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Gaul Exorcises Sprint Relay Ghosts

Dec 15, 2010  - Craig Lord

Dubai, world short-course championships, day 1 finals:

Men's 4x100m freestyle

France's sprint crew may finally have broken their relay duck. In 3:04.78, a championship record that saw Yannick Agnel inch past Danila Izotov in the closing few strokes to steal the crown from Russia, Gaul exorcised the ghost of former missed opportunities for the world short-course crown. Russia also raced well inside former textile best on the way to silver in 3:04.82, with bronze going to Brazil in 3:05.74, locking the USA out by 0.36sec, Australia a further 0.08sec adrift. A rare podium miss for aquatic superpowers No 1 an 2. 

For France, gold will confirm to Alain Bernard, Fred Bousquet, Fabien Gilot and Yannick Agnel that if they pull together at the right moment, they can indeed win. It was nothing they didn't know but they and other teammates have to date found that hard to prove when the world is gathered for the fight. No more.

For Russia, having set the best-ever mark in textile in morning heats 3sec away from France's winning time and almost that slower than the silver-winning effort of their best quartet this evening, thoughts will now turn to going one better in Shanghai and a world long-course championships next July that will take on a whole new scale yet. 

With a nod to the solo 100m battle, Cesar Cielo (BRA) fired a sizzling 45.08 shot across the bows of rivals.

The way it panned out:

  • France - 3:04.78 European record

Alain Bernard 46.78; Fred Bousquet (45.92) 1:32.70; Fabien Gilot (45.75) 2:18.45; Yannick Agnel (46.33) 3:04.78

  • Russia - 3:04.82

Evgeny Lagunov 46.68; Sergey Fesikov (45.87) 1:32.55; Nikita Lobintsev (45.79) 2:18.34; Danila Izotov (46.48) 3:04.82

  • Brazil - 3:05.74

Nicholas Santos 47.33; Cesar Cielo (45.08) 1:32.41; Marcelo Chierighini (47.02) 2:19.43; Nicolas Oliveira (46.31) 3:05.74

  • USA - 3:06.10
  • Australia - 3:06.18
  • Italy - 3:06.56
  • China - 3:11.03
  • Sweden - 3:11.29

Australia did not race at the 2000 event as it prepared for a home Olympics but apart from that excuse neither the Dolphins nor the Stars & Stripes missed the podium in this event during the decade past. 

History in the making:

World s/c Podiums

  • 2010: 3:04.78; 3:04.82; 3:05.74
  • 2008: 3:08.44; 3:09.18; 3:10.04
  • 2006: 3:10.74; 3:11.63; 3:11.92

Most world titles in this event: 3 - USA, 2002, 2004, 2008

Records (TB = best ever in a textile suit)

  • WR: 3:03.30 USA 19.12.09
  • TB: 3:04.78 France, 15.12.10

Most world records in this event (since specific 25m records began in 1991): 3 - Brazil

Impact of Dubai 2010 on all-time rankings (all suits): France No 2, Russia No3

All-time textile rankings top 5:

  • 3:04.78 - France Dubai 2010
  • 3:04.82 - Russia Dubai 2010
  • 3:05.74 - Brazil Dubai 2010
  • 3:06.10 - USA Dubai 2010
  • 3:06.18 - Australia Dubai 2010

From the archive: 

On May 1, 1957, FINA decided that world records could only be set in pools 50m long. For several years, that meant that the world records in several events were slower than the pre-May 1, 1957 standard, a line having been drawn in the record books and standard times imposed based in part on the best performances set in 50m pools prior to that date.  The 4x100m freestyle was a simple calculation, for while the record in many events had stood to a swimmer who had raced in a 25m or 25 or 33 and a third-yard pool,  the Japanese quartet of Hiroshi Suzuki, A. Tani, Toro Goto and M. Koga had set their 3:46.8 in a 50m pool in Tokyo on August 6, 1955. No idea is that Mr Koga is related to the current backstroke swimmer but in the squad who held the mark before the Japanese was a certain Dick Thoman, of Yale and grandfather of current world 100m back record holder Nick Thoman, who today in Dubai raced into the final of the four-lap backstroke.