BARCELONA, July 27. TEAM USA broke the Championship Record (CR) set by Australia in Fukuoka in 2001 when a very classy "heat team" of Randall Bal, Ed Moses, Michael Phelps and Neil Walker clocked 3:34.80 to break the old standard by 0.55 seconds.
There were no real surprises here this morning in the individual medley events, where the top three ranked swimmers this year in both the men’s and women’s 400m individual medley qualified in the middle lanes for the respective finals tonight.
Men’s 400m individual medley
World record-holder Michael Phelps was back in the pool for two swims this morning after his surprise loss in the 100 fly last night. The versatile 18-year-old American qualified second fastest (4:14.72) behind another 18-year-old, Hungarian Laszio Cseh. Cseh who swam a quick 4:14.11 (9th all-time performer) follows in the footsteps of the great Hungarian IM’er, Tamas Darnyi, who won two world titles in ’86 and ’91 still holds the Hungarian record of 4:12.36 from winning in Perth.
Japan’s Takahiro Mori (4:17.12) and American Tom Wilkens (4:17.21), the bronze medalist from Fukuoka, were next best. Canadian short course world record-holder Brian Johns as made it through in 4:18.33.
Women’s 400m individual relay
Hungarian Eva Risztov was fastest in 4:42.89 from German Nicole Hetzer (4:43.48) and Ukrainian world record-holder and title-holder, Yana Klochkova (4:44.14).
Romanian Beatrice Caslaru (4:44.26) and 17-year-old Hungarian Diana Remenyi were also under the 4:45 mark.
Georgina Bardach of Argentina made it into the final while American Maggie Bowen, the silver medalist from Fukuoka, took the last spot in 4:47.08. The other American, Maddy Crippen, did not make it into the final round.
Men’s 400m medley relay
The USA was DQ’ed in Fukuoka so there is important business here tonight after the Aussies took the title in 2001.
As fate would have it. this time around it was the Aussies who were DQ’ed in their heat after breaststroker Jim Piper was a little too quick off the blocks, particularly for a morning swim.
The Americans should be too good tonight for the rest of the field, probably bringing in an entirely new team with Peirsol and Hansen, Crocker and Lezak the likely line-up. It’s hard to believe that Michael Phelps would miss this final but that’s swimming.
The competition should come from Japan (3:37.08), France (3:57) and 400 free relay winners Russia (3:38.14), which also used an entire "B" team for the prelims.
Russian coach Gennadi Touretski told SwimInfo this morning he felt the Russians could surprise if they managed a good breaststroke leg. At the very least, the Russians should be favored for silver.
South Africa also lost a chance to swim in the final when anchorman Ryk Neethling jumped.