FINA World Championships, Swimming: Flash! United States Men Sweep Relays, Sets World Record in 400 Medley Relay -- August 2, 2009

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ROME, Italy, August 2. THE United States completed a sweep of the men's relay events with a world record in the men's 400 medley relay at the FINA World Championships.

The U.S. foursome of Aaron Peirsol (52.19), Eric Shanteau (58.57), Michael Phelps (49.72) and David Walters (46.80) scorched the pool with a 3:27.28 to smash the world record of 3:29.34 set by the U.S. at the 2008 Beijing Games. That relay was made up of Peirsol (53.16), Brendan Hansen (59.27), Phelps (50.15) and Lezak (46.76). Notably, Peirsol's 52.19 leadoff leg lowered the meet record of 52.26 set by Junya Koga earlier this week.

"Every time we go into a meet, our goal as a team is to win all the relays," Phelps said. "That helps with all of us working together. We all have to contribute and do our part. We all tend to do that pretty well."

"This is the easiest thing to get up for," Peirsol said. "It's a great way to us to end strong on a high note. It's a tradition for the United States."

"That was pretty incredible," Shanteau said. "That was my first relay pretty much ever. I know the guys have confidence in me. I wasn't too nervous, I knew I could count on them and they could count on me."

"As the rookies, Eric and I had a competition to see who would screw it up first," Walters said. "We didn't want to let anyone down."

Germany's contingent of Helge Meeuw (52.27), Hendrik Feldwehr (58.51), Benjamin Starke (50.91) and Paul Biedermann (46.89) also broke the previous world record, but settled for silver with a time of 3:28.58 to hold off Australia.

Australia, which joined four teams under the old global mark, finished third with a 3:28.64 posted by Ashley Delaney (53.10), Brenton Rickard (57.80), Andrew Lauterstein (50.58) and Matt Targett (47.16).

Brazil's Guilherme Guido (53.78), Henrique Barbosa (58.68), Gabriel Mangabeira (50.48) and Cesar Cielo (46.22) raced into fourth with a 3:29.16, under the previous world standard.

France (3:29.73), Russia (3:30.60) and Japan (3:30.91) finished fifth through seventh, while Great Britain was disqualified.

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August 2, 2009
I'm grateful that NBC and Universal Sports carried the finals live in their entirety (well, almost — they omitted portions of the 800s and 1500s). What fun! I live on the West Coast, and last year's Olympics were tape-delayed 3 hours : - (

A few observations: the AT&T text message feature was lame. For example, today's was "Outstanding Event of the Meet." How could the men's 200 free with Paul Biedermann's victory over Phelps be overlooked as a choice?

I thought Rowdy Gaines was off his game throughout. He's a great human being, but on his best days as a color commentator, he is mediocre. A lot of the time he spouted banalities and cliches (for example, "He's looking good, Dan"). At the beginning of the meet, he said that the [non-Olympic] 50s are "basically worthless." In addition, his narrative for over half the races seemed to run counter to what was actually happening in the water.

Rowdy's microphone was left open after the men's 4x100 free relay (on the internet feed), and he disparaged the French by saying that "whoever they put on there, they choke." Not a lot of class there. Rowdy might have done a little checking to find out that Amaury Leveaux's father was on his deathbed.

However, I did enjoy his excitement in the call of the Phelps vs. Cavic race. That was genuine enthusiasm for the sport.

I'd love to see either Mel Stewart or Garrett McCaffrey replace him. Josh Davis would work as well.

Commercial I hope not to see for a long time: Subway featuring Jared and Phelps. Looks like Jared went off the diet and picked up an extra 20 or 30 pounds.

I loved Peter Busch and Garrett McCaffrey's daily feature summarizing the day's events. Well done gentlemen. Good insights, knowledge. Your passion for the sport shows!

I also liked Swim Network's videos of the press conferences throughout the meet. I especially enjoyed the one showing Cavic's and Phelps' comments after the 100 fly. Good stuff.

Congratulations to all in the media (especially bloggers) who brought this meet to us. Many thanks!

Submitted by: SilverMedalMel
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