LONG BEACH, Calif., July 7. KLETE Keller accomplished something tonight very few swimmers can claim: He broke a Michael Phelps record. Nay, he smashed a Michael Phelps record, reclaiming the standard Phelps had taken from him last year.
And he did it while not feeling well. “I wasn’t feeling excellent,” he told SwimInfo, but my coach, Jon Urbancek, says you don’t have to feel good to swim fast.”
Keller obliterated the American record for the 400-meter freestyle, clocking 3:44.19, the world’s second fastest time of 2004. Only Australia’s Grant Hackett has swum faster this year. Phelps owned the previous mark of 3:46.73.
Keller’s time also broke the US Open mark of 3:46.60 set last month by world record-holder Ian Thorpe.
The 22 year-old Club Wolverine ace was ahead of American record pace throughout, splitting 53.95, 1:50.19, 2:47.34 before touching in 3:44.19. He said afterwards he might have swum even faster had he not had a cramp in the final 100 meters.
His coach, Jon Urbancek, said Keller is “capable of going 3:42.”
Mission Viejo’s Larsen Jensen was also under the old standards, earning a ticket to Athens with his 3:46.56.
Both Keller and Jensen dropped out of USC to train for the Olympics. Their gamble paid off big-time tonight.