INDIANAPOLIS, April 11. PERHAPS the best rivalry in Olympic sports takes center stage this weekend as NBC Sports presents taped coverage of the inaugural Mutual of Omaha "Duel in the Pool: USA vs. Australia," a unique head-to-head swimming competition from the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis.
The programs will air:
from 3-4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday; and
from 1:30-3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Ted Robinson provides play-by-play and lum and triple Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines provides analysis. Craig Hummer handles reporting duties.
Each country’s team of 26 men and 26 women combine scoring to determine the winner. The winning team earns the Weissmuller Trophy, honoring one of swimming’s greatest legends, Johnny Weissmuller, the Olympic gold medalist who later gained fame in his movie role as Tarzan.
The friendly rivalry dates back to the 1924 Olympics in Paris, when Weissmuller held off the Australian team to lead the USA to a gold medal in the 800 meter freestyle relay. Ever since then, the USA and Australia have been vying for aquatic supremacy.
The rivalry intensified at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when the Aussies began to chip away at the Americans' post-1960 dominance of major swimming competitions. The USA led both the overall and gold medal counts at the past two Olympics (1996, 2000), but the Australians captured more gold medals at the last two World Championships (2001, 2002). Of the 26 events contested at the Duel in the Pool, American or Australian swimmers hold 12 of the world records.