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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Matt Grevers finally broke the world record he so desperately wanted — the 100-meter backstroke. Missy Franklin set an American record in the 200 freestyle.
It was one nice Saturday for the U.S. swimming team.
Eight different Americans broke national records and the men's 400 freestyle relay closed out the weekend with yet another record-setting performance, helping the U.S. pull away from the European All-Stars for a 155-107 victory at the Duel in the Pool.
"It's so exciting, so awesome for us. It gives us a lot of momentum going into next year," Franklin said after breaking Katie Hoff's record with a time of 1 minute, 52.74 seconds for her only win in the two-day meet. "To have so many people do so well is really huge."
Nobody was better — or happier — than Grevers, who was named the top male swimmer of the two-day meet.
While making two Olympic teams and winning four gold medals, the 30-year-old Grevers spent years chasing a record set by American Nick Thoman in 2009. So when Grevers looked up and saw his time of 48.92, just ahead of Thoman's 48.94, he was thrilled.
"Yeah! It was primal," Grevers said, pumping his fist again as he explained his initial reaction. "I've never been one to slap the water, but I did slap the water and was flexing and all that kind of stuff, all those primal instincts. You don't think of words in that moment."
The Americans were so fast and so good they clinched their seventh straight victory in the Duel with four races to go — a stark contrast to two years ago when they improved to 6-0 by winning the tiebreaking mixed medley relay.
When U.S. coach Jack Bauerle left the Indiana University Natatorium on Friday night with a 74-48 lead, he warned it could get close again Saturday.
Instead, his team seized control by winning the first six races, four in record times.
Russia's Yuliya Efimova finally ended the streak by barely holding on for a win in the 100 breaststroke in 1:30.19. Katie Meili finished second in 1:03.20 — good enough to break Jessica Hardy's American record. Hardy wound up third.
Bauerle also claimed he was surprised the U.S. broke a world record and set four American records Friday night. His swimmers, many of whom are still training hard for next year's Olympics in Rio, weren't.
"It was created from the atmosphere here," five-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte said. "It's a really fast pool, and we feed off those guys and we carried that energy throughout the meet."
Lochte won his first race, the 400 individual medley on Friday, and appeared to take his second in his final event Saturday, the 200 IM. But Lochte was disqualified and the victory went to 22-year-old teammate Josh Prenot.
The other records were set by Connor Jaeger (men's 1,500 free, 14:19.29), Courtney Bartholomew (women's 100 back, 55.92), Cody Miller (men's 100 breast, 56.43), Cammile Adams (women's 200 butterfly, 2:03.39) and Tom Shields (men's 200 fly, 1:49.05).
It wasn't just the Americans breaking records.
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, who set three U.S. Open records on Friday, added another Saturday when she won the women's 200 IM in 2:03.66. Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands tied her own world record in the 50 free with a 23.24.
"Last week, we swam in Israel and I was a little disappointed in my 50," Kromowidjojo said after being named the weekend's top female swimmer. "This week, I said, 'I have another chance in the U.S.' My 100 wasn't good, but my 50 was, so it made it all good."
Except, of course, for a lopsided score.
And if this record-smashing weekend demonstrated anything to the world, it's this: The U.S. has plenty of talent backing up its biggest stars.
"At some point, I could say I was the best in the world. Today, I can," Grevers said with a smile. "But you can't let up because I know Ryan Murphy is coming on my heels, and we all have somebody like that behind us."