The American men closed night 4 of the 2015 FINA Junior World Championships with a bang, smashing the junior world record in the 4×200 free relay.
Team USA were the heavy gold medal favorites after Maxime Rooney and Grant Shoults went 1-2 in the individual 200 free on day 2, and the team lived up to its billing.
Rooney and Shoults joined Sean Grieshop and Grant House to go 7:13.76, cutting 1.6 seconds off the junior world record of 7:15.36.
That record was still technically a “world best time” – FINA’s benchmark standard for the junior world record. FINA began tracking junior world records in 2013, setting the winning times from the 2013 Junior World Championships as “world best times.” The first swimmer (or relay team) to better that time would officially set the record for the first time.
The Americans crushed the 2013 time from Great Britain, thanks in large part to Rooney’s huge 1:46.55 split and Shoults’ career-best 1:48.10 leadoff leg. Here’s a comparison of the splits between the two relays:
|USA 2015||Great Britain 2013|
|Grant Shoults||1:48.10||Matthew Johnson||1:50.88|
|Maxime Rooney||1:46.55||Max Litchfield||1:49.11|
|Sean Grieshop||1:49.82||Caleb Hughes||1:48.98|
|Grant House||1:49.29||James Guy||1:46.39|
That British relay includes 2015 world champ in the 200 free James Guy, who split just a few tenths faster than what Rooney split for the United States. Guy was also on the British world championship 4×200 free relay a few weeks ago.
Rooney’s excellent split actually would have made the U.S. relay at Worlds, a team that won silver. Rooney would have been the third-best split on that relay behind Ryan Lochte and Conor Dwyer.
Shoults was three tenths faster leading off than he was in winning silver individually, and gave the team a 2.7-second cushion over the junior world record from the get-go. Meanwhile, both Grieshop and House bettered their best 200 free times on the closing legs. House was three tenths better than his 1:49.53 from U.S. Nationals, and Grieshop obliterated his previous best of 1:52.09 from last summer’s Junior Pan Pacs.