IMG Academy Track and Field Program trainee, LaShawn Merritt, has been training with Loren Seagrave, IMG Academy Director of Track and Field and Cross Country, for several years. Over the weekend, Seagrave was in attendance to watch his pupil sprint past his competition at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, when he earned his fourth U.S. Track and Field Championships title in the 400m. Merritt set the Drake Stadium record in the semifinals with a 44.36, but clocked in with an impressive 44.21-second finish on Saturday, with only one other runner breaking 45 seconds with him.
Merritt was coming off of a three-victory string, claiming the 400m titles at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., the Samsung Diamond League Golden Gala in Rome, and the IAAF World Challenge Meeting International Mohammed VI in Rabat, Morocco, before heading into the U.S. Championships. Merritt is only one of five men to post a sub-45 time this season.
"The plan isn't to get under 44 (seconds), because running under 44 means nothing, really," Merritt said to reporters after the event. "The thing is crossing the finish line first. If it takes to run under 44, I'm willing to do that."
Merritt looks to continue his winning streak in Paris, France, where he will be competing in the Samsung Diamond League on July 6th.