VICTORIA, British Columbia, Aug. 18. THE United States quartet of Natalie Coughlin, Lacey Nymeyer, Dana Vollmer and Katie Hoff surpassed the meet standard of 7:56.96 previously set by the Americans in 2002 with a 7:54.62 clocking in the 800-meter freestyle relay at the 2006 Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships on Friday.
“Obviously, it’s a goal of ours to break that world record at some point," Coughlin said, "But tonight we just wanted to do our best, and it's great to get a (Pan Pacific) Championship record."
Coughlin pushed the American relay out to a heavy advantage at the first relay exchange with a 1:58.37 split at the 200-meter mark. Nymeyer lost a bit of that lead over the Australians with a 2:00.06 split at the halfway mark, before Vollmer countered with a 1:58.87 to gain the lead back and more as the United States relay nearly held a two-second advantage heading into the anchor leg.
Hoff, coming off a win in the 400-meter IM just two events before, helped herself to her third gold of the meet, dropped the hammer in the final leg with a 1:57.32 – the fastest split of the race.
Meanwhile, Australia’s contingent of Bronte Barratt, Shayne Reese, Kelly Stubbins and Linda MacKenzie corralled a silver medal in 7:58.00, while the Japanese team of Maki Mita, Norie Urabe, Ai Shibata and Haruka Ueda garnered bronze in 8:00.65.