Led by world renowned Olympian Michael Phelps, former Bear Nathan Adrian — along with USA teammates Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Held — struck gold in Rio. In an emotional underdog finish, Team USA beat out France and event favorites Australia in the 4×100-meter relay with a final time of 3:09.92.
The U.S. clinched its first gold medal in the 4×100-meter relay at a major international competition since 2009 by holding off the French and Aussies. With the win, Phelps’ Olympic gold medal count climbs to 19 while Adrian’s grows to four.
Fellow Cal alumnus Anthony Ervin also played a role in the U.S.’s victory, helping America clinch the No. 2 seed during the event’s preliminary round with a split of 47.65 seconds.
USA table-setter Dressel put up an impressive showing against the French, setting a personal record of 48.1 seconds while only handing Phelps a manageable .02 second deficit. Phelps went on to blaze the competition, smoking past the Gallic Roosters with a time of 47.12 seconds to give the U.S. more than one second lead — a lead that it would not give up.
Held — the U.S.’s third leg — kept the lead up with a split of 47.73, leaving it to U.S. anchor and class of 2011 alumnus Adrian to secure the red, white and blue’s improbable victory. Adrian put up the fastest split of any swimmer with a time of 46.97 seconds and beat out second-place France by .61 seconds. No other swimmer broke the 47 second mark during the relay.
Contact Chris Tril at [email protected].