ROME, Italy, July 31. IT came down to the touch, but the United States was able to beat the men's 800 free relay world record by the slimmest of margins at the FINA World Championships.
The team of Michael Phelps (1:44.49), Ricky Berens (1:44.13), David Walters (1:45.47) and Ryan Lochte (1:44.46) clocked a time of 6:58.55 to win the world title, and claim the world record.
Nearly the same team set the global mark at 6:58.56 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as Phelps (1:43.31), Lochte (1:44.28), Berens (1:46.29) and Peter Vanderkaay (1:44.68) topped the event last summer.
Russia's Nikita Lobintsev (1:45.10), Michail Polishuk (1:45.42), Danila Izotov (1:44.48) and Alexander Sukhorukov (1:44.15) finished second in 6:59.15 to claim the European record as only the second team to break 7:00.
Australia's Kenrick Monk (1:46.00), Robert Hurley (1:46.47), Tommaso D'Orsogna (1:44.82) and Patrick Murphy (1:44.36) completed the podium with a bronze-winning 7:01.65.
Japan (7:02.26), Germany (7:03.19), Italy (7:03.48), Great Britain (7:05.67) and South Africa (7:08.51) made up the rest of the finale.
Paul Biedermann scorched Germany's leadoff with a 1:42.81 to give the team an early advantage.