Olympics 2008

Updated -1hr for ET

Phelps and co. blast through 7min relay barrier

USA 4x200 relay team
USA 4x200 relay team
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The American team, led by superstar Michael Phelps, hurtled through the seven-minute barrier for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay in a spectacular world record at the Beijing Olympics on Wednesday.

The Americans talked about their long-time ambition to go under the record of 7:03.24, set at last year's world championship in Melbourne.

They didn't just break it, they absolutely destroyed the world mark by an astonishing 4.68secs in a time of 6:58.56, blowing away their rivals in the process.

Russia (7:03.70) took silver and Australia (7:04.98) earned bronze.

It was the USA's seventh gold of the 16 events swum and gave Phelps his fifth Beijing gold medal and the 11th Olympic gold of his career.

"We all knew we could go under seven minutes, it was just a matter of time and when and where," Ryan Lochte said.

"We''ve been plugging at it since 2004, so to go under is a good relief."

Phelps swam 1:43.31 in the leadoff, just about an hour after he claimed his record 10th career gold medal in the 200m butterfly and was followed by Lochte (1:44.28), Ricky Berens (1:46.29) and Peter Vanderkaay (1:44.68).

"I think it''s special of us to be part of what Michael is trying to do, but there is still a ton of pressure on us to win for the team and the USA," Vanderkaay said.

"We are a piece in the puzzle for him to get the eight golds (at one Games)."

Russian Nikita Lobintsev led off with Phelps and finished over three seconds behind him at the first change as the American superstar opened up a huge gap.

"I tried to keep up with Michael and in doing so I think I broke the Russian record," he said.

"The boys all swam beyond their own abilities. It was incredible."

Grant Hackett won his career sixth Olympic medal in Australia's bronze swim. He has three gold, two silver and a bronze ahead of his 1500m freestyle swim in his third and final Games.

"Unbelievable. Everybody did what they had to and put it together at the right time," Hackett said.

"I knew we had to if we wanted to finish with a medal."


AFP

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