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Olympics, Swimming: Flash United States Crushes World Record in 400 Free Relay, Eamon Sullivan Claims 100 Free Global Standard -- August 10, 2008

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 11. THIS sport has witnessed so many sensational duels over the years that it wouldn't be fair to call one better than the rest. Still, the men's 400 free relay certainly would be a strong candidate. Simply put, it was a race for the ages and included a finish that will be difficult to better.

For the past few months, much had been made about the impending showdown between the United States and France. While the U.S. owned the world record from the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships, the French had put together a squad that looked capable of extending the Americans' gold-less streak in the event to a third Olympiad.


Almost, but not quite.

Staring at a .59 deficit when he hit the water for the anchor leg, Jason Lezak delivered the best split in the event's history, a 46.06 that allowed him to track down Alain Bernard and give the U.S. the gold in a world-record time of 3:08.24. Heading into the final 50, Lezak still trailed Bernard by nearly a body length. But the veteran freestyler and relay stalwart continually cut into Bernard's lead and managed to reach the wall a nick in front. France went 3:08.32 and five teams broke the previous world record of 3:12.23. The Australians, with Eamon Sullivan's world-record leadoff of 47.24, were third in 3:09.91.

Michael Phelps and Amaury Leveaux opened the event for their countries, with Phelps going an American-record time of 47.51 to the 47.91 of the Frenchman. Garrett Weber-Gale followed for the U.S. in 47.02, slightly outsplitting Fabien Gilot and his 47.05. The French took the lead on the third leg when Fred Bousquet split 46.63 to the 47.65 of Cullen Jones. That left major work for Lezak, who handled his chore sensationally.

"Before the race we all new the way the French had swum in the prelims that when they added their best two guys, it was going to be tight race," Lezak said. "They had talked a lot about it, and we would just rather do it in the pool. They pulled that time off without their best two guys. I knew it was going to come down to the end, and I was hoping to be ahead, but I never lost hope. I don't know how I was able to take it back that fast, because I've never been able to come anywhere near that for the last 50.

"I can't even explain it, it was unreal. I've been a part of the two teams at the last two Olympics that came out behind, and I think I wanted it more than anybody, not just for myself, but to show that we are the nation to be beat in that relay."

If Phelps can win the eight gold medals he's chasing, he'll obviously have a thank-you card or present waiting for Lezak.

After Sullivan led off his world-record time, the Aussies turned to Andrew Lauterstein, Ashley Callus and Matt Targett to complete their bronze-medal run. Italy finished fourth in 3:11.48 while Sweden was fifth in 3:11.92. Rounding out the field were Canada (3:12.26), South Africa (3:12.66) and Great Britain (3:12.87). Prior to this year, no Olympic 400 free relay had been faster than 3:13. All eight of the finalists turned the trick.




Results: 2008 Olympic Games - Swimming

Premium Members - Search More About: Jason Lezak


Reaction Time Comments

August 10, 2008 OH MY GOD!!!!!!! WOW!
Submitted by: paddles
August 10, 2008 OMG JASON LEZEK. 46.06 greatest relay i have ever seen in my life. the greatest one in history. amazing.
Submitted by: WUswimmer
August 10, 2008 wow
Submitted by: Swimmer Bill
August 10, 2008 I can't wait to see this later tonight! Now Jason will get the respect he deserves!
Submitted by: paddles
August 10, 2008 Great swim in history... Phelps owes a large portion of his $1mil to each member, especially Jason Lezak.
Submitted by: bob
August 10, 2008 I think my neighbors may come over to make sure nobody is being killed in my house. I was screaming THAT loud!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!
Submitted by: Ako
August 10, 2008 That race had everything. World Record in the 100 - 47.24 by Sullivan, Phelps setting the American Record in the 100 - 47.51, one hundredth off the old WR, the fastest relay split in history, by a lot, 46.06 by Lezak, and the time, 4 seconds under the old world record, 3:08.24 from 3:12.5. Wow.
Submitted by: teamwiess
August 10, 2008 I hope we finally have a chance in the 100 free. That split is out of this world. It also might keep Phelps off the medley relay, unless he wins the 100 fly.

Those of us on the west coast won't see the LIVE FINALS for two more hours. I am going to write NBC and every one of their advertisers.

Submitted by: Brasse
August 10, 2008 That. Was. Insane.
I truly feel bad for those who have to wait and see it tape delay!

My uncle in Seattle is watching a Canadian channel.. I'm getting live in Korea and lovin' it!
Submitted by: Hodori88
August 10, 2008 Lezak deserves to be king for a day after that. Mind boggling. He split 21.5 on his feet?!? Lordy, he is the one to beat in the 100 now. Humble pie served cold to the French,
Submitted by: jim
August 10, 2008 Crazy! How Crazy? In 2004, the same 4 members of the South Africa squad won gold with a time of 3:13.17 to crush the world record. Now, not only does RSA improve to 3:12.66, but they only get 7th place. The entire heat of 8 teams (32 swimmers) all go under the 2004 world record and gold medal time. I can't believe the world has improved this much.
Submitted by: onebigdog
August 10, 2008 As much as I do not like Kitijima as a human being, he has the best technique for the existing rules. He is so streamlined even in the 100 meters that his last split of 30.88 is amazing.

He has the potential of 58.5, if he went out in 27.6, which he could do.

