United States men’s relay team disqualified after one swimmer jumps the gun

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

One one-hundredth of a second kept the United States men's medley relay team from winning at the world championships on Sunday in Spain. Though the team handily won the race, they were disqualified for Kevin Cordes leaving the blocks .01 of a second too early.

At 1:10 in the video, Cordes' error happens. As backstroker Matt Grevers came in to touch the wall, Cordes made a fast dive into the water to swim the breast stroke. Sensors on the blocks monitor the switch between legs of a relay. They allow for a swimmer to leave as early as .03 of a second, but Cordes jumped at .04 of a second.

After Nathan Adrian swam the anchor leg and easily touched the wall first, the U.S. team, which also included Ryan Lochte, celebrated their win. They then saw the disqualification. As France celebrates, the crestfallen Americans walk away.

"I thought I hit it perfectly, but I guess I was too fast," Cordes said to NBC after the disqualification. "There's nothing you can do about it now."

"It's probably my fault, actually," Matt Grevers said. "It's usually the guy coming in. It happens. It happens all the time. It's unfortunate that it happened on the world's second-biggest stage."

Cordes talked about the disqualification on Twitter.

Adrian, Lochte and Grevers are all Olympic medalists who have plenty of experience in international meets. Cordes is 19 and much less experienced than his teammates. He was the 2013 NCAA Swimmer of the Year after winning three titles for Arizona, but had a disappointing world championships.

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