Rome 2009, Day 6
Men's 4x200m freestyle final
The USA retained the world 4x200m freestyle title by the skin of their suits: 6:58.55, a world record by 0.01sec, kept Russia at bay by 0.6sec.
Michael Phelps (1:44.49), Ricky Berens (1:44.13), David Walters (1:45.47), and Ryan Lochte (1:44.46) accounted for the world record, while Nikita Lobintsev (1:45.10), Michail Polishuk (1:45.42), Danila Isotov (1:44.48), and Alexander Sukhorukov (1:44.15) accounted for the European record. Australians Kendrick Monk, Robert Hurley, Tommaso D'Orsogna (no, he didn't just walk in off a Roman road and he can't speak more than a few words of Italian but watch for the 18-year-old on 1:44.82), and Patrick Murphy took bronze in 7:01.65, a Commonwealth record and 0.61sec ahead of Japan.
The fastest split came from man staging a small rematch: racing two lanes along from Phelps in lead-off position for Germany was Paul Biedermann, on 1:42.81, 0.81sec off that thunderous world record when he beat the American and stile his crown. But then he had been posing as a gladiator at the Collisseum with his medals and so forth so that might have taken a toll.
Phelps noted, as he has often done, the value of team when it comes to his own success: "These guys all swam unbelievable legs. It was a world record, it was because of these guys. I was a little over half a second off of what I went in Beijing, so I wasn't too pleased with that, but that's part of a team. A team is always there to back you up."The race marked the sixth world record of the night and the 35th global mark of the championships.
FINA's swimming technical committee will now look at a way of demarcating the period 2008-09 in the world record book to account for a period in which suits were truly significant to the result sheet and the historic thread of the sport.
The sport of swimming is to be revived from January 1, 2010.