What's next in the 200 breast? Could we see a 2:06?
Submitted by: Brasse
August 10, 2008 NBC SUCKS!!!!!!!!
Submitted by: paddles
August 10, 2008 Crazy! How Crazy? In 2004, the same 4 members of the South Africa squad won gold with a time of 3:13.17 to crush the world record. Now, not only does RSA improve to 3:12.66, but they only get 7th place. The entire heat of 8 teams (32 swimmers) all go under the 2004 world record and gold medal time. I can't believe the world has improved this much.
Submitted by: onebigdog
August 10, 2008 That relay was AWESOME!!!
How much fun was that.
As happy as I am to see the U.S. crush the hopes of the French after their bragging, did anyone see Bernairds 50 split???
21.2 TO THE FEET!!!!!
Holy crap!!!!
Don't think the 50 WR record is going to last either.
But it was all in vain. USA prevails.
Submitted by: rcoach
August 10, 2008 It is so fitting to see Bernard lose his WR to Sullivan's leadoff and then choke on his own words in the last 10 meters. Truly the greatest swimming race I have ever watched. And Brasse, Phelps will be on that medley relay at night without any question...especially if it is for his 8th gold and history.
Submitted by: Crafto
August 10, 2008 Unless Jason wins the 100 free gold and breaks the world record....This COULD get very interesting. But I am hoping everyone cooperates for the best of the USA team rather than for personal glory and gain. From what I have witnessed with Michael, he would NEVER do anything to another for his own personal gain. He has waaaay too much class and honor.
Submitted by: paddles
August 10, 2008 the split for Lezak will no doubt have him included in the medley relay and Phelps will now swim the 100fly. Sucks for Crocker but you cant keep a 46.0 split off the team.
Submitted by: bob
August 10, 2008 I cannot believe that I am still sitting waiting to see the swimming and ESPECIALLY the free relay while so many of you have already had the fun of watching LIVE. AAAAHHHH!!!!! LOL
Submitted by: paddles
August 10, 2008 I simply cannot believe Lezak pulled that off. Veteran experience showed as he drafted a bit and the split was almost too unbelieveable.... that was easily the best relay since the 1984 olympic 800 free relay...actually it was better since he had to chase down the WR holder, not just hold him off. Lezak has redeemed himself and will be the hero of this olympics, period.
Submitted by: MrFixitOnline
August 10, 2008 Phelps can get a Gold by swimming in the prelims of the 400 MR. If the coaches put Lezak in free and Crocker in fly, they would put Phelphs in the prelims.

They are just now showing Bernards comments how they would CRUSH the USA.
Submitted by: Brasse
August 10, 2008 paddles i personally wouldnt have gotten online at all until it was showed hahaha cause i would be pissed right now knowing wut went down and not being able to see it. NBC sucks for not showing it live on the west coast, there is just no excuse. Bernard's 21.2 to the feet is out of control i dont know how that went down. If you look at my time predictions i wrote on the prelim article for all the guys on the US relay i was within .07 of each of their splits except for LEZAK! I was .84 off HAHAHA. I can't believe he just did that. Lezak is my new hero. amazing. i dont think any other race will be able to top that. that record is going to be there for a long time
Submitted by: WUswimmer
August 10, 2008 46.06 is amazing. Reminds me of the 1984 Games where whats-his-name beat "the Albatross" Micheal Gross to win in world record time in the 400 FR.
Submitted by: mauinick
August 10, 2008 Also in the 100 free lead off Hayden led off in 47.56. Now we have Bernard, Gilot, Hayden, GWG, Lezak, Magnini, Sullivan, Nystrand in the 100 free final in my opinion. That is going to be an INCREDIBLE FINAL. The 100 free has progressed so much in the past 4 years its just ridiculous. Its more than ridiculous actually, I don't think there's a word in the english language to describe how much it has progressed.
Submitted by: WUswimmer
August 10, 2008 Lezak totally pulled a Duncan Armstrong on Bernard on that 50-75m. part of the race. Brilliant!!! Just ride the hip and wear the big man down and then blow by him.

Submitted by: rcoach
August 10, 2008 In 4 years, Phelphs will be leading off in 46.5. he is just learning how to swim the 100 free. He won't have to swim that nasty 400 IM any more. Cullen Jones will be 47 low, as will Adrian. Can you say 3.06 in 2012!
Submitted by: Brasse
August 10, 2008 No kidding Brasse.
Check out all the first 50 splits of all the "100 Freestylers" and then look at Phelps first 50. Laughed my butt off when I saw that. 21.2, 21.7, 22.5 and so on.
Then there is Phelps all pokey and slow at 23 point....but even splitting the race basically. When he "learns" (???? with a new American Record and almost under the old World Record...."learns"???) to swim that race, it's going to get scary at how fast he might go.


Submitted by: rcoach
August 10, 2008 Since someone mentioned the medley relay, I just thought of a possible scenario...

