Amid Global Warning Blasts, USA 400 Freestyle Relay Could Use Reassuring Shot

Nathan Adrian - USA
Nathan Adrian - by Patrick B; Kraemer

While several countries have fired warning shots early in the Olympic year to boost confidence for the 400 freestyle relay, the United States has been quiet.

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While several countries have fired warning shots early in the Olympic year to boost confidence for the 400 freestyle relay, the United States has been quiet.



The beginning of this year was indeed faster than same period last year for a large group of swimmers. Practically all leaders made statement about their intentions. I think that in most cases it was done to set up the benchmark level to measure the progress during preparation for races in Rio or trials. In some cases there were races of ambitions like W100 freestyle in Austin, for instance. The race that gathered Sjostrom, Weitzeil, Franklin, Hosszu and Ledecky. Sjostrom in no way wanted to be beaten by anybody from this group. She clocked very good time being pushed by Weitzeil who successfully challenged her first 80m and ended up with personal best. Ledecky’s race showed that she woudn’t satisfied any more just with the position to swim relay in prelim and is ready to challenge US leading sprinters. It was all for real to show who is who. Unfortunately nothing like that can be said about US male sprinters. No hints of such aggressive mood. Of course there is a hope that they follow different plan targeting first OT that is still too far from today. But it looks more that they said nothing because they have actually nothing to say. And that is a bad sign.


Australian men 4×100 free is similar in position to The Netherlands’ women 4×100 free:

Magnussen and Mc Evoy is like Kromowdjojo and Heemskerk
The youngster Chalmers is like the youngster Marrit
The non-existant fourth Aussie sprinter is the same as the non-existant fourth Dutch sprinter.

Unlucky for Australian men sprinters, The depth in the men4x100 race is much much better than the women 4×100 free race.

Luckily for Austrllian male sprinters, there’s no dominant country in m4x100 free like there’s the Australian female sprinters’ domination in w4x100 free.

Right now, my money is on the French to win m4x100 gold.
As for US sprinters, the prediction is too murky now, and will only make clear after their trials, after which they could easily start as the hot favorites to win 4×100 free if Adrian, Dressel, Feigen, Phelps average 48.00 flat start.

Bad Anon

In 2008/2009 season 48.00flat start was not even exciting when suits gave swimmers the edge on the clock. Today February 16 2008 , 8 years on after Kirsty Coventry unwittingly launched the now infamous shiny suit circus :, progress on the clock has been less satisfactory than before and I wouldn’t be surprised if a 49.00 swimmer makes the 100free semis in Rio


Don´t think so Bad Anon

At 2015 Worlds it took a 48,93 to qualify for semis on a race with Dorsogna, a lackluster perfomance by Feigen and Dotto.

I Find it unlikely a 49 will make the cut

Top 16 will Qualify, we will have who can sub-49
2 Brazilians
Adrian and the second American (unless we have a Feigen-like perfomance)
2 French
2 Australians
2 Russians
2 Italians

Maybe we will have Proudt, Gkomoleev, Shioura, Nakamura, Le Clos, Korzeniowski, Jarvis, Fraser, Czerniak, Meladinis, Kisil

I would bet on a 48,8 or 48,9 for semis


aswimfan, I would not bet on 4 US swimmers averaging 48 flat.

I don´t think Adrian will go 48 flat, as he is focusing on 100 free. Phelps free has ben supbar (even his Amazing 200 IM was with a bad freestyle), and his last 100 free was 48 mid-high
The new guys are incognito, but I would bet on something on the lines of a 48 mid high.
Feigen for me is the American Roberts, one amazing swim and that is it to his name


Actually, I would say Adrian is focusin on 50 free, while he can go 47 low-mid relay I don´t see him going his “usual” sub-47 splits


in 1984 a young stud called Matt Biondi came through at the US trials, I believe as a relay swimmer. In 2000 a similar thing happened with Anthony Ervin (who qualified for both individual 50 free and 400 free relay).

Bottom line, when it comes to the US, a country with such a high number of active competitive swimmers, you never know exactly who will be the guys forming the relay squad at the Games. Of all the names mentioned above, the only one I would bet my money on is Adrian, because he is a thoroughbred racer and always shines when it counts. Phelps had always had good or extremely good 100 frees the years when he was neglecting his trademark races or even training lazily (2005 he finaled at Worlds, 2010 Pan Pacs swam a fantastic first leg, faster than the fastest finalist in the individual race, in 2012 when his 400ims sucked and his 200 fly was off he was a sub48 100 free swimmer …). Where his sprint freestyle is now, I would not know.


