The inaugural Duel in the Pool will pit swimming powerhouses Australia against the United States in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 6, 2003, USA Swimming announced on Thursday.
â€œThere is no better rivalry in Olympic sports today than USA and Australia in swimming,â€ said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming Executive Director. â€œThe Duel in the Pool will be to swimming what the â€˜Thrilla in Manillaâ€™ was to boxing ... a real heavyweight battle to decide the worldâ€™s number one swim team.â€
The event, to be televised globally, will offer $25,000 bonuses for world records. Each country can bring 26 men and 26 women, featuring qualifiers for the 2003 World Championships and other swimmers at the teamsâ€™ discretion. Combined team scoring will determine an overall winner.
The US-Australia swimming rivalry dates back to the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, and has heated up even more in recent years. The US team led both the overall and gold medal count at the past two Olympic Games, but Australia captured more golds than the Americans at both the 2001 and 2002 World Championships.
Out of 34 current long course world records, 19 are accounted for by Australians and Americans combined. The US and Australia lead the world in total Olympic medals.