INDIANAPOLIS, October 10. Jenny Thompson, one of the most dependable international relay performers in the history of American swimming, anchored her last American relay to world championship gold tonight in a great three-way battle that required all of Jenny’s heart..
The American team touched at 3:35.07, 0.52 away from a questionable Chinese record set at the Goteborg championships in 1997.
The American performance was remarkable consistent with all four leg either :53.7 or :53.8l Amanda Weir’s leadoff was :53.70, clearly a key leg of the relay as she stayed in contact with Australia’s 100 free champion Libby Lenton who had anchored the world record medley last night with the fastest 100 meters ever swum by a woman.
Australia surpassed the expectations accorded by the conventional wisdom. But they were still only third (3:36.18) with Sweden rising up in lane to present the biggest threat to the USA squad at 3:35.83.
World record holder Therese Alshammar anchored the Swedish squad and showed some spark that has been missing from her performances since the 2002 Moscow short course FINA meet. She closed significantly on Jenny (:25.12 to :25.96 on the first 50), before Jenny responded coming down the final length to hold off the Swedish star. Alshammar had the fastest split of the field at :53.20.
Lindsay Benko also swam her last American relay and, in front of her home town fans. She swam an absolutely solid leg giving Jenny the margin she needed to hold off Alshammar.
Amanda Weir :26.01 :53.70
Kara Lynn Joyce :25.80 :53.84
Lindsay Benko :25.95 :53.78
Jenny Thompson :25.96 :53.75
Josefin Lillhage :26.07 :54.26
Anna-Karin Kammerling :25.41 :53.93
Johanna Sjoberg :25.82 :54.44
Therese Alshammar :25.12 :53.20
Lisbeth Lenton :25.70 :53.45
Louise Tomlinson :25.99 :54.13
Danni Miatke :25.98 :54.78
Shayne Reese :25.56 :53.82
— D. Scott