Olympic Journey - 2009
Adrian Wows 'Em at Worlds
ROME — Michael Phelps had an off night. Bremerton graduate Nathan Adrian had a night to remember.
At his first major meet since a historic Olympics, Phelps got off to a winning start at the world championships as part of the 400-meter freestyle relay Sunday. He was actually the slowest member of the team, but the guys picked him up and beat the French again, just as they did in that memorable race last summer in Beijing.
“The best thing about this relay was they carried Michael,” said Bob Bowman, Phelps’ coach and also in charge of the U.S. men’s team. “We need the other people to step up.”
They sure did — especially Adrian on the anchor leg. His blistering down and back was reminiscent of Jason Lezak’s amazing swim at the Olympics, when he somehow chased down Alain Bernard, touched first by eight-hundredths of a second and kept Phelps on course to win a record eight golds.
“Relays are raced as a team,” Phelps said, “and I think all four guys swam a great race.”
Phelps was third when he passed off to Ryan Lochte, who hung tough against the hulking Bernard while surprising Russia surged into contention. Matt Grevers did his part on the third leg, and Adrian finished it off with fastest split of anyone to touch in 3 minutes, 9.21 seconds.
“Coming in to this relay, to be honest, I felt like a child among men,” said Adrian, whose 100 was timed in 46.79 — nearly a full second faster than Phelps’ 47.78 opener. “All of these guys have made a great name for themselves, they’ve won individual medals at the Olympics, and they threw me on the last leg, so I had a little bit of pressure on myself.”
Phelps pumped his fists on the pool deck after the win, then leaned over to congratulate Adrian. Call him Lezak Jr.
“I had to stay within myself and swim my own race as opposed to, you know, try and focus on anybody else,” said Adrian, who will be a strong contender in the 100 free on Wednesday. “The last 10 meters I just tried to put my head down and finish the race.”
Associated Press, taken from Kitsap Sun, July 26, 2009.
Three World Records Fall As Team USA Wins Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool
Soni Sets Meet Record on Final Night of Short Course Nationals
Knutson sets championship record on first night of AT&T Short Course Nationals