Americans dominate Europe at Duel in the Pool

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ATLANTA — Maybe it’s time to change things up at Duel in the Pool.

United States' Ryan Lochte swims during the 100-meter backstroke at the Duel in the Pool. The Americans won handily, nearly doubling the European team's score.  John Bazemore/Associated Press
John Bazemore/Associated Press
United States' Ryan Lochte swims during the 100-meter backstroke at the Duel in the Pool. The Americans won handily, nearly doubling the European team's score.

Again, it was an American rout.

Even though the European women posted the fasted short-course time ever in the 400-meter freestyle relay, that was one of the few highlights for the visiting team. The United States wrapped up the victory with nine events to go, more than doubling its opponent in a 181.5-80.5 triumph Saturday.

American star Ryan Lochte said a message was sent with the London Olympics only seven months away.

“This is just the start of it,” said Lochte, who won the 200 individual medley. “We’re the team to beat, there’s no doubt about it.”

Certainly, there was no uncertainty about how this duel would turn out after the Americans won 12 of 14 events on the opening day to build an insurmountable lead. Europe performed better on Day 2, winning six of 16 races, but they had no chance of chasing down the U.S.

“It was good fun,” Britain’s Francesca Halsall said. “But we knew it would be hard to get past the depth of the Americans. They had some great swims. They were the better team.”

Halsall and her relay teammates had plenty of fun in the 400 free, holding off a star-studded U.S. squad with Olympic veteran Natalie Coughlin leading off and 16-year-old Missy Franklin on the anchor leg.

Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark went first for the Europeans, followed by Halsall, Aliaksandra Heresimenia of Belarus and Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands. They posted a time of 3 minutes, 27.53 seconds, which was faster than the world record of 3:28.22 set by the Netherlands in 2008, but won’t count as an official mark since the swimmers are from different countries.

After the U.S. easily beat Australia in the first three Duels, the format was changed in 2009 to pit the Americans against a European all-star team. But the results have been the same.


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