Say Phelps wins everything before the 100 fly (6 golds) and Crocker has swum the medley relay prelim (for being 2nd at trials). Say Crocker beats Phelps in the 100 fly, do you think that he will return the favor from 4 years ago and yield his fly spot on the medley to Phelps so that he can get number 7? With a 46 flat relay split, Lezak's anchor spot on that relay should be solidified (unless he majorly chokes in the individual 100).
Submitted by: wub
August 10, 2008 So what happens if Crocker swims OK, but not great in prelims and semi-finals of 100 fly, Phelps takes it easy to (say both in 51.0 to 51.5 range); then one swims the prelims (Phelps in 2004 and everyone assumes 2008), and then the one who swam the prelims (Phelps?)pops an incredible time in the finals of the 100 fly to win by over 1 second (e.g. 49.6 - not impossible the way Phelps is swimming)- would you still give Crocker the fly leg in the final? I think crocker needs to show some evidence of a top notch time - he (as many of the other Texas crew (Hansen, Piersol) seem to be swimming par with past times while everyone else is going much faster. With Hansen off in breast, everyone now up with Piersol in back (and don't discount the chance that Grevers wins the 100 back in WR time - he is swimming very very well) - the US might need a low 49/high 48 fly split to win the Medley relay. I think its Crocker in the heats, Phelps in the final absent some storng times from Crocker in the heats.
Submitted by: VaSwimFan
August 10, 2008 OK, here is where it could get tricky. Do you know how much "influence" NBC will put on USA-S to have Phelps swimming that Fly leg if he is 7 for 7 going into the relay on the last night of swimming(which is a Friday night here....can you say HUGE ratings?) Primetime for history?
Don't get me wrong...Phelps has proven himself the consumate TEAM player, but not sure that the people pulling the strings where it count really are going to care about that.
And don't think that Crocker probably knows this all too well too. Be interesting to see how he handles things since there will be pressure on him as he now will become possibly an intricate part of history.
But let's not get too far ahead. There is still a little matter of the 200 IM and Mr. Lochte. Know he is getting out of the 200 Back but that didn't seem to bother him at Trials. Probably best to get through that event before things start sorting out for history.
And does anyone know who the Aussies have for their Flyer for the relay? With the Aussie guy almost breaking the world record in the 100 BK and then Rickard looking great in the BR and of course Sullivan now looks to be a player on anchor (remember that was 47.2 lead off...he will have a relay takeover then). But I can't think of their flyer? Anyone who can step up? Aussies are the only people I can think of who might even get close.
But I wonder what sort of pressure USA-S staff will be under if MP is 7 for 7? Crocker is such a class act too...be a darn shame if he gets the shaft because of politics. Stinks because if both swim bests and let's say for arguments sake, Crocker comes out on top that puts two of the classiest guys in our sports history in an awkard position.
Submitted by: rcoach
August 10, 2008 What was the point of morning final swims when they are not showed LIVE anywhere, including the east coast!
Submitted by: aguafans
August 11, 2008 WOOHOO!! I got so excited when Lezak started catching him at the end that when jumping up off the couch, I accidentally hit the remote by mistake, and somehow switched the channel to a Will and Grace rerun. Damn! By the time I got back to NBC, I saw the #1 bar just flipping out into the USA lane, #2 to France, and then Phelps and W-G screaming like psychotic King Kongs, with heroic Jones down for the ocunt....then my neighbor banged on the wall and my boyfriend and I suddenly realized we were yelling equally loud and psychoticly. SHOUT OUT TO ALAIN BERNARD FOR helping us win the race!!--don't you know you DON'T trash talk Phelps and live to tell? And we must have got in your head cause you let Lezak draft and even snuck a peek at him at the end. It doesn't matter what happens the rest of the week, the US team OWNS you and your relay mates forever now. I'm not usually a vindictive person but this was actually a redemption for the US when GHJ made the same mistake against Thorpe and the Ozzies in Sydney. BEST.....RELAY....EVER.....plus AB, you lost your 100 WR to poor Sullivan whose 47.24 got lost in the shuffle. I'd love to see Bernard swim his best time and still be out of the medals in the 100...is it possible?? Am I a terrible person for being so vindictive?? Sorry, but I'll bet this is how the team felt and why they won!! ;-) LEZAK: You will belong in an asterisk next to Phelps records of 8 GOLDS!!
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 11, 2008 Of course, to ruin my own argument, if MP is 7 for 7, that means he beat Crocker in the final. What I meant was if it was not a PB for both, if they are both a little off (but is that really going to happen?...probably not).
Submitted by: rcoach
August 11, 2008 Mauinick,

"What's his name?" who ran down the Albatross in the 4 x 200 in 1984 was Bruce Hayes, who later was one of the lead swimming administrators for the local swimming organizing committee at the Atlanta Olympics.

The thing that set this 4 x 100 relay ahead of the 1984 4 x 200(Hayes holding off Gross) and 2004 4 x 200 (Keller holding off Thorpe) and the 4 x 100 from Sydney (Thorpe holding off Hall) was the depth, with 5 teams under the existing world record, the top 8 faster than Athens gold and the same great battle for first.

This was the best.
Submitted by: dunc1952
August 11, 2008 To Mauinick: The Grossbusters relay in '84 was the 800. I still think that might be even better. Bruce Hayes came from behind on an even greater deficit than Lezak.

Also, I am starting to wonder if some people from this thread are forgetting that Phelps will get whatever medal US wins in the medley relay, whether he swims prelims or finals.
Submitted by: Park528
August 11, 2008 Park528, I will have to dust off the VCR tape, but I swear that Hayes had a lead going into the final split, then Gross cought him nearly immediately after diving in... Yes, it was an amazing feat for Hayes to hold on, but the 2008 relay was easily a more impossible feat - to start off .6 *behind* the world record holder and run him down - IMPOSSIBLE. Lezak etched himself in history, what an amazing man and a redemption with no equal.
Submitted by: MrFixitOnline
August 11, 2008 What a bloody brilliant race and what a fairy tale ending for the States! A come from behind win that's even more significant considering that 5 of the teams went under the former WR! And Phelps setting a new AR of 47.51 (just 0.01s slower than Bernard's former WR), not to mention Sullivan with his new 47.24 WR, and PBs from more than a few finalists! Even the French had the consolation of smashing the ER & previous WR with only 0.08s separating them from claiming the gold...

