Men’s 4 x 100 Free Relay in the Olympics … WOW!

August 11, 2008

This is a screen shot of a video capture of last night’s 400 free relay final from the Olympics in Beijing (click the picture to enlarge).  The American team has just set a new world record by 3.99 seconds — just about 1 second per 100 meters faster than the previous world record, which I think is just unbelievable.  If you consider that the previous time of 3:12.23 is really 192.23 seconds and the new time is really 188.24 seconds, we are talking about better than a two percent improvement here.  This would be comparable to the track and field 100m dash world record changing from 9.68 to 9.49 seconds, which I really doubt will ever happen.

Look at the swimmers who will be placing second through fifth.  They’re all ahead of the green line, indicating a time faster than the previous world record.  I wonder how it feels to get a silver medal becuase your team broke the previous world record but not by as much as the first place competitors!

I hope the success of swimmers so far in this Olympics inspires more Americans to support the sport of swimming.  All over the world, swimmers of all ages and ability levels will be watching video clips from this Olympics with their coaches, who will be offering comments on the Olympians’ techniques to help their swimmers improve their personal best times.  Michael Phelps and our country’s other Olympic athletes ought to feel good about their contributions not only to US swimming and Olympics history but for their ability to provide a clear, definable source of inspiration for so many people at a tough time in our country’s economic history.

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