USA "B" Team: WR 4x100m Free 3:12.23
Craig Lord
The fight for places alongside Superfish in the final of the sprint free relay drives Americans to global standard; Britain last into final with time that would have won silver by a hand in Athens

The United States - only partly a "B" team depending on who makes it through to the final - broke the world record in the men's 4x100-metres freestyle relay prelims in 3:12.23 here at the Water Cube. "Oh, My God,' went up the cry among US hacks down the mixed zone. What did it mean for Michael Phelps, some wondered.

Another gold medal, is the answer that probably skirts closest to what will unfold in the morning. The American team of Nathan Adrian (48.82), Cullen Jones (47.61), Ben Wildman-Tobriner (48.03) and Matt Grevers (47.77) beat the previous record of 3:12.46 held by the USA at the Pan Pacs in Victoria, Canada, in August 2006. 

France followed on in the next heat with a European record of 3:12.36, without Alain Bernard or Fabien Gilot. The world record will surely tumble again in the morning.

Consider the progress being made in the bodysuited battle: Britain, a nation without cause to celebrate 100m sprinters for many years on a world stage, made the final in last place by axing more than 5sec off their national record, from 3:18.96 to 3:13.69. That time would have missed gold in Sydney 2000 behind Thorpey and the smashing guitars by 0.02sec, and missed the gold by half a second in Athens 2004.

Suit? What suit? Anyone seen a suit fly by? No, me neither.