My only concern now is how an increasing number of fans in the international community (and I'm not referring to the French) are now apparently perceiving the natural exuberance and victory celebrations (in particular from Phelps after Lezak touched the wall and during the medals presentation) as so typical of ungracious American arrogance and "rubbing it in", exemplified by comments posted on boards worldwide such as this one: http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/showthread.php?t=476075

Nevertheless congratulations are in order for Lezak and his teammates for pulling off an incredible, riveting race of historic proportions, cheers!
Submitted by: IntlSwimming
August 11, 2008 MrFixit is right. The entire strategy of the 1984 relay was to try to get enough of a lead on Gross that Gross would swim a stupid race, wear himself out trying to catch Hayes and then die... allowing Hayes, swimming a smart race, to win.

That Lezak goes in a bodylength behind Bernard, and catches him... I'm still in shock.
Submitted by: Sphere
August 11, 2008 IntlSwimming:

No worries, we can take it, we're "big boys" and we're all well used to being hated by now. I did laugh REALLY hard at Phelps when he was screaming; his face and posture looked so over the top. I remember the same look on him in Athens when Keller outtouched Thorpe in the 4x200.

But honestly I think you saw the real unfiltered Phelps come out, who is normally cooped up behind that shy and goofy smile. Never mind the freakish body, there is an animal in that brain, and it's barely human in its intensity! ;-) (Kitajima's the same way I think. Hence the primal screams).

And to those who mistake vindication for arrogance, don't forget the original psychodrama: Phelps spent his childhood being tormented for his ADD, geeky demeanor and big ears, etc. His life in swimming has been one long and satisfying payback against them. Sadly for Bernard, he picked the wrong time and place to play the bully and reawaken those memories for Phelps, who then rallied his troops and left Bernard and his cronies with a nightmare they will unfortunately have in their brains for the rest of their lives. Moral of the story for Bernard:(courtesy of the Rubinoos): "So go ahead, put us down... One of these days we'll turn it around... Won't be long.. mark my words... Time has come, for revenge of the nerds...." ;-)

Submitted by: liquidassets
August 11, 2008 IntlSwimming, the site you mentioned is almost comical in how out of touch those people on there really are. People are actually complaining about the Americans celebration and saying that Phelps is self centered?! Pleeease! Why are you even reading this garbage in the first place. I wish I hadn't. A lot of immature hate filled commentary on it. What do people expect...that the Americans, who were underdogs and told by the French that they were going to be smashed would not feel a rush of sheer joy? ...and especially after the former world record holder is caught after being nearly 8 tenths of a second ahead at the 350 mark?
Submitted by: crafto
August 11, 2008 Re: IntlSwimming...

Arrogance? If the roles were reversed, I'm sure the French would've reacted in almost the same way. Or the Australians. Or the Italians.

Man, I'm thousands of miles away and I reacted like that :). And I'm not even American.
Submitted by: Sphere
August 11, 2008 I was happy to hear Mike Golic, who has a daughter that is a very good swimmer, from Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN, give this race its due and Phelps his due. As far as the comments on the link sent by IntlSwimming, let me give these people another reason to hate Americans...You're Idiots! Phelps is more than gracious when he blows the field away and breaks a world record, but your team just won the greatest realy race ever, he probably deserves to cheer a bit!
Submitted by: PhatMatt
August 11, 2008 Hayes had the lead going into the final leg...Gross caught him by the first wall but hayes refused to let Gross go and stayed at his hip. The last 50 Gross began to tie up and hayes accelerated into the wall and won by a finger tip.
Submitted by: paddles
August 11, 2008 I recall in 1984 Hayes had the lead. Gross caught up to him at the beginning of the last leg, and Hayes held him off. I don't think Hayes came from behind on that one...
Submitted by: Swimmer Bill
August 11, 2008 That relay made the top of Lezak's entire career. That was incredible to watch. Lezak swam great and he swam smart. Drafting off Bernard and then making the push just in time, incredible. That was the second best relay I have ever seen in my life. Echoing others above, the 800 Free Relay in 1984 was better, but not by much. And I bet Phelps was happier about that swim then he is/will be about any of his others. Exciting. Just great.
Submitted by: fever
August 11, 2008 The 4x100 free relay with Lezak's 46.0 anchor is every bit the equal of Hayes' anchor leg in '84. You cannot overstate Lezak's acheivement - I know I scared the bejezzus out of dogs with all my yelling and screaming. Harkening back to the '84 "Grossbusters;" Hayes went eyeball to eyeball with Gross for 200 meters in L.A. and never blinked - a true gut check. Lost in all the celebration was the fact that both Jeff Float and Dave Larsen overswam the first halves of their relay legs and carried pianos on their backs in each of their last 50s. Hayes had trained all summer to anchor that relay and was ready. Credit USA head coach Don Gambril for developing that strategy. The history of this sport has certainly added a new chapter - Beijing's Fab Four showed us again why swimming is a team sport afterall.
Submitted by: pastprime
August 11, 2008 In the future when we are stuck for an adjective that describes an incredible athletic feat, may I suggest we coin the term, "Lezakian?"
Submitted by: pastprime
August 11, 2008 I didn't mean to infer that Hayes was behind going into the final lap. But one can still have a deficit to make up anywhere in a race when behind the leader, right? I will have to pull out my tapes as well, but I thought Gross took the lead by the beginning of the second of the four laps.

