PHOENIX, Arizona, July 24. THE news that South African Darian Townsend was given American citizenship today is likely bringing back memories of Townsend’s day at the top of the podium at the 2004 Olympics.
Representing South Africa at the time, Townsend was a part of the country’s first Olympic medal of any kind in men’s swimming as the third leg of the 400 freestyle relay. We bring you that race in today’s Throwback Thursday video not to reminisce of his time swimming with a South Africa flag on his cap, but to show Townsend’s status as one of history’s best freestylers.
Teaming up with Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns and Ryk Neethling, Townsend helped break the world record in the relay with a 3:13.17 to break Australia’s world record by a half second. That world record would last until the 2008 Olympics, when the United States took it down in the heats.