INDIANAPOLIS, October 8. THE men’s 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay arguably was the most exciting race of the entire Games, with the USA’s Klete Keller just holding off a desperate Ian Thorpe of Australia to clinch the gold.
The same event here was just as exciting, with the outcome – a 7-hundredths victory by Team USA – the icing on the cake for the spirited home crowd.
Actually, it was a three-team race for most of the 800 meters, with Brazil hanging very tough until the final 200 meters.
Ryan Lochte led off in 1:45.03 for the US, just 0.15 sec. ahead of Australia’s Nick Sprenger. Brazil’s Rodrigo Castro was right behind in 1:46.44.
The race got even tighter in the second leg as Brazil’s Thiago Pereira split 1:45.03. Aussie Andrew Mewing’s went 1:46.14 whil the USA’s Chad Carvin split 1:46.14. At the halfway mark the US led by a mere hundredth of a second over Australia with Brazil another 15-hundredths back.
The USA’s Dan Ketchum gave the home team what appeared to be some breathing room, as his 1;45.49 was 1.4 seconds faster than Australia’s Brendan Hughes as Brazil’s Rafi Mosca dropped another second behind.
The final leg had all 9,000 fans on their feet as Australia’s Josh Krogh overtook the USA’s Justin Mortimer with 75 meters to go. For the final three laps the two swam a furious stroke-for-stroke, with Krogh inching ahead. But the Aussie made a fatal mistake as he reached for the wall, turning his head backwards to see the scoreboard. Mortimer, in contrast, executed a perfect finish to salvage victory from the sure ashes of defeat.
The scoreboard told the tale: 1. USA, 7:03.71; 2. Australia, 7:03.78; 3. the young Brazilian team, 7:06.64.