Its no big deal.
Submitted by: Park528
August 11, 2008 as a french , i want to know if the intervieu of alain was in french or in english . because the phrase said by alain is out of caracter . the french there is a meaning called conditional: if he said in french : "nous pouvons battre les americains " it means "we can beat the americans" and not " we will beat the american". in france , we haven't had the famous intervieu of alain. congratulation to the usa , it was close!!!
Submitted by: maly
August 11, 2008 NBC is sure using Michael Phelps and Co. to hype their Olympic coverage. They promise live coverage in Ca. ,but it is actually delayed by many hours. Swimming west coast begins @10PM , the 400Fr relay showed after 11:30 PM. Using swimming as a bait to build their numbers, makes me feel used. If you want to let NBC know how you feel about the Olympic coverage, in particular, the much delayed SWIMMING coverage here is the NBC email address.
nbcolympicsfeedback@nbcuni.com

Submitted by: AGUAFANS
August 11, 2008 I always enjoy that when an athlete from another country aside from America shows emotion in winning it's either showing great enthusiasm in winning or is kind of joked about as an athlete getting a 'little carried away'....but is still shrugged off as 'oh well...they are just caught up in the moment'.
When an American athlete is shown with the same emotion, it's "obnoxious American bravado".
What a crock. Scream your head off Michael!!! Your relay just won the greatest swimming race of all time. If you didn't show emotion I would say there was something wrong with you. I have a bunch of friends who are not even from the U.S. who said they probably woke the neighborhood up screaming at the TV last night over that race.
Also, naysayers please remember, this guy gave up college swimming to go pro. He doesn't get that many chances to have relays that matter like a lot of these other guys do, so these relays have to be really special for him. And you see this emotion from the foreign guys who are on relays at NCAA's all the time.
One thing I thought interesting....don't know if this was planned or not, but never once did the US team when they were celebrating turn toward the French lane to celebrate and in turn possibly make it seem like they were taunting them at the end of the race. Maybe it was just where the U.S. contingent was sitting and they were focused there, but I thought that was a classy thing to do, not to give any guess to people that maybe they were gloating over the French.
Maybe just coincidence.
Submitted by: rcoach
August 11, 2008 I agree with you completely, rcoach. At the opening ceremony, when the Chinese in attendance ALL sang their national anthem loudly and passionately it was seen as beautiful. If we had done that in America in Atlanta (1996) or Los Angeles (1984), we would have been slaughtered in the press as being brash, arrogant, etc. Therefore, seeing Michael going nuts (even MORE than Athens after the 800 relay) made me feel satisfied FOR him as he was able to SHARE that moment with three teammates which obviously meant a great deal to him.
And by the way, the American relay showed so much class at the end. No where was there even a hint of "in your face" to the French competitors. I was so proud of those guys for much more than winning the Olympic title.
Submitted by: paddles
August 11, 2008 People who complain that Phelps was "American Showboating" are simply revealing their prejudice towards America. You simply do not hear about Kitajima, a clear "equivalent", if not more, over the top reaction. And who complained about Australia when they celebrated a few Olympics ago? South Africa? Nope. Just those "showboating" Americans.... Nah. Complaining about that is simply a mirror to showcase some deep prejudice and, dare we say, jealousy towards America that seeped through into an unfair reaction to a spectacular althletic performance and the natural emotional reaction from those who did it.
Submitted by: MrFixitOnline
August 11, 2008 Rcoach: I think you're absolutely right that no American swimmer last night was in your face with the French, but some people could mistake several seconds as being a little in your face. Go back through the race, if you taped it. When they review the reactions of the swimmers at the end of the race, Phelps DOES turn to HIS left, in the general direction of the lane with the French team (in other words, its when Phelps back is facing Weber-Gale's). It looks as though Phelps IS looking upward, and not right at the French. But if another country wanted to get critical, that gesture by Phelps, unintended of course, IS there. Again go through a replay of the reaction after the race. While Weber-Gale is facing the pool, Phelps is facing to his left.
Submitted by: Park528
August 11, 2008 based on all the waving to the seating area in general by the US racers after their event, one could conclude that the team in up to the right. Didn't they show Mrs Phelps up to the right?
Submitted by: Park528
August 11, 2008 I just don't think most us really understand what it must have been like to be in that situation and the emotion that BOTH teams were under. IF the French had won, and they had celebrated like that (in a classy manner) it would have been acceptable also, and although most Americans would not have liked the outcome, it would have been alright given the circumstances to celebrate such a historic win.
Phelps had to have known that with his beating Lochte in the 400IM that this was by far and away the biggest hurdle to 8. And maybe, just maybe in the back of his mind he had prepared for the fact that maybe 8 wasn't going to happen afterall.....then Lezak started storming home.....who wouldn't react that way knowing your Dream was alive and well? How psyched up would you get in a matter of about 30 meters. Because it was pretty tough there for a little while in the middle of that race.
Can't imagine the adreneline that must have gone through him in the last 25 meters of that race to realize "I really do have a chance at this" (8 that is). I think it's just human nature to plan for the worst, but secretly hope for the best and his hopes got pushed to the forefront last night at the end of that.

