Piper goes for gold

Badger swimmer helps lead team to world record at Olympic Games

Senior swimmer Carly Piper helped make history Wednesday as she and her teammates broke the world record in the 800-meter relay at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Piper swam the second leg of a team that set a new world record of 7:53.42, breaking the old record of 7:55.47, set by the East German swim team Aug. 18, 1987. The record was the oldest women's world record until Wednesday. Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer and anchor Kaitlin Sandeno swam with Piper, who had a split time of 1:59.39, in the gold medal-winning race. China finished second, 2.55 seconds behind the United States.

"It still hasn't sunk in yet," Piper said. "It's a great feeling, kind of unexplainable. I can't say I wasn't nervous, but I tried to turn that nervousness into excitement. I just wanted to swim a good race."

Piper competed in the 800 free relay preliminaries and earned a split time of 1:59.37, which propelled her to the finals.

"I knew if I performed well in the morning, I had a chance to make the team at night," Piper said. "Once that decision was made (this afternoon), I just wanted to race."

Piper is the first female medalist since rower Kris Thorsness won a gold medal in 1984.

Mania places 27th, does not make cut

Senior swimmer Adam Mania, competing in his second race at the Olympic Games, failed to make the semifinals of the 200-meter backstroke. Mania finished his race in 2:03.73 and sixth in his heat. He is competing with Poland.

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