PHOENIX, Arizona, August 15. SWIMMING World begins a new weekly series today to tie in with the popular Twitter “Throwback Thursday” hashtag that will highlight a special video from the past that has relevance in today’s society, marks an anniversary, or is just a nice look back at swimming history.
The 2004 Olympics were mostly known as Michael Phelps’ first attempt at winning eight gold medals in one meet. Very few remember that plan being spoiled on the first day of the competition, when South Africa blitzed the field by a full second to capture gold in the 400 freestyle relay.
Today’s “Throwback Thursday” video brings you that race, with commentary by NBC online talent Craig Hummer and Olympian Dara Torres. The South African team of Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neethling took six tenths off Australia’s world record of 3:13.67 with a 3:13.17. Schoeman and Townsend are still active competitive swimmers, while Neethling and Ferns run successful learn-to-swim schools in South Africa.
Our inspiration to debut our weekly feature with this swim came from Townsend, who sent a tweet reminiscing about his involvement with the relay:
Absolute privilege 2 be part of that relay with you guys 9 years ago! @Rolandschoeman @lyndon_ferns @RykNeethling pic.twitter.com/3IyNyUh1C0— Darian Townsend (@dariantownsend) August 15, 2013
South Africa’s world record lasted two years. The United States managed to drop the world record by more than a second at the 2006 Pan Pacific championships and have never relinquished it, despite losing a few key international races.
If you have an idea for future videos to feature on Swimming World’s Throwback Thursday video, send us an email.