Come from behind victory, leading to Michael Phelp's record of earning 8 gold medals in one Olympics.
But, there's more to this story:
- The relay set a world record, upsetting the heavily favored French team.
- Not just a world record, but it was the fastest over-all heat in swimming history. The top five teams all broke the previous world record. Imagine being the Swedish team, breaking the world record (an outstanding feat), but only to get 5th place. They didn't even get to stand on the podium for their excellence that year.
- USA relay member, Cullen Jones, is from New Jersey (graduated from St. Benedict's HS in Newark), and is the first African-American man to hold a world record in swimming.
- USA relay member, Garrett Weber-Gale, started his swimming career as a YMCA age group swimmer, and was elected to the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
- USA relay member, Jason Lezak, swimming in his 3rd Olympics at 32 years old; at that high level of international competition, that makes him an old man. He hit a 46.06 long course 100 meter free split, that converts to 40.05 in yards (think about that... 40.05!), it was the fastest 100 split ever in history, then and now. When asked how he trained to do it, he said he focused on the basics of technique and drills he's been doing for years. These weren’t new drills, they were the same ones he’d been trying to perfect since he was an age group swimmer. That’s reinforcement, drill, and habit; it's taking what we’ve learned previously and tries to make it even better every single practice. By the way, he drove to the wall too!! :)
- As for Phelp's, I liked his 100 Fly win the best. He was in 7th place at the turn, but in the end won by 1/100th of a second. It best demonstrates an important principle of competitive swimming too. Ultimately, the winner is not the "fastest" swimmer, but the swimmer who slows down the least. Hence the need to streamline, focus on technique, reduce drag, and train consistently.
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