USA win their 4x400m heat at the IAAF/BTC World Relays, Bahamas 2015 (© Getty Images)
USA could have taken it easy in the heats of the women’s 4x400m at the IAAF/BTC World Relays, Bahamas 2015 as they looked to defend their title from last year.
But instead they clocked a world-leading 3:24.05 to lead the qualifiers by more than two seconds, helped by a 49.74 split from Phyllis Francis.
They were in action in the third and final heat and Olympic bronze medallist Deedee Trotter gave them an early lead before passing on to Natasha Hastings. They already had a two-second lead at halfway, but the real damage was done by Francis on the third leg.
Jessica Beard then had the luxury of a four-second lead before setting off on her anchor leg and she crossed the line in 3:24.05, more than six seconds ahead of Poland (3:30.32).
Jamaica were comfortable winners of the second heat in 3:26.41, what was a world-leading mark before the USA bettered it just moments later. Great Britain also automatically qualified for the final with their 3:28.51 clocking in second place.
In the first heat, Australia held off a fast-finishing Floria Guei of France on the final leg to win in 3:30.73. Guei’s 50.77 split brought them home in 3:30.95 to grab a place in tomorrow’s final.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF