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Relay History To Be Rewritten

Jul 26, 2009  - Craig Lord

The men's 4x100m produced championship records Nos 12 and 13 of the morning: Brazil, buoyed by a lead-off 47.39 sizzler (solo champ record) from Cesar Cielo, Olympic 100m free champion, came home in 3:11.26 to get 1.46sec inside the USA's historic best back in the dark ages in 2007. Ho-hum. Stefan Nystrand (SWE), n 47.77 lead-off, and Brent Hayden (CAN), on 47.52 lead-off, got past the previous 100m solo championship records but their national quartets did not qualify for the final.

After Cielo came Nicolas Oliveira, on 47.51, Guiherme Santos, on 48.15, and Fernando Silva, on 48.21. France, without Bernard and Bousquet, came home next, on 3:11.38, with much room to improve when the big squeeze is on, while Britain took lane three in the final after finding three men capable of going 47s, Ross Davenport on a cracking 47.30, second-fastest non lead-off split of the morning.  The USA went through with the big guns still to fire. 

Rome 2009 heats:

Top 8 through: 3:11.26-3:12.78

  • Inside 3:12: 5
  • Inside 3:13: 9

Melbourne 2008 heats: 

Top 8 through: 3:15.83-3:18.15

  • Inside 3:12, 13, 14, 15: 0
  • Inside 3:16: 1
  • Inside 3:21: 13 

If Britta Steffen had swum on her world record pace leading Germany off in the 4x100m free relay this morning, the Dutch quartet's world record would have fallen by now. As things stood, with Steffen on 53.76, Germany was good enough for a championship record of 3:34.74.

The other German splits: Daniela Samulski, 53.81; Petra Dallmann, 53.69; Daniela Schrieber, 53.48.

Next through were the Olympic champions from Holland, Frederike Heemskirk,  Hinkelien Schreuder, Inge Dekker and Ranomi Kromowidjojo. Marleen Veldhuis is the missing art of the Dutch armoury for the final.

Australia came through next with a 3:35.26. Impossible to say how Meagen Nay held up to bring the quartet home: having lost her father to a car crash when she was 4 years old, she and her mother received news overnight from Australia that the swimmer's brother had died in a car crash too. The heart of the Australian team and the wider world swimming community goes out to the Nays. 

Amos Nay was killed Saturday in the Gold Coast. The news was relayed to his sister in Rome, where she planned to swim in the heats of the 400-meter freestyle relay on Sunday.

Ian Hanson, a spokesman for Swim Australia, said "everyone is devastated at the news," but adds that the team will support her in whatever decision she makes. The 20-year-old Nay is also scheduled to swim the 200 backstroke.

Her father, 1972 Olympian Robert Nay, was killed in a car accident in 1992 when his daughter was 4. Meagen's mother was in Rome for the championships, along with her stepfather.

Back to Rome action: for Britain, Fran Halsall produced the split of the morning: a 53.02 British and championship record (solo 100m) record lead-off that makes her third-fastest ever and wiped 0.8sec off her best. Didn't catch what she was wearing but it was shiny. A few weeks back would have been a European record, before Steffen wrote a new chapter in the history of shiny suited speed when she Hydrofoiled to 52.85 then 52.52 world records in Berlin.

The USA quartet went through in 7th place, a second away from missing the cut.

Rome 2009 heats:

Top 8 through: 3:34.74-3:37.64

Inside 3:35: 2

Inside 3:36: 4

Inside 3:37: 5

Inside 3:38: 8

Melbourne 2008 heats: 

Top 8 through: 3:38.32-3:41.28

Inside 3:35, 36, 37, 38: 0

Inside 3:40: 1

Inside 3:41: 7