FINA World Championships, Swimming: U.S. Dominates Women’s 800 Free Relay With Textile Best; Missy Franklin Leads Off With Textile Best

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SHANGHAI, China, July 28. THE United States foursome of Missy Franklin, Dagny Knutson, Katie Hoff and Allison Schmitt crushed the textile best and the competition in the women's 800 free relay to close the evening at the FINA World Long Course Championships.

Franklin lowered the textile best in the 200 free with a sterling leadoff time of 1:55.06. That swim eclipsed the 1:55.45 set by Federica Pellegrini in a textile suit last year, and would have won Franklin the 200 free title this year. Pellegrini captured the gold medal in the individual 200 free with a 1:55.58.

"I've never felt so strong, and that was really great," Franklin said. "I didn't know I could make the final, and that relay was so exciting. To be able to be here and bring back the medal for my country is so great. Being 16, I think I'm so calm and relaxed and it really helped me. I have the best teammates. They are so supportive, and I'm grateful for that."

The U.S. National Team has also raved about Franklin's dancing ability after she performed on skit night during the staging camp.

"I started dancing when I was three," Franklin said about her dancing ability. I like ballet, watching video and dancing and such things."

An argument can be made that Sara Isakovic could still be in possession of the textile best with her 1:54.97 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as there is some conversation that she wore a textile suit at the meet. However, Swimming World does not have confirmation on this.

Knutson followed up with a 1:57.18, while Hoff clocked a 1:57.41. Schmitt anchored the world title with a 1:56.49 en route to a sterling time of 7:46.14. That swim far surpassed the textile best of 7:50.09 set by the U.S. back at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne.

The win returned the 800 free relay title to the U.S. after China won in 2009. The U.S. has now won four out of the past five women's 800 free relay world titles after winning it for the first time at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona.

Australia's Bronte Barratt, Blair Evans, Angie Bainbridge and Kylie Palmer took second in 7:47.42, while China's Chen Qian, Pang Jiaying, Liu Jing and Tang Yi claimed third with a 7:47.66.

France (7:52.22), Hungary (7:52.39), Great Britain (7:53.51), Canada (7:53.62) and New Zealand (7:56.55) rounded out the championship heat.