ROME, Italy, July 30. EVEN with Allison Schmitt attempting a Lezakesque final 50 meters for the U.S., China completed a demolition of the world record in the women's 800 free relay at the FINA World Championships.
China's contingent of Yang Yu (1:55.47), Zhu Qian Wei (1:55.79), Liu Jing (1:56.09) and Pang Jiaying (1:54.73) clocked a 7:42.08 to cut two seconds from the Australian world record of 7:44.31 set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. That team featured Stephanie Rice (1:56.60), Bronte Barratt (1:56.58), Kylie Palmer (1:55.22) and Linda Mackenzie (1:55.91).
Schmitt nearly closed the distance in the final 50 meters, but ran out of room as the U.S. foursome of Dana Vollmer (1:55.29), Lacey Nymeyer (1:57.88), Ariana Kukors (1:55.18) and Schmitt (1:54.21) put together an American record time of 7:42.56 to take silver. That time beat the American record of 7:46.33 also set in Beijing.
Great Britain's team of Joanne Jackson (1:55.98), Jazmin Carlin (1:56.78), Caitlin McClatchey (1:56.42) and Rebecca Adlington (1:56.33) completed the podium with a 7:45.51.
Italy (7:46.57), Australia (7:46.85), Hungary (7:48.04), France (7:48.44) and Canada (7:49.14) were the other finalists.
Vollmer provided the fastest leadoff split with her 1:55.29, while Federica Pellegrini nearly moved Italy onto the podium with a 1:53.45 anchor leg to lead all other splits.