American Relays Facing Some Significant Challenges As World Championships Loom

Matt Grevers and Missy Franklin, U.S. nationals trophy winners in 2014 - by Peter Bick

The United States’ relay prospects again look strong, but there are some places where work remains and where several athletes will need to step up.

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The United States’ relay prospects again look strong, but there are some places where work remains and where several athletes will need to step up.

Comments

Verram

I think gone relays will be Exciting this year.., especially the ones where you mentioned USA are not the favourites.. Why? Because I know USA always pulls out a miracle race when least expected…

roy

I hope so, unless the Australians swim very badly, they are not losing the women,s 4×100 free relay. The US will win the men,s medley relay and women,s 4x 200 free relay as usual. Boring.

felixdangerpants

I don’t think men’s medley will be boring, no way USA win men’s 4x100fs.

But yes women’s 4×200 will be a hammering, men’s however I think will be a cracker so we should get 4 very exciting relays.

roy

I was kidding about the boring part but seriously the US has been dominant in the men,s medley relay for like forever. I don,t have the information. Guys I would really like to know the last time the US lost the men,s medley relay at either the worlds or Olympics. As for the women,s 4×200 free relay, have the US women been as dominant as the US men,s medley relay?
I think China have won gold from time to time. They have the world record. I think.

felixdangerpants

Well Roy, France won the medley relay in 2013 even though the USA were 5m ahead. As for the Olympics they’ve never been beaten.

roy

wait what the US has never lost the men,s medley relay in the history of the olympics? The olympics has been around for a long time. That,s one crazy record. France beat the US in 2013 in the medley relay? I thought that was the 4×100 free relay. Which swimmers swam for France in the medley relay at the 2013 world champs?

Anon

Did us lose to France or get DQ-ed cos of cordes?

roy

I think the US were disqualified in the medley relay at the 2013 world championships so technically they didn’t lose they race. They were just disqualified.

Danjohnrob

Roy, The only time the US men were BEATEN in 4×100 Medley Relay at a LC WC (since ’73) was in 1998 in Perth by Australia. They have beaten themselves 3 times in World Championship competition by DQ , including 2013 when Cordes false started, handing the gold to France. This is the only event the US Team has never lost at the Olympics.

The US women have won the 4×200 Relay at the LC WC 5/11 times; however, they have won 5 of the last 6 times the event was held (losing in 2009 to China). This relay has been competed only 5 times at the Olympics with the US winning 4/5 (Australia and China both beat the US team in Beijing).

commonwombat

The only one of John’s calls that I would question is the W 4XMED.

Medallists almost certainly unless they break but probably narrow 2nd money behind AUS and even in the betting with DEN. They can certainly win but they’re needing all their ducks lined up to do so.

roy

I think the US will keep winning the men,s medley relay for the next 50 years. Unless they get disqualified. Some people say they,ll keep winning it forever. Should other countries bring teams to the men,s medley relay? Just kidding.

roy

for the men,s medley relay I,ll put the US at guest of honor. Commonwombat I agree with you the US women,s 4×100 MED should be special honoree not guest of honour. The men,s medley is more of a sure gold for the US than the women,s medley. In the women,s race,Australia are fast on the backstroke,butterfly and freestyle and even on the breaststroke they are not terrible. And cate Campbell can chase down almost any female sprinter except probably Sarah sjostrom from what i,ve seen.

roy

for the British men,s medley relay, Chris walker hebborn, adam barrett and especially adam peaty are solid. But until Britain gets a sprint freestyler who can split a 47, they are not threatening the USA for the gold medal.

felixdangerpants

Roy I think you’ll find Proud will do that much sooner than you think & that the USA winning isn’t going to be that easy…

aliceinaqualand

If any team is ranked Guest of Honor then the Australian women’s 4 x 100 free relay should be. The team is the current WR holder & getting faster! They are as formidable as the U.S. women’s 4×200.

Torchbearer

Yes, Australia could put their B Team of Number 5-8 into competition and still be close to the medals!

