Team USA impress at British Gas Duel in the Pool
The might of Team USA faced up to the swimmers of E-Stars as The British Gas Duel in the Pool got underway in front of a sold-out arena.
With five world and two European records broken already, the competition, taking place at the Manchester Aquatics Centre, sees the Americans top the leader board at the end of the first day with 89 points with the E-Stars team on 33 points as swimmers compete in a straight final to win points for their team.
Britain’s Lizzie Simmonds took five points for the E-Stars team - comprising top swimmers from Great Britain, Italy and Germany - when she swam to a new European record in the Women’s 200m Backstroke touching in 2:00.91.
Team USA took second and third with Margaret Hoelzer touching in a new American record of 2:02.72 and Elizabeth Pelton just behind in 2:02.78. “I really enjoyed that race and that’s what it’s about,” said Simmonds. “I pretty much gave it my all from the start and there’s a fantastic crowd here to support us.”
Britain’s Fran Halsall took first place for the E-Stars Team twice throughout the night. Claiming a personal best time of 51.54 in the Women’s 100m Freestyle, the World silver medallist took the lead from the start beating USA’s Dana Vollmer and E-Stars’ Daniela Schreiber into second and third places respectively.
Later Halsall won another five points for her team in the Women’s 100m Butterfly touching in a new personal best of 55.71 ahead of the USA’s Christine Magnuson and Dana Vollmer. “I just wanted to get some points on the board for my team,” said Halsall. “I think I got a bit too excited in the 100m freestyle because everyone was cheering so loud, but it’s fantastic having the crowd here cheering for me, I can’t wait for London now.”
The Women’s 400m Individual Medley saw Team USA’s Julia Smit set a new world record of 4:21.04, with teammate Dagny Knutson finishing in second.
After claiming European gold last week, Britain’s Hannah Miley set a new European record touching in 4:24.51 for third place and one point for the E-Stars Team. “It’s great to go faster again,” said Miley. “When you get to race against the best in the world it brings out the best in you.”
The Women’s 400m Freestyle saw double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington take to the blocks for the first time. Touching in 3:55.89 was enough to see British swimmer claim second place, and three points for the E-Stars team behind Allison Schmitt’s new American record of 3:55.89. “I’m pretty pleased with that as I haven’t swam short course in a long time,” said Adlington. “Normally December is quite quiet for us but it’s something different and for USA to be over here is such a privilege for us.”
Michael Phelps took to the blocks for the first time in Britain amidst some of the loudest cheers of the night. The Men’s 100m Butterfly saw the Olympic Champion touch home in first place with a time of 50.46, with E-Stars claiming second and third places with Benjamin Starke and Michael Rock respectively. “I think we’ve had a great day so far hopefully we can continue into tomorrow,” said Phelps. “We hardly get a chance to swim short course metres so to come here and get some good swims is great for all of us.”
The Men’s 100m Freestyle saw Phelps finish in third behind Team USA’s Nathan Adrian who took first place with a new American record of 45.42 and E-Stars’ Marco Orsi who touched in second.
The USA’s Mike Alexandrov took first in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke with a time of 2:03.72 narrowly beating E-Stars’ Edoardo Giorgetti into second by 0.08 seconds. Sean Mahoney touched in 4:04.28 to take third and another point for his American teammates.
The Women’s 200m Breaststroke saw Team USA take a clean sweep of the points as Rebecca Soni touched in a new world record of 2:14.57 ahead of teammates Katy Freeman and Ariana Kukors. The American quartet of Margaret Hoelzer, Jessica Hardy, Dana Volmer and Amanda Weir took the world record in the Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay recording a time of 3:47.97.
After a strong start for the E-Stars Team by Britain’s Gemma Spofforth, Team USA proved too strong for their European rivals to take all seven points on offer. Speaking after the race Spofforth was pleased with the home-crowd support: “It’s great having this huge crowd around here and there’s a great atmosphere. “It’s so exciting to have this kind of meet in Britain on the way to 2012.”
Michael Phelps played his part in setting Team USA’s second relay world record of the night in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay. A great start by USA’s Nick Thoman saw him set a new world record with his split time of 49.94 over the first 100m, and from there the E-Stars Team found it hard to come back.
Britain’s Michael Rock helped the E-Stars Team close some ground when he went up against Phelps on the third leg, swimming his 100m split 0.6 seconds faster than the 14-time Olympic gold medallist. Team USA touched in 3:20.71 to put another seven points on the board. Team USA recorded a one-two-three in the Men’s 200m Backstroke as Matt Grevers touched in 1:48.74 ahead of Nick Thoman and Aaron Peirsol to take a total of nine points for their team.
The Men’s 400m Freestyle event saw Olympic gold medallist Peter Vanderkay touch in 3:35.54 to take first place in the Men’s 400m Freestyle. Federico Colbertaldo took second place for the E-Stars team with a time of 3:38.54 and Michael Klueh touched in third in 3:39.34.
Tyler Clary’s time of 4:02.02 was enough to see him take first place and a new American record for Team USA in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley. The Americans also secured second and third spots with Jack Brown touching in 4:03.57 and Alex Vanderkay recording a time of 4:05.22.
Tomorrow will see the remaining 16 events contested in the pool as Team USA look to maintain their lead over E-Stars and take the first Europe-USA Duel in the Pool crown. Coverage will be live on BBC One from 1.45pm.
The British Gas Duel in the Pool takes place on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th December at the Manchester Aquatics Centre between Team USA and E-Stars (Great Britain, Germany and Italy). For programme information visit www.duelinthepool.com
For further details contact Lauren Sanderson, British Swimming Media Assistant, on 07795 251 917 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About British Swimming British Swimming is the National Governing Body for Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Open Water in Great Britain. It is responsible internationally for the high performance representation of the sport. The members of British Swimming are the three Home Countries national governing bodies of England (ASA), Scotland (Scottish ASA) and Wales. (Welsh ASA) British Swimming seeks to enable its athletes to achieve gold medal success at the Olympics, Paralympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
About British Gas The nation's leading energy supplier, British Gas is the Principal Partner of British Swimming, supporting the sport at all levels: 'From paddling pool to podium'. Since March British Gas has been driving shared objectives with British Swimming to get more people swimming regularly through Swimfit and Learn to Swim. Recently British Gas launched a high profile campaign with Rebecca Adlington to give a free swim to all of its customers. British Gas also wants to ensure local pools stay open and stay at the heart of the community. In areas of 'aquatic deprivation' British Gas is helping Pools 4 Schools to bring swimming to urban communities. For more information visit www.britishgas.co.uk/swimming
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