Rafael, a 2nd AUS qualifier in the 100free is no cold certainty. The AUS QT of 48.49 is no “gimme” and as yet, McEvoy is the only sub49.

Chalmers could make it as his PB is just below but he’s only been lightly raced so far this season.

Magnussen has frankly looked very ordinary in his races so far and may be running out of time to be anywhere near his best at Trials, His swims at NSW trials in 2 weeks time will tell us more but at this point, the AUS QT is looking a tough ask for him.

With regards to the wider M4X100 picture, I actually look on the fact that “the old firm” of USA & AUS being seen as outsiders in this event as being a very good sign for the event. Good that a number of other nations have both quality and depth in male sprinting ….. and a challenge to the old powers to lift their game.


If you thinks Australia time is strong, actually The French has a Quali Time of 48,13! There is a high chance that no one qualifies if they not hit the “right” swim on trials..


It’s 48.3 for Italy. But there are secondary rules to make sure that at least two are sent to Rio, unless they really suck.


Toughness is relative to the actual depth in the event in the respective country. 48.49 would generally not be an issue for McEvoy and a fit, firing Magnussen.

Take the latter out of the equation and replace with a very talented but still “green” Chalmers; a misfiring and very rusty Magnussen and potentially no one else sub49 and you go from 2 almost certain qualifiers to where the 2nd qualifier is distinctly uncertain.

With FRA, the time is most certainly tough but at least there are a number of guys on or within a couple of tenths going off their 2015 times. Its a challenge but a far from unreasonable one.


CW, now I agree there are no certain golds, for anything can happen, but I wouldn’t bet against Ledeky in the 400 or 800 with your money & even in the 200, it would be a very small amount.

Chalmers was a 16 year old last year, he swam two 47s relay splits in the World Championships, so showed he can handle the pressure. He has swam a personal best that was better then the Olympic qula time & has swam a couple more around that time.
He would be close to being the fastest 16-17 year old ever for the 100 free in 2015.

Now, if you are a betting man (yes I agree no sure things in life), you would think the odds would be Chalmers, now 17 years, 1 year experience in the big show, stronger, Olympic year, now focus on swimming & not also playing AFL, you would say the odds are favourable that he would improve his time of 2015, longer odds, but still a strong chance of possible go sub 48. Now the long odds would be challenging for gold, maybe a year or 2 too early for him, but who knows, nothing is certain.


The US men 4×100 is receiving a powerful boost today with Dressel’s 18.39

It looks like he’ll be battling it with Manadou.

The Olympics men 50 free have produced first time, young Olympics champion lately:
Earvin in 2000
Cielo in 2008
Manadou in 2012

Will it be Dressel this time, or is Manadou too powerful to be unseated?


Rob, the betting term is “prohibitive favourite”. Ledecky certainly fits that one as does the US W4X200 & AUS W4X100. However, those eternal intruders called illness & injury will always make their presence felt and can take out anyone from the rankest outsider to the Ledeckys/Hosszus & Phelps’.

Re Chalmers, he’s been under the AUS QT once (by0.02) and has a couple of other 48.6/48.7. Fully agree he’s proven he can relay split sub48 but that 48.47 is still more than a couple of steps from breaking 48sec.

Certainly possible he may do it this year but more in the line of a very pleasant surprise than any likelihood. Career progression is very rarely linear in pattern and with age-groupers you can never tell when its going to come to a screeching halt.

Given that a current “test result” for Magnussen would most probably read mostly WD40; Chalmers is a fair bet for the 2nd AUS spot. Should he make it, semis would be a reasonable expectation. Anything beyond that would be a bonus.

ASW, whilst it signifies Dressel is currently swimming fast; I’m not sure anything more can/should be read



Normally I agree with you, but Dressel has shown that he can also swim LCM, at least the 50m race, if not the 100m.

Last year Dressel was 21.5+ right?
His 18.23 tonight supports prediction that he can swim at least 21.2-21.3 in Rio. Maybe not enough for gold, but basically strong favorite for a medal.


ASW, very valid point and I will agree that this performance does add further credence to him being a legitimate contender in the 50.

Drawing anything further; ie re 100free and 4×100; from this swim is another matter.

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