ROME, Italy, August 2. THE United States completed a sweep of the men's relay events with a world record in the men's 400 medley relay at the FINA World Championships.
The U.S. foursome of Aaron Peirsol (52.19), Eric Shanteau (58.57), Michael Phelps (49.72) and David Walters (46.80) scorched the pool with a 3:27.28 to smash the world record of 3:29.34 set by the U.S. at the 2008 Beijing Games. That relay was made up of Peirsol (53.16), Brendan Hansen (59.27), Phelps (50.15) and Lezak (46.76). Notably, Peirsol's 52.19 leadoff leg lowered the meet record of 52.26 set by Junya Koga earlier this week.
"Every time we go into a meet, our goal as a team is to win all the relays," Phelps said. "That helps with all of us working together. We all have to contribute and do our part. We all tend to do that pretty well."
"This is the easiest thing to get up for," Peirsol said. "It's a great way to us to end strong on a high note. It's a tradition for the United States."
"That was pretty incredible," Shanteau said. "That was my first relay pretty much ever. I know the guys have confidence in me. I wasn't too nervous, I knew I could count on them and they could count on me."
"As the rookies, Eric and I had a competition to see who would screw it up first," Walters said. "We didn't want to let anyone down."
Germany's contingent of Helge Meeuw (52.27), Hendrik Feldwehr (58.51), Benjamin Starke (50.91) and Paul Biedermann (46.89) also broke the previous world record, but settled for silver with a time of 3:28.58 to hold off Australia.
Australia, which joined four teams under the old global mark, finished third with a 3:28.64 posted by Ashley Delaney (53.10), Brenton Rickard (57.80), Andrew Lauterstein (50.58) and Matt Targett (47.16).
Brazil's Guilherme Guido (53.78), Henrique Barbosa (58.68), Gabriel Mangabeira (50.48) and Cesar Cielo (46.22) raced into fourth with a 3:29.16, under the previous world standard.
France (3:29.73), Russia (3:30.60) and Japan (3:30.91) finished fifth through seventh, while Great Britain was disqualified.