Jeremy Stravius at the 2011 worlds
Courtesy of: O Sports via USA Today Sports
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BARCELONA, Spain, July 28. AT the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the world stood in awe as Jason Lezak overhauled the heavily-favored French team to win the men's 400-meter freestyle relay. Ever since, the French have used being "Lezaked" as a rallying cry and learned from it.

Last year, Yannick Agnel delivered the key anchor with a blazing time of 46.74 to overtake Ryan Lochte for Olympic gold in the men's 400-meter freestyle in London. This year, Fabien Gilot (46.90) and Jeremy Stravius (47.59) shot right past Team USA and Russia moving the French from fourth to victory with a surprising finish from lane 6. Along with Agnel (48.76) and Florent Manaudou (47.93), the French posted a 3:11.18 for the win, their first world title in the event's history. That's now two straight meets in which the United States has been unable to win the event after a three-meet winning streak keyed by Michael Phelps.


Team USA's Nathan Adrian (47.95), Ryan Lochte (47.80), Anthony Ervin (47.44) and Jimmy Feigen (48.23) had to settle for second in 3:11.42 as the foursome obviously was locked in a duel with the Russians in lane 5 to win silver. Adrian was so spent after the race that he wound up vomiting during the awards ceremony.

Update: Bob Bowman, the USA men's head coach, told media after the award ceremony that Adrian was suffering from an undisclosed illness that caused his vomiting. Adrian passed by the mixed zone after the award ceremony and commented that he felt better.

Russia's Andrey Grechin (48.09), Nikita Lobintsev (47.91), Vlad Morozov (47.40) and Danila Izotov (48.04) finished third in 3:11.44 and would have won the world title going away if Russia could have replicated the 3:10.88 it used to win the title at the World University Games earlier this month in Kazan.

Australia's James Magnussen (48.00), Cameron McEvoy (47.44), Tommaso D'orsogna (48.05) and James Roberts (48.09) just missed the podium with a fourth-place 3:11.58.

Italy (3:12.62), Germany (3:13.77), Brazil (3:14.45) and Japan (3:14.75) collected the rest of the championship heat finishes.

It's not the kind he would have liked, but Lochte also collected his 20th career long course World Championship medal with the silver-medal performance.

Yannick Agnel After Win



Results: FINA World Championships: Men's 400 Free Relay Finals

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