Anon

My tips:
Women’s 400f – australia in WR by a long shot
Women’s 800f – us then aus
Women’s 400m – us then aus

Men’s 400f – France or Russia
Men’s 800f – us or Japan (I see australia choking again)
Men’s 400m – us then uk

Mixed 400f – australia then us
Mixed 400m – us then Australia

roy

anon I agree except the women,s medley. Seebohm has a knee injury. If she,s healthy, I don,t see the US winning.especially with cate Campbell anchoring.

Verram

Looking back at the results from Barcelona 2013, Australia was relying a lot on Alicia Coutts to finish off the race in both 4×100 and 4×200…this time around she’s not even in the team

aswimfan

Coutts was past her peak in Barcelona, and unfortunately was too slow and squandered the lead to USA.

I already predicted right after that swim in Barcelona that if it had been Schlanger, instead of Coutts, AUS would destroy the WR.

commonwombat

Furry Creature’s “Paw In The Water”

W4x100
G: AUS (would 2 or more of the squad way off form or break or unprecedented heroics from all 4 US swimmers to lose)
S: USA
B: absolute “rugby scrum” for this one, NED maybe

W4x200
G: USA (clear favourites but maybe not as “prohibitive” favourites as some may think. This race tends to be close for 3.5 legs)
S: AUS (only real threat to USA & a clear gap ahead of anyone else)
B: another cat-fight. CHN or ITA. Leaning CHN

W4xMED
G: AUS (may alter if Seebohm’s knee remains an issue)
S: DEN (very close consideration for Gold as they have the most even quartet across all strokes but lack the capacity to rest)
B: USA (front half will be at or near the lead but the back half much less competitive)

M4x100
G: FRA
S: RUS
B: BRA or USA (non-vintage US line-up but wary of BRA away from home). Lean USA

M4x200
G: JAP
S: USA (cannot discount but this is probably the weakest US 4×200 for a long time)
B: FRA or RUS. Leaning FRA

M4xMED
G: USA (would have to break to lose this one tho Cordes is a potential “issue”)
S: GBR (am concerned by their back half but their front half does give them considerable lee-way)
B: raffle it off between JAP, FRA & CHN. Favour JAP

aswimfan

Commonwombat,

I like your prediction, although I think you don’t have faith in Australian men in 4×200 LOL.

Verram

To be honest i can totally see why he would predict Australia would be out of the men’s 4×200 free after an underwhelming Pan Pacs performance…

I agree about Schlanger/Wright she can hold her own against the likes of Megan Romano.. She was miffed when the selectors chose Coutts over her in the 4×200 final in Glasgow, and Coutts ended up swimming a 1:59s split there

felixdangerpants

That was a disgraceful decision. Australia’s men’s 4×200 should beat France and Russia. Surely McEvoy can’t swim that poorly again. They should average low 46s.

Verram

I love this race.. I remember having to watch it at 4am in the morning… Great close race throughout but especially the anchor legs!! AUS v USA
http://youtu.be/uvcCKDwV5ZI

peter

Australians men have to learn how to swim relays!

Anon

We keep talking about Australia’s crazy depth in women’s 100m now but we forget that in 2004, lenton was the 100m WR holder at 53.66 at the time of this relay, henry later broke the WR in the individual race at 53.52 and mills was going sub 54 – when no one else in history at the time (bar Inge de Bruijn) had done that!

Apart from Henry, the other 3 girls didn’t even swim well but they managed to win in WR time!

commonwombat

Anon; Mills didn’t break 54 until 2005 Nationals and that was a one-off. Lenton broke the 100WR in semi’s at 2004 Trials, what people forgot was that Henry very nearly broke it again in the following semi. Re the Athens relay; Mills & Thomas split 54mid, Lenton 53.6 & Henry 52.95.

