World Record Not Quite Enough For Vendt In 400m IM
Aug. 15, 2002
USC senior Erik Vendt and prep phenom Michael Phelps both went under the world record mark in the 400m IM at the 2002 Summer Nationals, but Vendt was edged at the wire and settled for second in the race on Thursday (Aug. 15) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In one of the greatest races in U.S. Nationals history, Vendt, the 2000 Olympic silver medallist in the 400m IM, swam a 4:11.27, but was passed in the final 25 meters by Phelps, who touched ahead in 4:11.09. They both bettered the world record of 4:11.76 set by fellow American Tom Dolan, who watched the race from the stands.
'I knew whoever won would have the world record, and I came in tonight focusing on winning,' Vendt said. 'To be honest, I thought I had him going into the last 25, but he's just really tough.
'It was the best race I've ever been a part of. I guarantee if I didn't have him right there, there's no way I would have done that.'
Vendt trailed Phelps, the world record holder in the 200m fly, by 2.60 seconds after the opening 100 meters of butterfly and trailed by 3.41 seconds after the 100 meters of backstroke. Vendt closed to within .52 after 100 meters of the breaststroke and overtook Phelps after 50 meters of the freestyle, leading by .14. But it wasn't quite enough as Phelps outstretched Vendt at the finish.
Said Phelps: 'I don't think either one of us wanted to lose that race. My eyes were on him at all times. He's a very dangerous man in the 400 IM.'
Vendt's second-place finish was one of three for Trojan Swim Club on the night.
Lindsay Benko finished second in the 100m free, swimming a 54.94, just off of Natalie Coughlin's 54.66. It was her third second-place of the meet after finishing behind Coughlin in the 200m free and Diana Munz in the 400m free.
Lenny Krayzelburg took his second second of the meet, this time in the 200m backstroke, once again touching after Aaron Peirsol. Krayzelburg went 1:58.67 to Peirsol's 1:56.21
Junior Trent Staley also finalled in the 200m back, taking eighth in 2:01.18. In a tightly bunched race at the end, Staley was less than three tenths of a second away from third place.