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LONDON, England, July 31. AFTER a dominant preliminary performance in the men's 800-meter freestyle relay, Team USA looks in good shape to win its third straight title in the event at the 2012 London Olympics.
Charlie Houchin (1:48.22), Matt McLean (1:46.68), Davis Tarwater (1:46.33) and Conor Dwyer (1:45.52) nearly led wire-to-wire en route to a top time of 7:06.75. The U.S. has been dominant in this event's history, having won 15 times since the event kicked off in 1908.
“Even at 28, with a lot of international experience, nothing matches the Olympics and my heart was pumping with intensity that I was just having to calm myself down. Standing on the blocks I was just saying to myself calm down, 'breathe, breathe, breathe,” Tarwater said. “My arms were just really pumping after that race.”
France's Jeremy Stravius (1:47.42), Gregory Mallet (1:47.42), Amaury Leveaux (1:47.87) and Clement Lefert (1:46.33) won the first heat of the morning for a second-seeded time of 7:09.18. France has not medaled in the event since taking back-to-back bronzes in 1948 and 1952 after the World War II Olympic hiatus after the 1936 Games.
“It went well,” Mallet said. “We are saving some energy because there is another race today. We all tried to keep it calm but the pressure is on today.”
Germany's Tim Wallburger (1:48.10), Dimitri Colupaev (1:47.47), Clemens Rapp (1:48.04) and Paul Biedermann (1:45.62) finished third in 7:09.23. Germany's last medal came with a bronze in 1996 behind the U.S. and Sweden.
Australia (7:10.50), Great Britain (7:10.70), China (7:11.35), South Africa (7:11.51) and Hungary (7:11.64) all finaled, while defending silver medalist Russia missed making the finale with a 10th-place 7:11.86.
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