ROME, Italy, July 26. USING a balanced swim, the United States smashed the meet record in the men's 400 free relay at the FINA World Championships.
All of the talk heading into the event today was France being an overwhelming favorite with a year to stew on the Olympic loss to the U.S. last summer. Just a reminder, Jason Lezak became an Olympic hero as he tracked down France for gold in the event in Beijing.
Tonight, the contingent of Michael Phelps (47.78), Ryan Lochte (47.03), Matt Grevers (47.61) and Nathan Adrian (46.79) roared to victory with a sterling time of 3:09.21. The performance beat the meet record of 3:11.26 set by Brazil this morning.
"Got the job done," Phelps said. "Our goals are always to win all three relays. The four of us stood up and swam one race. Adrian's swim is promising for the future of our relays. I did not feel good in the water today, especially the last 25 meters."
Surprisingly, Russia's Evgeny Lagunov (47.90), Andrey Grechin (47.00), Danila Izotov (47.23) and Alexander Sukhorukov (47.39) overtook the favored French foursome with a 3:09.52.
France's Fabien Gilot (47.73), Alain Bernard (46.46), Gregory Mallet (48.28) and Fred Bousquet (47.42) fell back into the bronze position with a 3:09.89.
Brazil's Cesar Cielo nearly bettered the 100 free world record with a scintillating time of 47.09 as Brazil's leadoff. The swim just missed Eamon Sullivan's 47.05 from Beijing. Brazil wound up fourth in 3:10.80.