Just minutes after we reported about Argentina’s Federico Grabich breaking his own national record in the finals of the men’s 100 free, where he won gold with a time of 48.26, he’s accomplished the feat for a THIRD time today, leading off Argentina’s 400 free relay with a time of 48.11.
Grabich’s lead-off wasn’t enough to top Santo Condorelli‘s 47.98, which put Canada out to an early lead over the field, but it put Argentina in 2nd place, which kept them in medal contention until the final leg dove in. Argentina settled for 4th behind Brazil (Gold), Canada (Silver), and the USA (Bronze), but, notably, was ahead of the Americans for almost the entirety of the race.
Grabich, meanwhile, has gotten even closer to cracking 48 seconds, which only two swimmers have been able to do so far this year. Before Grabich finished his 100 free prelims swim, the Argentine record stood barely under 49 seconds. The old record was a 48.99 done in 2009 by Matias Aguilera. Let’s take a look at how Grabich split his race in the 100 free prelims and finals and then the 400 relay lead off.
Prelims — 23.37/25.23 = 48.60
Finals — 22.95/25.31 = 48.26
Relay lead off– 23.37/24.74 = 48.11
While in finals of the individual 100 free, Grabich pushed his first 50 and held on to finish the race and ultimately strike gold, he took out the first 50 in the relay in the exact same time as he did in prelims today. He did an excellent job not letting it all out in the first 50, which can be easy to do at a meet like this with such an exciting atmosphere (especially in a relay), and seriously turned on the jets on the way back. He out-split everyone in the field by a long shot on the back half, and was the only lead-off leg able to come home under 25 seconds.
As the dust settles from the explosive first night of the Pan Am Games, Condorelli is now tied with Russian Vlad Morozov atop the world 100 free rankings, while Grabich moves up from 5th to 4th in a matter of minutes.
Grabich has certainly left his mark on these Games after just one day of competition, and he’s shown the world that he’s not messing around. We’ll see what he can do in some of his other races, like the 50 and 200 free as well as the 100 back, later on in this meet. He’s also set to swim on Argentina’s remaining 800 free and 400 medley relays.