Submitted by: rcoach
August 11, 2008 pastprime: I have used Lezakian twice in the last five minutes. I love that! Also great comments about Don Gambril. I had the pleasure as an age-grouper to attend his camp and he would show us Hayes' anchor over and over and talk to us about race planning and strategy. Obviously Lezak had a great plan!
Submitted by: PhatMatt
August 11, 2008 Amen, rcoach....Amen.
Submitted by: paddles
August 11, 2008 Swimming is mostly an individual sport, no denying that, but how awesome is it that time after time, it's the relay when swimmers dig down and find their best, making huge drops in their times?
Submitted by: ABR
August 11, 2008 What was Czeh's PR before this?? I didn't remember him ever swimming it internationally before.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 11, 2008 Are you talking about the 200 fly?
Submitted by: Park528
August 11, 2008 ABR: Good point, and a reason I think that swimming could benefit from following the gymnastics format with all-around and event/team medals. Re: the latter, everyone counts up the medals anyway, why not make it official??
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 11, 2008 yeah
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 11, 2008 Wow Who remembers the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Young Don Schollander trying the 100 free as a new event and the loud mouthed world record holder Alain Gottvales of France who had set the world record of 52.9 and bragged that he smoked cigarettes and drank wine every day and still broke world records.

Schollander, in his autobiography "Deep Water" discusses how he psyched out Gotvalles and never really considered him a serious threat in the Gold Medal race because, although he had the World record, he had never really done anything much else in a major swim meet.

Schollander touched out Bobby McGregor of England in the race in 53.4 and there were two other Americans in the final, Mike Austin and Gary Illman back in the days when we could enter 3 men in each event.

Steve Clark had not made the team for the 100 free because he was ill during the trials and then later the coaches made the unprecedented move or placing Clark in the Medley Relay over Schollander who had won the Gold Medal in the 100, depriving Schollander from becoming the first athlete to win 5 gold medals in one Olympics.

Scholanders best event was the 200 free which was NOT an olympic event in 1964, Schollander won the 100 and 400 free and was on two winning freestlye relays
Submitted by: JR
August 11, 2008 Didn't know that about the relay controversy re: Schollander/Clark. Did Clark at least come through with a faster split to justify it??
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 11, 2008 Yes but it was all political [expletive deleted].....Schollander recounts it in his book. They decided to let Clark lead off the 4 X 100 freestlye relay and use that as a time trial to consider him for the medley relay.

Before the 100 Free event, the coaches had not confidence in Schollander, Austin or Illman and made it clear that Steve Clark would be considered for the Medley Relay.

That would have made sense if the three Americans in the race had done poorly...but Schollander WON THE GOLD MEDAL and Clark's time leading off a relay was in unfair comparison to Schhollander's winning 100 free time where Schollander was just trying to touch the wall first.!!!

By the way, In the same relay that Clark led off Schollander had a record breaking splt himself but with a flying start of course
Submitted by: JR
August 11, 2008 that sounds bizarre, what were the coaching politics that led to that decision, I wonder??
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 11, 2008 In his book, Schollander did mention that the head coach, Jim Councilman was mad that Don chose Yale instead of Indiana......but he was not sure of the thinking behind the decision. Clark was certianly a popular champion and was well liked by everyone so I guess they were bending over backwards to accomodate him.

As Shollander aptly pointed out in the book however, The Russians would have moved heaven and earth to have a 5 gold medal winner for the political gain in the cold war but the US coaches did not think of that.

I recommend the book Deep Water to you, I was a college swimmer from 63-67 and lived through those years as a swimmer


Submitted by: JR
August 11, 2008 Regarding Schollander and Clark in the 1964 Games. In the late 1990s, I asked George Haines who was one of assistants for the US in '64 why Clark was put on the medley relay instead of Schollander (who was one of Haines' swimmers at Santa Clara SC). Haines felt that Schollander was deserving to anchor the medley because he had won the 100 meter free. In nis mind, this was a greater accomplishment than equaling the world record while leading off the free relay (which Clark had done). Haines was over-ruled by head coach Doc Councilman. Apparently this caused some friction between the coaches.
Submitted by: SilverMedalMel
August 11, 2008 That seems even odder that he doesn't know after all these years. Are all those old coaches dead and did someone ask them?? Thanks I'll check out the book.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 11, 2008 It was even worse that that, Clark did not equal the world record leading off the relay, he simply posted a time that I think was a mere .1 sec better that Schollanders winning time in the 100 Free
Submitted by: JR
August 11, 2008 The really weird thing about this is that you would think Schollander and Clark were from different club teams. Nope. They were TEAMMATES on the Santa Clara Swim Club! This must have caused some VERY uncomfortable vibes on the Santa Clara team.
Submitted by: paddles
August 11, 2008 If you want to let NBC know how you feel about the Olympic coverage, in particular, the much delayed SWIMMING coverage here is the NBC email address.
nbcolympicsfeedback@nbcuni.com
Submitted by: aguafans
August 11, 2008 The only way Phelps will not be on the medley relay for finals is if Crocker beats him in the 100 fly, and if that's the case then Phelps won't be in a place for 8 gold medals leading into the 400 medley relay finals. All members of a relay team that swim in prelims are awarded the same medals are the team members that swim in finals. So, if Phelps is beaten by Crocker in the 100 fly, then Phelps can still swim the fly leg of the relay in prelims and will still be awarded a gold medal depending on how the finals go...then he will tie Spitz's 7 gold medals in the same Olympics (considering he wins the rest of his events).

It is so great to see someone like Phelps that has been in the Olympic spotlight since he was just 15 years old and has become just this mega superstar, yet always comes across so humble and so thankful for the great teammates he trains with and the people he gets to compete against. I love how much more excited he always seems to be when a victory comes from a relay where he can share that victory spotlight and that gold medal with his teammates.

