Jensen Lowers Own U.S. 800 Freestyle Record In Silver-Medal Swim At World Championships

July 27, 2005


USC junior-to-be Larsen Jensen lowered his American record and became the third fastest man ever in the 800 freestyle (lcm) en route to the silver medal while Trojan teammate Ous Mellouli also reached the final of the race on Wednesday (July 27) at the XI Fina World Championships in Montreal.

Jensen swam his 800 meters in 7:45.63, bettering his previous U.S. standard of 7:48.09, which he set in a silver-medal winning performance at the 2003 World Championships. Wednesday's result marks the third time he's set the U.S. record in the event.

Only Australian world record holder Grant Hackett, the most prolific distance swimmer ever, swam faster than Jensen. Hackett broke fellow Aussie Ian Thorpe's world record in the race, clocking 7:38.65 to Thorpe's four-year-old 7:39.16. Hackett led by more than a second after 50 meters and his lead kept growing from there.

Still, Jensen's mark left only Hackett and Thorpe ahead of him in the history of the 800 meters, the Australian pair the only other men ever to break 7:46 besides Jensen.

Jensen won silver in the 1500m free at the 2004 Olympics, similarly re-setting his American record and becoming the third-fastest ever in the distance. He'll swim it again in Montreal on Saturday (prelims) and likely Sunday (final), once again going against Hackett. Jensen was less than two seconds from Hackett in Athens and will give him a fight again this weekend.

Mellouli's fifth-place time of 7:51.03 was also exceptional, but he just ran into one of the fastest fields ever. The bronze medal winner in the 400m free on Sunday, Mellouli swam third behind Hackett and Jensen for most of the race, but was passed by bronze-medal-winning Yuri Prilukov (Russia) with 150 meters to go and by Przemyslaw Stanczyk (Poland) on the final lap.

Still, Mellouli's time made him the 10th fastest ever in the race. He'll race again in the 400m IM on Sunday with good odds to win a medal.

Interestingly, USC swimmers Jensen, Mellouli, Erik Vendt and Dan Jorgensen are all among the top 20 fastest ever in the 800 meters.

Fellow Trojan Mihaly Flaskay, from Hungary, swam on Tuesday after qualifying for the semifinals of the 50m breaststroke, but missed qualifying for the final by a tenth of a second.

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