Day 8 finals, Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai
Men's 4x100m medley
James The Magnificent Magnussen almost stole America's thunder but even a sizzling 47.00 homecoming freestyle leg of the medley relay could not stop the superpower from taking a last gold of the championships, in 3:32.06, to 3.32.26, bronze to Germany in 3:32.60, the leaders until freestyle, Japan, locked out in 3:32.89.
That gave the US a soaring 16 golds at the helm of 29 medals overall. Another meet in the bag.
Watched from the stands by compatriot Daichi Suzuki, the man who sank Berkoff with a spot of superior submariney before disappearing acts were banned, Ryosuke Irie took the helm for Japan in 52.94, Helge Meeuw (GER) next in on 53.53, Nick Thoman on 53.61 for the US, and Hayden Stoeckel on 54.22 for Australia.
Kosuke Kitajima's 59.59 kept the Japanese out front, Henrik Feldwehr on 59.72 for Germany, Mark Gangloff on 1:00.24 for the US and, producing the best split of them all, 2009 world champion Brenton Rickard, on 59.32 for the Dolphins.
Takuro Fujii, Benjamin Starke, and Geoff Huegill left their blocks before Michael Phelps took flight. By the turn the American had got to the German and the Australian but even on the way home and with a split 1sec better than the quarry ahead, he could not get past Fujii, whose split was 51.55 to 50.57 for the solo world champion at the past three times of asking, with Huegill on 51.72 and Stake on 51.83.
It was all down to the freestyle, and Nathan Adrian did not disappoint, hold on for a 3:32.06 win off a 47.64 split. Anther yard and all would have been lost for over on the wing James Magnussen (AUS) came flying through with a 47.00 crackle that left him just 0.2sec shy of the American for silver.
Pity Shogo Hirara, in first but home last of the top 4 teams, his 48.81 unable to fend of Paul Biedermann, on 47.52 for a 3:32.60 bronze, the third of the meet for the 2009 double champion. Japan was just 0.29sec away.
History in the making:
From the archive:
The USA has won 12 of the 14 titles since 1973 and two of its losses came down to disqualification. On both those occasions, Australia emerged victorious, first in 2001, then in 2007. The latter had repercussions beyond the relay: when Ian Crocker, world 100m ‘fly record holder jumped the gun too soon in heats he also put paid to Michael Phelps’s ambition of winning an historic eight gold medals. Never before had the US missed a medley relay final.
At the dawn of 2008, no quartet had ever broken 3:30. At the Rome 2009 world championships, the USA quartet of Peirsol, Shanteau, Phelps and Walters set a world mark of 3:27.28 for victory. They had improved 2sec in a year. The silver went to Germany in 3:28.58, a year-on-year progression of 9sec; Australia took bronze in stepping up from 3:30.04 in 2008 to 3:28.64; Brazil improved almost 10sec to finish fourth in 3:29.16; while France joined the sub 3:30 club in 3:29.73 for fifth. In 2010, Gaul led the world rankings on 3:31.32 the time in which it claimed the European crown. The Pan Pacific title went to the USA in 3:32.48, and the Commonwealth crown to Australia in 3:33.15.