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LONDON, England, August 3. THE United States, which has never lost the men's 400-meter medley relay in an Olympics it has participated in, put itself in position for another triumph with a strong morning swim at the 2012 London Olympics.
Nick Thoman (53.31), Eric Shanteau (59.69), Tyler McGill (51.53) and Cullen Jones (48.12) authored a 3:32.65 to push the U.S. to the top seed. Since the relay first began being contested in 1960, the U.S. has won it 12 out of the 13 times. Australia picked up the 1980 title with the U.S. boycotting the event.
“I was able to shut it down on the last 20m. I saved some for tonight. We are in a great position,” Jones said. “I have been thinking about this since I made second at the trials, even if I did think the prelims were going to be on Saturday. It's a little bit of a redemption swim for me. There's a lot of responsibility to be in the relay but we've been taking it in our stride.”
Great Britain's Liam Tancock (53.98), Craig Benson (59.68), Michael Rock (51.56) and Adam Brown (48.22) received a hero's ovation from the host nation crowd after winning heat one to qualify second overall. The only time Great Britain has medaled in this event came with a bronze in the 1980 Olympics.
“The guys got in there,” Tancock said. “We weren't seeded to make the final, but we won our heat. The crowd went crazy and it's been fantastic. I've not seen all the splits, but I'm pleased with my time. It's been a good week for me and we've put ourselves in a good position to finish off the meet strong tomorrow. Anyone who's made that final has really got a shot. We were seeded 14th 10 minutes ago, and we're going into the final second. It doesn't mean we're going to get a medal, but it puts us in a great position to race hard. It's the last race of the whole competition, so let's finish with a bang.”
Japan's Ryosuke Irie (53.08), Kosuke Kitajima (59.47), Takeshi Matsuda (52.09) and Takuro Fujii (49.00) placed third in prelims with a 3:33.64. Japan has won bronze in the past two Olympics, and would like to move up the ladder at some point.
Australia (3:33.73), The Netherlands (3:33.78), Germany (3:34.28), Hungary (3:34.44) and Canada (3:34.46) also made the finale.
Other notable splits came from South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh, who clocked a 58.96 on the breaststroke leg of South Africa's 13th-place 3:35.23. Matt Targett turned in a 51.30 butterfly leg for Australia, while Steffen Deibler of Germany clocked a 51.18. Brent Hayden of Canada had the top anchor leg with a 47.52 to push Canada into finals.
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