Aug. 1, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Former UC Santa Barbara swimmer Jason Lezak continues to assert himself as one of the world's most dominant sprint freestylers, recently winning a pair of gold medals at the XI FINA World Championships in Montreal, Canada.
Lezak anchored Team USA to victories in both the 4x100 free relay and 4x100 medley relay to help the Americans record their best-ever medal count in World Championship competition. On July 24, he teamed with Michael Phelps, Neil Walker and Nate Dusing to win the 4x100 in an American and Championship-record time of 3:13.77, over two-and-a-half seconds ahead of second-place Canada. Then on Sunday, July 30, the medley relay team of Aaron Peirsol (backstroke), Brendan Hansen (breaststroke), Ian Crocker (butterfly) and Lezak (freestyle) defended its title from the 2003 World Championships by touching first in 3:31.85. This is the same foursome that won gold and set a new world record at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Individually, Lezak - the oldest member of Team USA at age 29 - placed fourth in the 100 freestyle at 48.74 and was a semifinalist in the 50 free.
The Irvine, Calif., native lettered at UCSB from 1995 through 1998, earning Big West Conference Swimmer of the Year honors as both a junior and senior. He has gone on to become one of the top sprint freestylers in the world while swimming for Irvine Novaquatics. A two-time Olympian, Lezak owns six U.S. national titles and has won 17 international medals in his career.
Lezak will next hit the water this Tuesday, Aug. 2 during the second-annual Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool, held in his hometown of Irvine. The event will pit the U.S. National Team (male and female) against its counterpart from Australia in dual meet format, similar to a collegiate swim meet. The Duel in the Pool will be rebroadcast on NBC Aug. 6-7. At the just-completed World Championships, the Americans won 32 medals (15 gold, 11 silver, six bronze), compared to 22 by the Aussies (13 gold, five silver, four bronze).