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ATLANTA, Georgia, December 16. THE 2011 Duel in the Pool produced a sterling night of racing during the first night of short course meter swimming. Team USA finished a dominant day in the team race with a combined 93.5 to 28.5 advantage heading into the second day of racing. The men crushed the Europeans, 52.5 to 8.5, while the women posted a day-one 41-20 thrashing.
Meanwhile, a world record fell to start the meet off right in the first event.
Women's 400 medley relay
Natalie Coughlin (55.97), Rebecca Soni (1:02.91), Dana Vollmer (55.36) and Missy Franklin (51.32) smashed the world and American record in the event with a stunning time of 3:45.56. That time demolished the global standard of 3:47.97 set by the U.S. contingent of Margaret Hoelzer, Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer and Amanda Weir back in 2009 in Manchester.
That swim was not the ratified American record heading into tonight, however. A 3:48.36 by Coughlin, Soni, Vollmer and Hardy had stood as the record since 2010. USA Swimming decided that American records set in techsuits after Oct. 1, 2009 – when USA Swimming implemented the techsuit ban domestically – would not be ratified. This is the case even for times swum legally in international events where ban was not in effect yet.
Coughlin opened up with an American record in the 100 back with a 55.97. That effort cleared her previous record of 56.08 from Dubai last December, and is the first sub-56 time this year. She became just the third swimmer under 56 in history as Shiho Sakai (55.23) and Gao Chang (55.48) stand 1-2 in the event.
Coughlin's 50 back leadoff also was faster than her American record, but the time does not count as you must post a legal finish (finishing on your back) for a split to count. Coughlin clocked a blazing 26.98 on the way out, that would have beat her American mark of 27.08 set during the 2004 World Cup stop in New York.
The European All-Star team of Daryna Zevina (56.71), Rikke Moller Pedersen (1:05.31), Jeanette Ottesen (56.17) and Marleen Veldhuis (52.85) finished a distant second in the race with a 3:51.04. Zevina jumped to 10th in the all time rankings with her 100 back leadoff.
The U.S. women jumped to an early 7-0 lead in the team competition.
Universal Sports Video of World Record
Men's 400 medley relay
Nick Thoman (50.02), Brendan Hansen (56.59), Tyler McGill (50.68) and Matt Grevers (46.26) dominated the men's relay race for the evening with a winning time of 3:23.55, never trailing throughout the entire race. The Euro All-Star squad of Radoslaw Kawecki (50.36), Giedrius Titenis (58.28), Konrad Czerniak (50.34) and Adam Brown (46.79) finished second in 3:25.77.
Thoman led off with a 50.02 to 50.36 lead over Kawecki, missing the American record of 49.64 set by Peter Marshall back in 2008. Thoman has been faster than the record with a 48.94 leadoff in 2009, but USA Swimming decided that American records set in techsuits after Oct. 1, 2009 – when USA Swimming implemented the techsuit ban domestically – would not be ratified. This is the case even for times swum legally in international events where ban was not in effect yet.
With a sweep of the relays tonight, Team USA pushed out to a 14-0 lead on top of the Euro All-Stars.
Women's 400 IM
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu used a superior final 25 meters to catch USA's Caitlin Leverenz for a 4:24.37 to 4:24.62 triumph in the distance medley. Hosszu just missed the textile best in the event of a 4:24.21 owned by Mireia Belmonte since 2010, but bettered Belmonte's top-ranked time this year of a 4:24.55. With the swim, Hosszu moved to fifth in the all-time rankings behind Julia Smit (4:21.04), Kathryn Meaklim (4:22.88), Belmonte (4:24.21) and Dagny Knutson (4:24.31).
Leverenz's time of 4:24.62 smashed the ratified American record of 4:25.87 set by Smit in 2008 in Etobicoke, Canada. Leverenz moved to eighth in the all-time rankings with the swim.
USA Swimming does not recognize Smit's world record as its American record as explained previously. USA Swimming decided that American records set in techsuits after Oct. 1, 2009 – when USA Swimming implemented the techsuit ban domestically – would not be ratified. This is the case even for times swum legally in international events where ban was not in effect yet.
USA's Elizabeth Beisel claimed the remaining dual meet point with a third-place 4:26.48. That swim jumped her to 10th all time in the history of the distance medley.
USA's Kathleen Hersey (4:27.97), Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos (4:28.23), Czech's Barbora Zavadova (4:31.73), USA's Smit (4:32.08) and Slovenia's Anja Klinar (4:37.49) also competed in the race.
The U.S. remained in the lead, 18-5, after the race.
