Cal's Nathan Adrian Anchors United States' Surprise Win in 400 Free Relay
July 26, 2009
ROME - California junior standout Nathan Adrian made one of the biggest splashes during the first day of the swimming competition at the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome. Adrian paced the United States to a surprise gold medal in the 400-meter free relay Sunday, July 26, swimming the anchor leg on the American squad that also included Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Matt Grevers. Team USA touched just 31-hundredths of second ahead of second-place Russia (3:09.52) with a meet record time of 3:09.21. Favored France was third at 3:09.89.
The United States was in third place after the first two legs of Phelps (47.78) and Lochte (47.03) with the French holding a half second lead. After Grevers' third leg (47.61), France's lead over the Americans was down to five-hundredths of a second and Russia had taken the lead. But, Adrian swam an impressive 46.79 during the final leg to give Team USA the victory.
'I was confident with (Adrian) on the block,' said Phelps. 'I was confident he was going to step up and swim an excellent leg. That's good news for the future of our relays.'
'I just tried to stay within myself and tried to race my own race,' explained Adrian, who earlier had captured both the 50 and 100-meter freestyle at the ConocoPhillips National Championships, July 9-10, in Indianapolis.
Adrian continues to prove he is one of the best young freestylers in the world. He was a 2008 Olympic gold medalist as a member of the United States' 400-meter freestyle relay team in Beijing and went on to become the 2009 NCAA champion in the 50 (18.71) and 100-yard freestyle (41.08) last March in College Station, Texas. Adrian was the 2009 Pac-10 champion in the 50, 100 and 200 free as well, earning Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year accolades.