Aug. 10, 2008
BEIJING, China - Auburn swimmers earned two medals in the 400-meter freestyle relay, the final event of Sunday night's session at the 2008 Olympics, as Fred Bousquet swam the third leg for the silver medal-winning French relay team and Matt Targett swam the anchor for the bronze medal-winning Australian relay team.
The medals are the first for both Bousquet and Targett and are the second and third for Auburn in the 2008 Olympics. Kirsty Coventry, a native of Zimbabwe, earned the first medal as she took silver in the 400m individual medley on Saturday.
France was in second place when Bousquet took off for the third leg of the French relay team. He went on to clock a 46.63 split and gave France the lead heading into the final leg. American Jason Lezak swam a blazing 46.06 split to beat out France's Alain Bernard and give the United States the gold medal.
Bousquet's 46.63 split was the second-fastest in the race, trailing only Lezak and his record 46.06 split.
The U.S. came in with a world record time of 3:08.24, beating out France by eight hundredths of a second. France (3:08.32), Australia (3:09.91), Italy (3:11.48) and Sweden (3:11.92) all came in under the old world record time of 3:12.23. France's time of 3:03.32 sets a new European record in the event and Australia's 3:09.91 sets a new Oceania record.
For Targett, he earns the bronze after anchoring the Australian relay team. He swam a 47.25 split, the second-fastest on the team, to bring the Aussies in at 3:09.91. Eamon Sullivan swam the fastest split on the team as he set a new 100m freestyle world record with his 47.24 leadoff time.
Also competing in the race was incoming freshman Adam Brown of Great Britain. He swam the second leg on the British relay team, clocking a 47.75 split to put the Brits in sixth place at the midway point. Great Britain eventually finished eighth, posting a time of 3:12.87.
Bousquet and Targett are both slated to return to action on Tuesday, Aug. 12 in the 100m freestyle preliminary.
While not yet winning a medal in the event, also having a big night on Sunday was Coventry as she set a new world record in the 100m backstroke. The Zimbabwe native clocked a time of 58.77 in the 100m back semifinal, breaking the record time of 58.97, held by American Natalie Coughlin.
Margaret Hoelzer, a native of Huntsville, Ala., also swam in the 100m backstroke semifinal, clocking a time of 59.84 to earn her way into Monday's final. Hoelzer swam in the heat along with her former teammate and finished third behind Coventry to take sixth place overall in the event.
Coventry led wire-to-wire in the race, going out in 28.86, one-hundredth of a second faster than Natalie Coughlin's first 50 meters in the first semifinal, and came back in 29.91 - the only swimmer in the event to come back in under 30 seconds.
For Coventry, the world record comes just hours after she broke the Olympic record in the 100m back, touching in with a 59.00 and one night after she won the silver medal in the 400m individual medley, giving her the Auburn record for career Olympic medals with four.
Coventry and Hoelzer both advance to the 100m backstroke final, which is slated to start at 9:23 p.m. CT, Monday.
Rounding out the Auburn contingent in Sunday's evening session was Mark Gangloff as he came up short in his bid for his first individual Olympic medal, finishing eighth in the 100m breaststroke final with a time of 1:00.24.
Gangloff earned a gold medal in the 400m medley relay at the 2004 Olympics and just missed out on an individual medal as he finished fourth in the 100m breast.
The Akron, Ohio, native was in fifth place at the turn, going out in 28.09, but came back in 32.15 to finish in eighth place. He was less than a second, 0.87 seconds, out of a medal and finished 1.33 seconds behind Japan's Kosuke Kitajima, who won with a world record time of 58.91.
Kitajim broke the record time of 59.13, held by the United States' Brendan Hansen. Hansen finished fourth in the race, clocking a time of 59.57.
Gangloff is expected to return to action on Friday, Aug, 15 as part of the U.S. 400m medley relay team.
Swimming action in the 2008 Olympics continues at 5:48 a.m. CT with Monday's preliminary session.
Incoming freshman Sephanie Horner (Canada) gets things started at 5:48 a.m. CT as she swims in the 200m freestyle preliminary. She will be in the fourth heat, occupying the seventh lane. She enters the event with a seed time of 1:58.85.
Former Tiger Jeremy Knowles followed behind her at 6:17 a.m. CT as he swims in the 200m butterfly preliminary. Knowles will be the top seed in the third heat, swimming out of lane four. He enters with a seed time of 1:58.34.
Coventry continues her amazing run at the Olympics as she rounds out the Auburn contingent in the session, swimming in the 200m individual medley preliminary. She will swim in the fifth and final heat, competing out of lane five. Her seed time of 2:10.08 ranks fifth all-time in the event and is the fourth-fastest time this year. Coventry took bronze in the 200m IM at the 2004 Olympics.
For more information on Auburn athletes at the 2008 Olympic Games, check out Auburn's Olympic Central at http://auburntigers.cstv.com/ot/olympians.html.