21st December 2013
USA won a thrilling tie-breaker to retain their title in dramatic circumstances at the 2013 Speedo Duel In The Pool in Glasgow.
With the scores level at 131-131 after all scheduled events, the Americans needed a world record 1:37.17 to out-touch the European Allstars by just 0.2 seconds in the deciding 4x50m Mixed Medley Relay to claim an extra point and win the event, overcoming a 68-52 overnight deficit.
Home favourites Fran Halsall (50m Freestyle) and Sophie Allen (200m Individual Medley) both picked up individual wins for the Europeans while Mireia Belmonte added wins in the 800m Freestyle and 200m Butterfly to her two victories from the opening night.
But the Americans would not be dropped and pulled themselves back into the contest with a sweep of the men’s events, Conor Dwyer leading the way with a double over 200m Free and 200m IM.
Eugene Godsoe and Jimmy Feigen claimed full points in the 100m Backstroke and 50m Freestyle respectively while Michael McBroom (800m Freestyle), Kevin Cordes (100m Breaststroke) and Tom Shields (200m Butterfly) set American records on the way to victory.
Shields combined with Feigen, Anthony Ervin and Cullen Jones to force a tie-breaker with victory in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay before Godsoe, Cordes, Claire Donahue and Simone Manuel delivered in the final race.
And World Short Course medallist Shields admitted the 2013 Duel In The Pool was a meet he wouldn’t forget in a hurry.
“That was such a fun event and really cool to watch Eugene, Kevin, Claire and Simone just pull it out at the end there,” said Shields.
“I knew the 4x100m Free would be pretty close so I knew I’d have to race pretty hard. I don’t know what did it for us in the end but I just kept my head down and tried my best.
“It’s been one of the most fun meets I’ve ever been at. To do a Duel meet in a championship format is really fun and I’m so thankful I got the nod to be invited to this meet. It was a great atmosphere and there was real electricity on both days so it was really fun for all our team.”
Halsall endured an emotional rollercoaster on the night, landing full points in the 50m Freestyle, then combining with Michelle Coleman, Jeanette Ottesen and Femke Heemskerk to take women’s 4x100m Freestyle in a world record 3:27.70 as the Duel came to its conclusion.
She returned just minutes later, anchoring the European 4x50m Mixed Medley Relay quartet alongside Chris Walker-Hebborn, Damir Dugonjic and Ottesen.
And while the Europeans missed out on their first Duel crown by less than half a second, the Brit insisted the Allstars would leave Glasgow with their heads held high.
“It’s been a tough day,” admitted Halsall. “We were ahead but we knew it was going to be touch and go as to who would win.
“It came down to the Freestyle relays and the girls really got together as a unit and swam really well and broke the world record. That was fantastic to be a part of and I was really buzzing after that.
“I knew I’d have to calm back down and get ready for a swim-off and that was hard and emotional but so great to be a part of and I really enjoyed it.
“Standing up as a European team and being that close to the Americans with so many people behind you is something I will be proud of for a long time.”
After raising the roof with 200m Breaststroke victory on the opening day, Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson was a star attraction again, breaking the British record but narrowly missing out on points as he clocked 57.52 for fourth in the 100m Breaststroke.
There were also British records for Sophie Allen in the 100m Breaststroke (1:05.39) and 200m Individual Medley (2:05.90) while Jazz Carlin touched third with a Welsh record 8:12.01 in the 800m Freestyle.
And Jamieson, who will return to Tollcross in April next year for the 2014 British Gas Swimming Championships, admitted he could have no complaints with his form on his international homecoming.
“I’m really happy with my swim tonight,” said Jamieson. “That’s 0.3 faster than my time at Europeans last week which is a new British record so I’m delighted.
In a strange way I knew I had a bit left and was capable of that British record today.
“I don’t have the speed that those other guys have over 100m Breast and can’t match those tall guys over the front half.
“But the atmosphere here tonight was amazing again and it’s so good to have so many people and this kind of coverage.
“As good as last night was, I had it in my legs to go faster. In a strange way I knew I had a bit left and was capable of getting that British record again today.”
- Click here for full results from the 2013 Speedo Duel In The Pool in Glasgow.