Men's 400 IM
Trailing half-a-second at the 300-meter mark, reigning two-time Swimming World World Swimmer of the Year Ryan Lochte turned on the steam to overtake compatriot Tyler Clary, 3:59.52 to 4:00.35. Lochte became the first man under 4:01 this year, taking the top ranked time away from Michael Phelps, who had a 4:01.49 at the Berlin World Cup stop. Clary jumped into second in the rankings with his effort. Lochte's swim ranks sixth all time in the performances list, while Clary's is now ninth. Both Lochte and Clary now have a pair of top-10 all time performances.
Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, who ranks second all time with a 3:57.27, and has four of the top 10 times, wound up third overall this evening in 4:02.91. USA's Conor Dwyer (4:04.31) and Austria's Dinko Jukic (4:05.06) took fourth and fifth in the event.
The U.S. took a commanding 26-6 lead after the men's distance medley.
Women's 100 free
The European All-Stars fought back in a big way in the sprint freestyle event with a 1-2 finish. The Netherlands' Ranomi Kromowidjojo threw down a 51.87, while teammate Fran Halsall of Great Britain turned in a second-place 51.95. Kromowidjojo moved to the top of the rankings this year, while Halsall stood third behind Britta Steffen (51.94). Kromowidjojo's time stands 18th all time, but came up short of her textile best of 51.44 from 2010.
USA's Natalie Coughlin grabbed the other team point available in the race with a third-place 52.40. USA's Jessica Hardy (52.55), Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (52.77), USA's Dana Vollmer (53.00), USA's Amanda Weir (53.12) and The Netherlands' Marleen Veldhuis (53.49) rounded out the race.
The European All-Stars battled back in the event, to cut the lead to 27-14.
Men's 100 free
The United States fired back in the men's sprint event with a 1-2 effort of its own. Ricky Berens (46.60) and Garrett Weber-Gale (46.79) took the top two spots for the Stars and Stripes. Both rattled Ian Crocker's ratified American record of 46.25 set back in 2004. Berens jumped to third in the world rankings this year, while Weber-Gale took fourth overall. Sergey Fesikov (46.56) and Alain Bernard (46.59) have the top two times this year.
Russia's Vlad Morozov, who trains in the U.S. and attempted to switch his sports nationality to the U.S. but did not have time, took third in 47.21. He jumped to 11th in the world rankings with his swim.
USA's Nick Brunelli (47.54), Great Britain's Adam Brown (47.55), USA's Jimmy Feigen (47.74) and Hungary's Krisztian Takacs (48.53) also swam in the sprint event.
With three of the top four finishes, the U.S. looks to be in good shape in the 400 freestyle relay tomorrow.
The U.S. struck back with a 35-15 lead after the freestyles.
Women's 200 back
Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds gave fans a potential upset of U.S. phenom Missy Franklin, leading 1:29.97 to 1:30.01 heading into the final leg, but Franklin's final kick was more than enough to capture the 2:00.14 to 2:00.83 triumph. Franklin came home in 30.13 compared to Simmonds' 30.86 for the win. That effort came up just short of Franklin's world record of 2:00.03 from the Berlin World Cup stop, but stands second all time ahead of the previous world record of 2:00.18 set by Shiho Sakai two years ago.
Simmonds moved to third all time in the event behind Franklin and Sakai as one of just four swimmers (Kirsty Coventry: 2:00.91) to clear 2:01. That swim bettered Simmonds' European record of 2:00.91 set at the previous Duel in the Pool.
USA's Elizabeth Pelton rounded out the top three with a 2:02.16 for eighth all time in the distance dorsal, while The Netherlands' Sharon Van Rouwendaal took fourth in 2:02.47 for 11th all time.
Ukraine's Daryna Zevina (2:03.17), USA's Elizabeth Beisel (2:04.57), USA's Julia Smit (2:07.04) and Great Britain's Gemma Spofforth (2:07.89) comprised the rest of the heat.
Team USA held a strong 41-18 lead after the race.
Men's 200 back
Ryan Lochte, who owns a second-ranked time of 1:46.68 in the event, cruised to victory in the distance dorsal with a winning time of 1:48.90. Meanwhile, Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki placed second in 1:50.12. Kawecki has been sub-1:50 with an eighth-ranked 1:49.13 in the race. USA's Tyler Clary completed the top three with a 1:51.22, well off his seventh-ranked 1:49.09.
USA's Nick Thoman (1:51.26), Austria's Markus Rogan (1:51.60), Hungary's Peter Bernek (1:52.93) and Great Britain's Marco Loughran (1:56.14) wound up fourth through seventh in the finale.
The Stars and Stripes remained in the lead, 47-21, after the race.
