Megan Romano
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BARCELONA, Spain, July 28. THE women's 400-meter freestyle relay could see some special swims tonight as Team USA and Australia put up some sizzling preliminary performances at the FINA World Championships.

The Stars and Stripes utilized another blistering anchor leg by Megan Romano to clinch the top seed heading into the finale. Simone Manuel (54.23), Natalie Coughlin (54.09) and Elizabeth Pelton (54.66) kept it close for Romano before the Bulldog had a lightning fast relay exchange of .13 en route to a sweltering 53.24 anchor. That closed the door on a 3:36.22 to set the table for a sensational performance tonight.

Australia, meanwhile, picked up the second seed with a time of 3:36.46 by way of Bronte Campbell (54.57), Emma McKeon (53.71), Brittany Elmslie (53.97) and Emily Seebohm (54.21). Canada's Victoria Poon (54.56), Sandrine Mainville (54.04), Chantal Van Landeghem (53.93) and Samantha Cheverton (55.50) finished third in 3:38.03 to clip the Canadian record of 3:38.14 set at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships.

Sweden's Michelle Coleman, Louise Hansson, Sarah Sjostrom and Nathalie Lindborg snared fourth in 3:38.07 with Sjostrom blitzing the field with a stunning 53.13 third leg, while Russia's Veronika Popova, Viktoriia Andreeva, Mariya Baklakova and Margarita Nesterova finished fourth in 3:38.32.

The Netherlands (3:38.41), Germany (3:39.19) and Japan (3:39.24) rounded out the championship field. Netherlands, the two-time defending champion, should make a push for the title tonight as Ranomi Kromowidjojo will make an appearance.

Results: FINA World Championships: Women's 400 Free Relay Prelims

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