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September 16, 2000
Thorpe again, as Aus upsets US in relayThe Rediff Team
There's been a bit of a needle on between the Aussies and the American swimmers, and it all came to a head in the men's 4x100 m relay. The Aussies, looking to stamp their authority on the pool, fielded Ian Thorpe, less than an hour after the teen sensation had shattered the world record in the 400m individual freestyle.
That was a risk -- probably a calculated one.
The Americans had qualified with the fastest time, in the heats, of 3:15.43 -- just marginally outside their own world record of 3:15.11.
The Australians lined up Michael Klim, Chris Fydler, Ashley Callus and Ian Thorpe. The Americans had Antony Ervin, Neil Walker, Jason Lezak and Gary Hall Jr.
Michael Klim led off for the Australians -- and shot into the lead, doing the 100 in 48.18. And suddenly, an upset looked on, as did a world record -- Klim's time was inside the WR split of 49.32.
The US trailed in second, with Italy chasing the leaders.
From then on, it was Australia all the way. Fydler kept the lead, splitting the 200 at 1:37.20. Callus, after briefly surrendering the lead, reclaimed it, splitting the 300 at 2:25.37.
And that left Thorpe to swim the final lap. Seemingly tired after his earlier exertions, Thorpe looked a touch sluggish initially, and even briefly surrendered the lead around the 350m mark. And then he woke up, surged forward -- and the rest was history, as another world record tumbled.
The Australians clocked 3:13.67, well inside the existing world record of 3:15.11.
The Americans swam 3:13.86, breaking their own record but falling just short of the Australians' new mark.
Brazil came in third, clocking 3:17.40.
Thorpe had claimed his second gold of the evening -- though a fairer estimate would be that Thorpe had, this time, provided the assist -- except for two very brief spells, the Australians led start to finish.
And by way of icing on this cake, Michael Klim, swimming the first lap, broke the world's fastest time for the 100m freestyle in the relay, with a time of 48.18.
The new splits recorded by the Aussies read: Klim 48.18, Fydler 48.48, Callus 48.71 and Thorpe 48.30.
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