On a side note, if in fact Phelps wins his 8 gold medals, how incredible would that be if USA Swimming or the IOC set up arrangements to fly Mark Spitz out to Beijing and have HIM be the person that puts the 8th gold medal around Phelps neck? That just gives me chills thinking about it!
Submitted by: FrmrGASwmmr
August 11, 2008 A follow up to my comment...if Phelps does end up winning gold in the 100 fly and beating Crocker (keeping him in the position for 8 gold medals), but Crocker went a faster time in the prelims or semi-finals causing the coaching staff to want Crocker to swim that fly leg on the medley relay for finals, there is no way they wouldn't have Phelps at least swim the fly leg though in that prelims relay to set him up for an 8th gold medal, whether he swims in that final or not. I feel like this medley relay is the last event of his we should focus on because if Team USA wins that gold medal, he will for sure be given one as well for his part in it, whichever part of it he does play in.

Wasn't there something that happened with the medley relay in Athens, didn't Phelps give Crocker his relay spot on his own decision? I can't remember the details, I just remember there being something that happened that showed just so much sportsmanship.
Submitted by: FrmrGASwmmr
August 11, 2008 It's a great thought, FrmrGASwmmr...but it looks like Mark Spitz is purposely being snubbed by the IOC. I have read enough articles quoting both Spitz and various members of the IOC, and it is clear that certain IOC members prefer that Spitz not be in Beijing.
Again, the IOC exhibiting nothing but classless, clueless and arrogant behavior.
Submitted by: Paddles
August 11, 2008 FrmrGASwimmer. You are right; Phelps beat Crocker in the 100 fly in Athens, but gave the finals spot to Crocker who had recovered from a cold/flu earlier in the week, and was correctly considered a better relay swimmer than Phelps at that time. (not sure if that is still true). Phelps was completely exhausted at the end of the week too, (as he will be this week) and that might have been a little factor.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 12, 2008 To JR: Regarding the time that Steve Clark did leading off the 400 free relay, you might want to check out this book, which is like a Holy Grail for Olympic statistics: David Wallenchinsky's The Complete Book of the Olympics. Since 1985 when the first edition came out he has continually updated and added information every four years. Now he has separate winter and summer editions.

Liquid Assets: George Haines HAS passed away, several years ago. It was through the Swimming World website that I found out he was declining. Google Counsilman's name (I think Jim was his first), but I think he has passed as well.

Submitted by: Park528
August 12, 2008 Hey FrmrGASwimmer: Is that GA as in Philly area? I am a former Suburban swimmer.
Submitted by: Park528
August 12, 2008 JR: What I meant to also tell you is that IN that book I mentioned, the official split apparently tied that WR to the tenth, which back then at least, made it official tying the listed WR. It was 52.9.
Submitted by: Park528
August 12, 2008 Thanks for the correction Park528...I was going only by my recollection of the Schollander bio "Deep Water" and I remember him recounting that Clark posted a time which was better than his winning time in the 400 but that it was an unfair comparison.

On another point, about Crocker/Phelps in the medley relay...go look up the "reaction time" of Crocker in the final of the Medley Relay in Athens. Crocker was so hopped up that he came as close as humanly possible to jumping the gun without actually being disqualified.

It was a scary moment!!
Submitted by: JR
August 12, 2008 Yeah it was. My recollection is that he went an incredibly fast split as a result. Like 50.2??
Submitted by: Park528
August 12, 2008 Hey Park,

I am both a former GA swimmer and a former Suburban swimmer. Shoulberg and Charlie Kennedy.
Submitted by: crafto
August 12, 2008 I never looked past that ridiculous .01 reaction time which made it just blind luck that he did not disqualify the whole team in Athens.

Didn't Crocker DQ another relay some time this year as well in a big meet?
Submitted by: JR
August 12, 2008 JR: Crocker DQ'd the 400 Medley at last year's World Championships costing Phelps an 8th gold medal. Lets hope it does not happen again!!!
Submitted by: crafto
August 12, 2008 Because of that DQ and the near DQ in Athens I prefer that Crocker swim in the qualifying heats (where he would not dare to jump the gun) and let Phelps swim the final and mount the podium for that 8th gold medal

