Men’s 4x100m free: France gets the gold; US out of the final

Kazan 2015 - SW

After a huge “tsunami” hit the preliminaries in the morning, with the non-qualification of the US team for the final, France revalidated the 2013 world title in a time of 3:10.74. The European team is always one of the quartets to watch in this event and was certainly one of the favourites to win, but things became easier with the unexpected and shocking 11th place of the US squad in the heats.

Since the creation of the FINA World Championships in 1973, USA had always qualified for the final. Moreover, from the previous 15 participations, it had been on the podium on 14 occasions, only losing a medal at the 2001 edition in Fukuoka (JPN), when the team was disqualified in the decisive race. In Kazan, the 11th spot in the heats assured US the Olympic qualification, but was of course a disaster for a team traditionally used to shine in this relay. Everyone remembers the epic fights in the last two editions of the Olympic Games – Beijing 2008 and London 2012 -, when, in the first case, Jason Lezak was precious to ensure the North American victory and the way for the unprecedented eight gold medals for Michael Phelps, and the sweet revenge of the French quartet in the British capital, three years ago.


The team of France - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

In Russia, the Kazan Arena crowd had other reasons to be happy, with the fierce battle between the French and the home team. The gold medallists were always in control of the race, but a super-fast third leg from Vladimir Morozov (46.95) gave some winning hopes to Russia. In the end, they had to content with silver (3:11.19), while the bronze went to an inspired team of Italy, who had in veteran Filippo Magnini its most distinguished and fast swimmer, with a fourth leg swam in 47.55.


QUOTES

Florent Manaudou (FRA, gold): “We still managed to win the title without being the favourites. It was a different victory compared to 2013: we have changed our strategy and some of our swimmers, but in the end it paid off. It is also different because the Americans and the Australians were not present, but it is still a world title”.

Vladimir Morozov (RUS, silver): “We tried to catch the French, but they won it again - it's not the first time that it happens that way in the last couple of years. Still, we are happy with the silver and I'm pretty much happy with my split, first time ever below 47sec, and this can be a consequence of the crowd support. In this atmosphere I just dived in and I felt I'm unstoppable. Thanks for the fans, they were really great!”

Filippo Magnini (ITA, bronze): "It's such an awesome feeling, it was great to clock this time and now my blessings go to Luca Dotto who will take on racing in the individual 100m event from me".

World Record: United States, 3:08.24 – August 11, 2008 in Beijing (CHN)
Championships Record: United States, 3:09.21 – July 26, 2009 in Rome (ITA)
2005-2013 winners in this event: 2005 – United States (3:13.77); 2007 – United States (3:12.72); 2009 – United States (3:09.21); 2011 – Australia (3:11.00); 2013 – France (3:11.18)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): United States (1973, 1975, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2005, 2007 & 2009)
2012 Olympic podium: 1. France (3:09.93), 2. United States (3:10.38), 3. Russia (3:11.41)