Duel in the Pool: Flash! Five World Records On Day One

MANCHESTER, England, December 18. TEAM USA took a commanding 89-33 lead over the European All Star team after the first day of short course meter competition at the Duel in the Pool. The first session featured five world records and a massive revision of the European and American record books.

The U.S. men jumped out to a 48-13 advantage after day one, while the U.S. women were in front with a 41-20 lead.

The U.S. foursome of Margaret Hoelzer (57.47), Jessica Hardy (1:03.58), Dana Vollmer (54.37) and Amanda Weir (52.55) started off the meet in a big way with a world record in the women's 400 medley relay. The quartet clocked a 3:47.97, to beat Canada's global standard of 3:49.45 set in August. Meanwhile, the E-Stars squad of Great Britain's Gemma Spofforth, Germany's Caroline Ruhnau, Italy's Ilaria Bianchi and Germany's Daniela Samulski drew a disqualification after turning in a 3:52 time.

Here are the comparative splits for the new and old world records:
U.S.: Margaret Hoelzer (57.47), Jessica Hardy (1:03.58), Dana Vollmer (54.37) and Amanda Weir (52.55): 3:47.97
Canada: Katy Murdoch (56.88), Annamay Pierse (1:03.39), Audrey Lacroix (57.29) and Victoria Poon (51.89): 3:49.95

Incidentally, the U.S. also lowered the American record of 3:51.36 set by Hoelzer, Hardy, Rachel Komisarz and Kara Denby at the 2008 World Championships in Manchester.

In the men's 400 medley relay, Nick Thoman ledoff the U.S. team with a world record time of 48.94. That performance wiped out the 48.97 tie between Arkady Vyatchanin and Stanislav Donets set in Istanbul last week. The U.S. team of Thoman (48.94), Mark Gangloff (57.03), Michael Phelps (49.93) and Nathan Adrian (44.81) stopped the clock in 3:20.71 to break the world record. Canada held the previous global mark with a 3:23.33 from August. The E-Stars team of Liam Tancock, Fabio Scozzoli, Michael Rock and Christian Galenda finished second in 3:24.67.

Here are the comparative splits:
U.S.: Nick Thoman (23.37, 48.94), Mark Gangloff (57.03), Michael Phelps (49.93) and Nathan Adrian (44.81)
Canada: Jake Tapp (50.60), Paul Kornfeld (57.18), Joe Bartoch (50.18) and Brent Hayden (45.37)

Comparative splits for the 100 back world records:
Thoman: 23.37, 48.94 (25.57)
Vyatchanin: 23.72, 48.97 (25.25)
Donets: 23.31, 48.97 (25.66)

Notably, the U.S. also broke the American record in the 400 medley relay of 3:24.38 set by Randall Bal, Gangloff, Ryan Lochte and Adrian, while Thoman beat Peter Marshall's American record of 49.29 in the 100 back.

Julia Smit smashed the world record in the women's 400 IM with a stunning time of 4:21.04. That swim beat the 4:22.88 set by Kathryn Meaklim during the Singapore stop of the World Cup, and demolished the American record of 4:25.87 Smit set in 2008 in Toronto.

Here are the comparative splits:
Smit: 28.39, 1:00.60 (32.21), 1:33.93 (33.33), 2:06.01 (32.08), 2:42.66 (36.65), 3:19.42 (36.76), 3:50.58 (31.16), 4:21.04 (30.46)
Meaklim: 28.84, 1:01.68 (32.84), 1:36.73 (35.05), 2:10.57 (33.84), 2:46.62 (36.05), 3:22.75 (36.13), 3:53.48 (30.73), 4:22.88 (29.40)

Dagny Knutson followed for Team USA with a second-place time of 4:24.31, also under the previous American record. Meanwhile, Great Britain's Hannah Miley uncorked a European record with a third-place 4:24.51. That time beat Mireia Belmonte Garcia's previous record of 4:25.06.

