David Davies elevated himself to the highest echelons of 1500m swimming as he took a sensational Olympic bronze medal in the fastest race ever seen. The young Welshman set a new European Record and destroyed his own British record by almost 12 seconds, coming home in 14:45.95 to become only the 4th man in history to swim faster than 14:50.
The race started with a familiar pattern as Grant Hackett stole into an early lead, but he failed to drop Davies and America Larsen Jensen as completely as would be expected. Jensen and Davies then set about clawing back the early defecit and in the closing 100m both looked as though they may topple the Australian who has remained unbeaten over the distance for 7 years. In the end Hackett was strong enough to hold on and Jensen just pipped Davies to the silver, himself posting a huge improvement to his best time. Davies’ performance eclipsed Jorg Hoffman’s European record that has stood since 1991 while Graeme Smith finished in 6th place in 15:09.71.
There was less to cheer elsewhere as the men’s medley relay team were blown away in their final, coming home outside their British record from the heats, while the women’s squad were disqualified for a faulty takeover, having come home in a faster time than the heats.