Short Course World Champs, Day One: US Men Take 400 Free Relay in Near-Record Time -- October 7, 2004
INDIANAPOLIS, October 7. "The water was choppy," said US sprinter Neil Walker, "so the strategy was to get out fast to try and avoid the waves."
The goal: nothing less than the world record. "We hoped the crowd would carry us," he added.
The result -- with the enthusiastic aid of the crowd -- was an impressive victory, with a time less than four-tenths of a second off the world record.
"It's hard to put together a great relay at this time of year, with everyone at different stages in their training ... or layoff," said Walker.
"Under the circumstances, we swam pretty well."
Nick Brunelli got the US going with a 48.52 second leadoff, as Brazil and Sweden also had leadoff legs under world record pace. Neil Walker (47.38)
and Nate Dusing (47.49) followed with outstanding 47-second splits. Jason Lezak anchored with a powerful 46.57-second effort, the only split under 47 seconds, as he brought the Stars and Stripes home in 3:09.96.
Germany followed in 3:12.73, while Canada (3:13.62) overtook Sweden for third.
Four other swimmers posted 47-second splits: Sweden's Stefan Nystrand (47.24), Brazil's Nicholas Santos (47.45) and Canada's Rick Say (47.76) and Matt Rose (47.97).