I have no confidence in AUS M4x200 because they give me no grounds for having any.
McEvoy’s shocker at CG could’ve been seen as a on-off aberration …. until he replicated it at PP.
McKeon, unlike his sister, is a flaky international performer.
The only resemblance 2015 F-H has to the 2014 model is the name; he’s been misfiring all year.
Hackett may be helpful but this is a 35y.o not the Hackett of a decade ago.
Horton may be a plus but this is non-optimal distance for him so he’s no “cure-all” either.
Smith & Hertzog will only deliver a 1.46mid-high leg at best so no “gamechangers” there.
I’ll be happy to be proven wrong but the form-line for this relay has been poor for some years.

Verram

I really thought Alice Mills was gonna have a breakthrough season in 2005 after a superb Trials.. Then she underperformed in Montreal after being ranked #1 in both 50m and 100m freestyle.. That was her year to step out of the shadows of Henry-Lenton rivalry…

Personal Best

In 2004 there were 4 women who had swum sub 54 sec in the 100m free.
The 4th being Natalie Coughlin; 53.99 sec in 2002 as the second woman under the 54 sec mark (crazy talent there and sometimes overlooked in freestyle).

Alice Mills joined them in 2005 before a flood of 53 sec swimmers came in 2006 and continued (Steffen, Weir, Velduis etc).

The relay in 2004 was exceptional, primarily, because of Jodie Henry’s split, fastest all time at that stage I think, and Trickett’s 53 split.

Funny, the 4th relay swimmer for Australia then was a 100-200 flyer replacing a sprint specialist from heats. Today, there are 5 sprint specialists at the top of their game.

Verram

I didn’t know Weir had swum a 53s time?

Do you think the Aussie girls would have swum faster in that relay with Sarah Ryan in instead of Thomas? Mind you, Petria had a great Olympics in 2004 and just missed gold in the 200 fly as well

Personal Best

Weir’s best time is a 53.5 or so (around that mark anyway). Was at the top of her game for a short period of time, but Coughlin and Kara Lynn Joyce were also doing well.

Not sure if Australia would have gone faster with Ryan. She was close in her best time to Thomas.
They set a new WR by 0.06 I think, so it would have been close either way.

In 2005 with Ryan and Thomas retiring, it was up to Reese to fill the 4th spot, but her times were slower than theirs.
Henry was off her best then, though Trickett got faster, and Australia were not able to match their WR time till 2007 with Schlanger on the team.

aliceinaqualand

Agree with ‘the wombat’ EXCEPT for the Men’s 4×200 and the Men’s Medley relay.
4×200: Japan will be very strong but Russia at home will be hard to beat and France with an in form Agnell will definitely be a contender for top of the podium. I do have faith in the Aussie boys to medal this time round. USA in danger of missing the podium completely.
Medley: USA definitely to win barring any issues. GB looking vulnerable in their second half and therefore will be in the ‘raffle’ along with Australia, Japan, China and France for the minor medals.

commonwombat

Alice; re 4×200 it’s hard to know how to treat RUS as they can be like the Chinese in intl competition …highly unpredictable. They may be complete “bears” in their home waters … or be overwhelmed. They certainly have to be factored into considerations. Agree to differ re AUS

4xMED; minor medals are a complete “raffle”. I put GBR in there due to the power of their front half giving them some degree of buffer to play with. AUS will be lucky to make final if they rest top seeds and out of medal calculations due to question mark over Sprenger getting back to “competitive” level on BRS but moreso the further time gap Hadler/D’Orsogna will concede on FLY. Far too much ground for McEvoy to make up.

PB, they were back swimming 3.35 at 2007 Worlds but still carrying Reese at 54.90 with Lenton, Henry, Schlanger all splitting 53’s (Lenton & Henry low 53s).

GBswim

Commonwombat,

The Mens 4x200m is a tough race to call – Team USA not having the depth to make their usual 4×200 Free team an overwhelming favourite.

Australia will medal – their most likely 4 swimmers are all ranked in the Top 15 this year? As are Team GB’s…

James Guy (7)
Robbie Renwick (9)
Calum Jarvis (10)
Nick Grainger (15)

aswimfan

AUS would have broken the w4x100 free WR several times between 2005 and 2007 but unfortunately Reese’s splits were always too slow.

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