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LONDON, England, July 29. JAMES Magnussen anchored the Australians to the top seed in the men's 400-meter freestyle relay qualifying heats, overtaking 2008 Olympic hero Jason Lezak in the process at the 2012 London Olympics.
Magnussen checked in with a swift 47.35 anchor leg as the Aussie foursome of Cameron McEvoy (48.94), James Roberts (48.22), Tommaso D'Orsogna (47.78) and Magnussen (47.35) put together a strong morning time of 3:12.29. The Aussies are looking to return to the top of the podium for the first time since the 2000 squad ended a seven-Olympiad win streak by the Americans at the Sydney Olympics.
The United States led heading into the final leg with Jimmy Feigen (48.49), Matt Grevers (47.54) and Ricky Berens (48.52) staking Lezak to a 2:24.55 to 2:24.94 lead. Lezak managed to turn in a 48.04 final leg to put Team USA next to Australia, holding off a hard-charging Russian squad.
The Russians placed third with a 3:12.77 from the quartet of Andrey Grechin (48.19), Evgeny Lagunov (48.34), Sergei Fesikov (48.68) and Nikita Lobintsev (47.56), while the French foursome of Amaury Leveaux (48.61), Alain Bernard (48.31), Clement Lefert (48.14) and Jeremy Stravius (48.32) won the first heat to placed fourth overall.
Germany (3:13.51), Belgium (3:13.89), South Africa (3:13.93) and Italy (3:15.78) rounded out the championship heat. Germany's Markus Deibler (47.99), Belgium's Pieter Timmers (47.97) and South Africa's Gideon Louw (47.92) all clocked 47s to help their squads.
Brazil's Nicolas Oliveira (49.31), Bruno Fratus (48.98), Nicholas Santos (49.68) and Marcelo Chierighini (48.17) just missed finals with a 3:16.14.
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