(Crocker would of course get a medal as well)
Submitted by: JR
August 12, 2008 I think Crocker also false started in the individual 100 free at Trials this year
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 12, 2008 He did false start at trials. I hate to say it but he suffers a bit on the big stage. The DQ in the relay at World's was in the morning when he should have been playing it safe.
Submitted by: crafto
August 12, 2008 I read the interesting recent NY Times article on him. He's ambivalent about swimming in general these days and says he mainly does it because it's the only thing that can get him to keep learning, and somedays the only thing that gets him out of bed. (for me somedays its the thing that keeps me in bed ;-))but he's pretty counterculture and not very much into the corporate thing more than the minimum to satisfy his sponsor, or even getting alot of medals. It sounded like he's looking forward to retiring and doing something more creative. He sounded very shy too so yeah I think you are right that he suffers on the big stage. He's a great writer so I hope he'll pursue that. In the meantime; hope he does his best vs. Phelps and may the best man win!
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 12, 2008 Hey GA: Charlie Kennedy for me too.
Submitted by: Park528
August 12, 2008 Good call on Crocker and his DQ's and near DQ's.
Submitted by: Park528
August 12, 2008 That is interesting about the article on Crocker. Makes sense though based on what I've heard about him. Maine is a different kind of a state. I think Phelps goes 50.2 in the 100 and Crocker goes 51.0. Phelps has more speed now. Park: I swam for Charlie mid 80's...probably older than you.
Submitted by: crafto
August 12, 2008 LOL yeah its true; Mainers don't do the limelight well. Crocker reminds me alot of my dad who was from Maine: quiet, smart, thoughtful, sensitive, modest, etc.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 12, 2008 No I was there in 83-84. Went to O'Hara
Submitted by: Park528
August 12, 2008 Another Philly connection...I swam with the Colonials 76 Masters team from 2000-2004
Submitted by: JR
August 12, 2008 Park: So was I there 83-84! Went to Conestoga. First name Chris. Do I know you?JR: I swim at Upper Main Line Y. Swam masters awhile as well
Submitted by: crafto
August 12, 2008 crafto, I trained in Atlantic City with Jack Martin...but would join Colonials at the meets and competed under their banner while I was living in NJ..I now swim in Florida with Gold Coast Masters Gary Hall Sr and JR and Dara Torres are my teammates!!
Submitted by: JR
August 12, 2008 Oh, now I see. Doubt you remember me. You're Chris Craft. I am Pat Keenan. I carpooled with Scot Clendenin. Was at Umly in 86.

Cheers.
Submitted by: Park528
August 13, 2008 Sullivan blew Phelps away in the 1st leg of the relay. Have a look at it. Beat him on the start...and the turn. Not many who can do that ;) Not many who can beat Phelps so convincingly. Beat him easily by a bodylength on the touch..and he's 2 years younger than Phelps...
Submitted by: coraltrout
August 13, 2008 Yeah but Sullivan trains exclusively for the 50 and the 100 free, and Phelps trains for what? Every event?

Also, re: crocker DQing, I think the swimming rules for relay false starts are unfortunate. Crocker left like .05ish early, but the US team still qualified first by quite a few seconds. Why not institute a 2s penalty or something?
Submitted by: Sphere
August 13, 2008 Yeah though it should be interesting in the next few years if Phelps decides to move down to the 100 after giving up the 400 IM. At his current rate, I could see him breaking records in 100 fly, back and free.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 13, 2008 Body length? It was .27 Sullivan blew him away on the 1st lap, expected from a 50 specialist, and Phelps swam him down in the end. Phelps will beat Sullivan once he starts to train for the race as he did when he blew Thorpe's record out of the water in the 200. Sullivan is awesome though and will win tonight.
Submitted by: PhatMatt
August 13, 2008 The conventional wisdom of what Phelps will do is what liquidassets said....but here is my idea!!

Before concentrating on the sprints take just one year off to train for the 1500 and break that world record say in the World championships for 2009 or 2010 just for the fun of it. I think it would be a walk in the park for Phelps to become the best 1500 swimmer in the world if he wanted to do it
Submitted by: JR
August 13, 2008 I remember being told that it is easier for a swimmer to "train down" for the sprints after years of endurance training but impossible for a sprinter to "train up" for anything over a one hundred.
In this case, once Michael focuses solely on the 100s, Sullivan's advantage will disappear under the waves and he will be facing the same gap (from Michael) that he put on Phelps in the relay leadoff.
Submitted by: paddles
August 13, 2008 Phelps will not be able to match Sullivan's, Bernards, Leveaux's speed. If he attempts to train for speed, he will lose something from his back end. He'd be wiser concentrating on the 4 and 15. But hey! perhaps he wants a challenge?
Submitted by: coraltrout
August 13, 2008 Coraltrout, I think the "Phelps will not be able to match [top sprinters'] speed" is exactly the reason why Phelps will want to train for the 100 free. It's the next big and deeemed-impossible challenge for him and he's not the type to shy away from challenges. No way. He'll go for the 100 free long before he goes for the mile I think.

But I doubt he'll EVER go for the 50.
Submitted by: Sphere
August 13, 2008 Yeah I don't think he'd go for the mile, he says he hates it and he wasn't even ready for the 400 before so he'd fight Bowman tooth and nail if he even recommended the mile. I read that he is required to do the 1500 once a year and that's it. I'm not so sure he could ever get down to WR level in the 1500 though; that's a whole different ballgame. I say go for the 400 free/200 back records next year, then "retire" down to the 100's and a couple of the 200's for the rest of his career. I would dare him to go for the breasts. ;-)
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 13, 2008 I think the whole point of saying adios to the 400 IM is he is tired of the meters needed to train for the event. He all ready has the background to shift gears and get into the sprint events. It's just a matter of training properly for the events and letting his mental strength do the rest. I wouldn't bet against him for all the money in the world IF he was properly trained and geared for a full onslaught on the 100 freestyle.
Submitted by: paddles
August 13, 2008 Yes you are right of course, liquidassets, but wouldn't it be cool if he did a WR 1500 and THEN dropped all the long races from his agenda and watched to see how long it would take someone to break that record.
Submitted by: JR
August 13, 2008 Me neither paddles. When I saw him go 53.0 for the 100 back I felt the 100 free was only a matter of time.
Though isn't the 400 IM more universally hated than the 400 free? I hate the former (or at least the traniing for it) and actually kind of like the latter, not that I'm much better at it.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 13, 2008 The I.M. hurts...a lot. Hated? Uh....you bet! LOL
Submitted by: paddles
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Michael Phelps and Garrett Weber-Gale Celebrate After Winning the 400 Free Relay at the Beijing Olympics
Photo By: Reuters

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