Area swimmer nabs hard-fought silver

Robert Margalis, who has had success this year in the U.S., finishes behind a Brazilian.

Published July 19, 2007

Robert Margalis has done some impressive things this year.

In March, the former Clearwater swimming standout broke the American record in the 1,000-yard freestyle eight minutes, 42.64 seconds. Two months later, he received the Kiphuth Award for winning four events and being the highest point scorer at the U.S. Spring Nationals.

But Margalis, 25, was unable to continue his winning streak at this week's Pan-Am Games.

Margalis took silver in the 400 individual medley, a chlorinated quadrathlon that requires near world-class skill in the four basic strokes: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.

It took a strong performance in the freestyle, the final stroke, for Margalis to finish in 4:17.52.

Brazil's Thiago Pereira won in 4:11.14, shattering the meet record by more than four seconds. Pereira's time also vaulted him to fourth in the world rankings, behind Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Luca Marin.

Margalis teamed with Ricky Berens, Matthew Owen and Andy Grant to place second in the 800 freestyle relay (7:16).

The Americans again finished behind host Brazil, which won the 800 free relay in 7:12.27 to break the meet record by more than six seconds.

Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4169.