So Ian Thorpe didn’t get his 6th gold in Yokohama, but it took a world record from the US Medley relay quartet to deny him. The US were expected to lead from the front with world no.1 Aaron Peirsol and 200m champion Brendan Hansen taking them out strongly, but on paper the Aussie back end was faster.
A storming fly leg from Michael Phelps however, prevented Geoff Heugill from making any impression on their lead and Jason Lezak went in ahead of the Thorpedo on the anchor. Lezak’s heart must have been in his mouth as on the first day of the championships, Thorpe had swum through him on the anchor of the 4×100 free relay, splitting a hugely impressive 47.92. There was to be no repeat however, as the American champion held onto the lead, despite a phenomenal split of 47.2 form the Australian. The US took the gold and removed 0.25s from their own record, with a time of 3:33.48
Elsewhere Natalie Coughlin was the female star of the meet, taking 4 golds and setting a fast 53.99 in the womens 100 free final, less than half a seond behind Inge de Bruijn’s world record, to go with another sub minute 100 backstroke swim.
The US finished top of the medal table to reassert their dominance over Australia, with 21 of the available 34 gold medals.