The world record barrage took a breather in the men's 400 IM as Tyler Clary (4:02.02), Jack Brown (4:03.57) and Alex Vanderkaay (4:05.22) provided the U.S. a 1-2-3 sweep in the event. Thomas Haffield (4:05.78) of Great Britain was the E-Stars' top finisher. Clary did, however, beat the American record of Ryan Lochte. Lochte clocked a 4:02.49 in 2006.

The E-Stars fought back in the women's 100 free as Great Britain's Fran Halsall touched in 51.54. She just missed her European record of 51.19 set in November during the World Cup circuit. Dana Vollmer took second for Team USA with a time of 52.16. That swim shattered the American record of 52.79 held by Dara Torres since 2007. Germany's Daniela Schreiber placed third in 52.73.

No one could counter Nathan Adrian's superior final 50 meters in the men's 100 free. Adrian raced to an American record time of 45.42. That swim crushed Ian Crocker's previous national mark of 46.25 set back in 2004. Italy's Marco Orsi picked up second-place points for the E-Stars with a 46.59, while Michael Phelps completed the podium with a 46.99.

Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds gave the world record a bit of a run, but could not match Shiho Sakai's global standard of 2:00.18 in the women's 200 back. Simmonds settled with cutting more than a half-second from her European record with a 2:00.91. Simmonds set the previous record with a 2:01.48 at the Singapore stop of the World Cup last month. The U.S. went 2-3 with Margaret Hoelzer (2:02.72) and Elizabeth Pelton (2:02.78) both clearing Natalie Coughlin's American record of 2:03.62 set back in 2001.

Demonstrating the incredible depth of men's backstroke in the U.S., Team USA swept the top three spots in the men's 200 back. Matt Grevers won in 1:48.74, finishing about a second back of Ryan Lochte's American record of 1:47.91. Thoman took second in 1:50.05, while Aaron Peirsol checked in with a third-place 1:51.08.

Equally as impressive, the U.S. women's breaststroke crew went 1-2-3 in the women's 200 breast. Rebecca Soni produced an amazing world record swim for the win in 2:14.57. That effort destroyed Leisel Jones' world record of 2:15.42 set during the Berlin stop of the World Cup last month. Meanwhile, Katy Freeman (2:17.50) and Ariana Kukors (2:23.03) finished the podium sweep for Team USA. Notably, Soni also beat Tara Kirk's American record of 2:20.70 set in 2004.

Here are the comparative splits of the world records:
Soni: 31.05, 1:05.18 (34.13), 1:40.00 (34.82), 2:14.57 (34.57)
Jones: 31.30, 1:06.07 (34.77), 1:41.00 (34.93), 2:15.42 (34.42)

Swimming for Team USA after changing his sport nationality about a year ago, Bulgarian-American Mike Alexandrov won the men's 200 breast in 2:03.72. Italy's Edoardo Giorgetti took second overall in 2:03.80, while Sean Mahoney placed third for Team USA in 2:04.28.

Great Britain's Fran Halsall raced to victory in the women's 100 fly with a top time of 55.71. She touched out Christine Magnuson of the U.S., who wound up second in an American-record time of 55.81. That time cleared the 56.32 set by Komisarz in Manchester during the 2008 World Short Course Championships. Vollmer snagged third-place points with a 56.00, also under the previous record.

Phelps surfaced triumphant in the men's 100 fly with a strong time of 50.46. Germany's Benjamin Starke finished second in 50.51, while Great Britain's Michael Rock took third in 50.61.

Allison Schmitt of Team USA upset Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington in the women's 400 free, 3:55.89 to 3:59.04. Schmitt also downed one of the longest-standing American records in the books by beating Lindsay Benko's 2003 mark of 3:59.53. Adlington finished well off the world and continental record of teammate Joanne Jackson, who set a 3:54.92 in August. Knutson kept up her strong first day of action with a third-place 4:01.21.

Team USA's Peter Vanderkaay finished the first day of swimming with a winning time of 3:35.54 in the men's 400 free. Italy's Federico Colbertaldo took second overall in 3:38.54, while Michael Klueh gave the U.S. a 1-3 finish with a 3:39.94.

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