bringing the Olympic meet total to 16.
Hoff's 200 free time of 1 minute, 55.78 was one-tenth better than her previous best but far behind Pellegrini's 1:54.82.
Sara Isakovic of Slovenia won silver in 1:54.97, and China's Pang Jiaying bronze in an Asian record 1:55.05.
Hoff was third at the 50, 100 and 150 splits but could not hold the slim lead she had over Pang at the final turn.
"It's a faster meet than any other Olympics,'' Yetter said.
She also was third at 50 and 100 in the individual medley but teammate Natalie Coughlin passed her for the bronze.
"The 200 IM, she (Hoff) had to take a chance and get out there (fast),'' Yetter said. "Otherwise, you risk getting drowned in the waves.
"At some point you have to take a chance to win, or to medal.''
Stephanie Rice of Australia won in yet another world record, 2:08.45. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe set an African record (2:08:59), while Coughlin clocked 2:10:34 and Hoff, 2:10.68.
"She's a stud who swam many, many events and many unusual doubles,'' Coughlin said of Hoff. ``But the 200 free and 200 IM, she would be tired.''
"It's so hard,'' Hoff said of the Olympic meet after the 400 free. "People say, `Don't worry about it, think of it as just another meet.' It's not just another meet.'''
And it came not long after the demanding U.S. Olympic trials, when both she and Michael Phelps and Hoff won five demanding individual events.
"Our Olympic trials are so hard,'' said 1964 Olympic champion Donna DeVarona. "If you had to peak there, it is very fatiguing and difficult to get that peak back.
"Michael didn't peak at trials, and you can see what he is doing here.''
Philip Hersh writes for the Chicago Tribune.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times