The United States knocked more than a second off the world record in the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay with a time of 3 minutes, 15.11 seconds Saturday night in the Pan Pacific Swimming championships.
The team of David Fox, Joe Hudepohl, Jon Olsen and Gary Hall broke the record of 3:16.53 set by the U.S. in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and enabled the Americans to divide eight gold medals with Australia in Saturday night's competition.Olsen, swimming the third leg, turned in the ninth-fastest split in history, a 48.17. Fox opened with 49.32, Hudepohl had a 49.11 and Hall finished it with a 48.51.
"We've been thinking about this one for a long time," Olsen said. "The record was 7 years old and it was time for this one to go down. This was the perfect team to do it."
The old record was set by the team of Chris Jacobs, Troy Dalbey, Tom Jager and Matt Biondi.
Two Floridians, 15-year-old Brooke Bennett of Tampa and Tripp Schwenk of Sarasota, kept the Australians from sweeping the individual events and the U.S. women accounted for the other gold in the women's 4x100 relay.
Bennett won her second gold medal in three nights, moving in front at the 150-meter mark to capture the women's 400-meter freestyle in 4:10.46, beating teammate Trina Jackson's 4:11.04.
Schwenk, who set the American record of 1:58.33 in winning the 200-meter backstroke in the U.S. nationals, broke the Pan Pacific mark in the event with a time of 1:58.87. He broke the mark of 1:59.21 set by American Royce Sharp two years ago.
"I knew I had to get out quick," said Bennett, who won the 1,500-meter race Thursday night. "I just went for it tonight and tried to set a faster pace."
"It's my first Pan Pac win and I would have liked to be a little faster, but a race is a race," Schwenk said.
The other four individual events went to the Australians, featuring Daniel Kowalski's third gold and fourth medal in three nights. Kowalski outsprinted American Chad Carvin and New Zealand's Danyon Loader over the final 50 meters to win the 400 freestyle in 3:50.01.
Loader overtook Carvin for second in 3:50.11 and Carvin, of Laguna Hills, Calif., finished in 3:50.47.
"I don't know how I've done it," Kowalski said of his success this week. "I'm really struggling and my body is just exhausted."
Susan O'Neill of Australia needed reinstatement from a five-member jury to overturn her disqualification for a "shoulder dip" in the 100-meter butterfly, making her time of 59.58 the fastest in the world this year. She beat Jenny Thompson of Dover, N.H., who had a 59.83, her best time this year.
Australia's Scott Miller had the fourth-fastest time ever and the fastest since the Seoul Olympics when he posted a 53.07 in the 100-meter butterfly. He broke his own meet record set earlier in the qualifying at 53.20. Mark Henderson of Fort Washington, Md., was second in 53.69.
Australia's other gold came in the women's 200 backstroke, in which Nicole Stevenson had a time of 2:11.26. Noriko Inada of Japan was second in 2:11.54 and Whitney Hedgepeth of Rocky Mount, N.C., third in 2:11.95.
The women's relay team of Amy Van Dyken, Angelina Martino, Melanie Valerio and Thompson had a meet record time of 3:41.59, breaking the mark of 3:42.56 set by the Americans two years ago. Australia was second in 3:42.99 and Japan third in 3:44.89.