Aug. 10, 2008
BEIJING, CHINA - University of California sophomore Nathan Adrian has earned a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a member of the United States' 400 free relay. The Americans captured the event in the finals on Monday, Aug. 11 (Beijing time) when Michael Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones and Jason Lezak swam a world-record time of 3:08.24, topping France (3:08.32) and Australia (3:09.91). Adrian had competed in the 400 free relay heats for the United States on Sunday, Aug. 10, enabling him to garner a gold medal as well.
Adrian, from Bremerton, Wash., had helped Team USA set a then-world record in the 400 free relay heats on Sunday, covering the distance in 3:12.23. He had set the tone on the leadoff leg by going 48.82. Jones, Ben Wildman-Tobriner and Matt Grevers rounded out the foursome to advance the United States into the finals. He is the second Bear sprinter to earn an Olympic medal in the 400 free relay by competing in the heats. On Saturday, Aug. 9, Cal's Emily Silver helped the USA women to a silver medal when she swam the third leg of the 400 free relay heats with a time of 54.81.
Adrian had qualified for the USA Olympic Team by finishing fourth in the 100 freestyle at the Olympic Trials in early July in Omaha, Neb. with a time 48.46. The fourth place spot allowed him to compete in the 400 free relay at Beijing. Adrian was the first Cal male swimmer since Anthony Ervin in 2000 to qualify for the USA Olympic squad.
Adrian had a tough road to the Olympic Trial's final as he was tied for ninth in the semifinals of the 100 free. Ryan Lochte scratched from the final allowing Adrian and Alex Righi a swim-off opportunity for the final spot in the field of eight. Adrian out-touched Righi by .09 in the swim-off to qualify for the final. He is one of the youngest USA Olympic team members at age 19.
Earlier in the year, Adrian was outstanding at the 2008 Short Course World Swimming Championships, winning the gold medal in the of the 100-meter freestyle with a championship record time of 46.67. He also was a member of the U.S. gold medal-winning recordd record-setting 400 free relay. Adrian sat out the 2007-08 collegiate season to train for the Beijing Olympics. As a freshman for the Bears, he placed second in the 100 butterfly at the 2007 Pac-10 championships and had an eighth-place finish in the 100 free at the 2007 NCAA meet. Adrian plans to return to the Cal squad for the 2008-09 campaign.