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Texas Relays Women — Fastest-Ever 4 x 200

Texas Relays Women — Fastest-Ever 4 x 200

A year after leading off a 4×2 CR at the ’23 Texas Relays, Julien Alfred, now a pro, anchored a “WR” team in the event. (SHAWN PRICE)

AUSTIN, TEXAS, March 27-30 — The Texas Relays has long been a platform for the professionals to either knock off the rust or transition from indoors, and that’s especially true now that Austin serves as the training base for multiple Olympians.

Rust was definitely not a problem for “Team International,” which produced the fastest 4 x 200 in history at 1:27.05. The clocking surpassed a “USA Blue” team from the Penn Relays way back in 2000, but cannot be ratified as a WR due to the mixed nationalities of Dina Asher-Smith (Great Britain), Rhasidat Adeleke (Ireland), Lanae-Tava Thomas (Jamaica) and Julien Alfred (Saint Lucia).

The squad had a familiar ring — at last year’s meet, all but Asher-Smith were on the Texas Longhorns squad that set a Collegiate Record precisely one second slower.

The same foursome also won the 4 x 400 in 3:25.31.

“We knew we had what it takes to do it,” said Alfred, the MVP of Texas’ NCAA title on this track a year ago. “So it’s a matter of trusting each other.”

Now it’s back to Paris preparations for the world 60 champ and her training partners.

“We have a good training group,” said Alfred, a finalist in both the 100 and 200 at last summer’s outdoor Worlds in Budapest. “So now we’re just getting back to the basics, working on endurance, especially after indoors and just doing only the 60 meters. So now we’re just trying to build my endurance again.”

Harvard grad Gabby Thomas, who moved to Austin for grad school, also demonstrated good early season fitness. Thomas was a whirlwind, running three races in less than two hours. She opened her day as second leg of a winning 42.45 USA 4×1 (teaming with Celera Barnes, Tamara Clark and Morolake Akinosun). Individually, she followed with a windy 10.88 (2.2) and finished with a legal 22.08 (1.2).

“I think it bodes well for the outdoor season,” Thomas said. “We haven’t done a lot of speed work yet, so I feel really comfortable with where I’m at.

“I’m not entirely sure what I’m gonna do at Trials yet,” she added. “I keep toying with the idea of doing a 400/200 double, but I did the 100, 200 double the last time and it went really well. So we’ll see. But I’m focused on getting a gold at the Olympics in the 200 meters, so whatever gets me there.”

Valarie Allman opened her season…

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