Women's 200 breast
Reigning two-time Swimming World World Swimmer of the Year Rebecca Soni owned the distance breaststroke event with a blazing 2:17.69. That swim ranks 11th all time, with Soni now owning three of the top 11 ever. Her world record of 2:14.57, which is unratified as the American record, stands at the top. Meanwhile, her textile best of 2:16.39 ranks third, which stands as the ratified American standard.
USA Swimming decided that American records set in techsuits after Oct. 1, 2009 – when USA Swimming implemented the techsuit ban domestically – would not be ratified. This is the case even for times swum legally in international events where ban was not in effect yet.
The U.S. went 1-2-3 in the event, with Amanda Beard (2:19.72) and Caitlin Leverenz (2:19.84) turning in strong times of their own. Beard moved to 17th all time in the race, while Leverenz snagged 19th.
Denmark's Rikke Moller Pedersen (2:22.67), USA's Katy Freeman (2:23.39) and The Netherlands' Moniek Nijhuis (2:24.53) also swam in the race.
The United States held a 56-21 lead after the breaststroke.
Men's 200 breast
Using an amazing final sprint, USA's Brendan Hansen provided some outside smoke from lane 8 to edge Hungary's Daniel Gyurta, 2:03.62 to 2:03.64, in the event. Hansen outsplit Gyurta, 31.41 to 31.83, down the stretch. The swim pushed Hansen to 13th all time in the event, while Gyurta already owns the world record with a 2:00.67, and posted the textile best with a 2:02.37 earlier this year. USA's Mike Alexandrov claimed third in the event tonight with a 2:05.08.
Germany's Christian Vom Lehn (2:06.84), USA's Eric Shanteau (2:09.37) and Lithuania's Giedruis Titenis (2:10.38) finished fourth through sixth, while USA's Mark Gangloff drew a disqualification.
The U.S. jumped out to a gigantic lead of 62-24.
Women's 100 fly
In her third event of the evening, USA's Natalie Coughlin edged Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen by the slimmest of margins, 56.23 to 56.24, with USA's Dana Vollmer in the fight as well with a third-place 56.27. Coughlin improved to 13th all time in the event's history, while Ottesen already stood 10th with a 55.86. Vollmer holds the American record with a fourth-ranked 55.59 in the race.
Great Britain's Fran Halsall (57.29), USA's Elaine Breeden (57.41), Sweden's Martina Granstrom (57.54), USA's Claire Donahue (57.60) and The Netherlands' Marleen Veldhuis (58.22) picked up the rest of the finale finishes.
The U.S. women pushed Team USA to 68-27 in the team race.
Men's 100 fly
USA's Matt Grevers edged compatriot Tyler McGill, 50.54 to 50.56, in the butterfly event for the day. The U.S. nearly swept the top three in the event, but Poland's Konrad Czerniak claimed part of the third-place point by tying USA's Davis Tarwater with matching 50.70s.
Belgium's Francois Heersbrandt (50.96), USA's Ricky Berens (50.98), Hungary's Laszlo Cseh (51.48) and Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski (51.66) earned fifth through eighth in the finale.
The U.S. owned a 76.5 to 27.5 advantage after the event.
Women's 400 free
USA's Chloe Sutton, not known for her strong turns, looks to have made a major improvement in that department after winning a short course race with more walls in comparison to her long course prowess. Sutton topped the middle distance race with a 3:58.07, breaking through 4:00 for the first time to move to 10th all time in the event's history. She finished just a second back of Katie Hoff's ratified American record of 3:47.07 from 2010. Hoff clinched second-place honors in 3:58.21, also just a second back of her lifetime best.
Denmark's Lotte Friis, who stands ninth all time with a 3:58.02 lifetime best, took third in 4:00.88. USA's Kate Ziegler (4:03.03), Hungary's Evelyn Verraszto (4:04.73), Grainne Murphy (4:05.80) and USA's Ashley Steenvoorden (4:06.67) closed out the finale. Murphy is listed as representing Great Britain, but is Irish.
The Stars and Stripes gained an 84.5 to 28.5 lead after the middle distance swim.
Men's 400 free
Team USA put an exclamation point on the day with a 1-2-3 finish. Michael Klueh won in 3:40.05, while Conor Dwyer placed second in 3:40.66. Matt McLean completed the medal sweep with a third-place 3:42.11.
Denmark's Mads Glaesner (3:43.40), USA's Peter Vanderkaay (3:43.61), Great Britain's Robbie Renwick (3:45.17), Faroes' Pal Joensen (3:45.84) and Switzerland's Dominik Meichtry (3:45.88) also swam in the evening's last race.