Olympics, Swimming: Flash United States Breaks World Record in 400 Free Relay Prelim

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 10. NOT that the record is going to last past the morning, but the United States took down the world record during the preliminaries of the 400 freestyle relay. The quartet of Nathan Adrian, Cullen Jones, Ben Wildman-Tobriner and Matt Grevers clocked 3:12.23 to better the former world mark of 3:12.46, set by the United States in 2006.

Adrian got the Americans started with a split of 48.82, with Jones (47.61), Wildman-Tobriner (48.03) and Grevers (47.77) finishing off the race. By the end of the championship final, the record could be more than two seconds faster, such is the state of sprinting in the world today. Jones is likely to retain his spot on the relay, where he'll be joined by Michael Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale and Jason Lezak.

France and Australia also went under the previous world record in the event, with the French going 3:12.36 and using only two of their big guns – Amaury Leveaux and Fred Bousquet. As for the Australians, they checked in at 3:12.41 without the services of Eamon Sullivan. Matt Targett was the big performer for the Aussies, splitting 47.22.

Italy took fourth in 3:12.65 and Sweden also cracked 3:13 as Stefan Nystrand led off a team that touched the wall in 3:12.73. Defending champion South Africa, using the same quartet that won gold in Athens, was sixth in 3:13.06. The South Africans were likely holding back and should cut big time tomorrow. Also in the championship field are Canada (3:13.68) and Great Britain (3:13.69).

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