The Spice In Brit Quartets Last Year Feeds Hunger To Be “Known As A Relay Nation”

British bounty (L-R) Jemma Lowe, Christopher Walker-Hebborn, Adam Peaty and Francesca Halsall - a world record by March 2016 Photo: Patrick B. Kraemer

The gains of 2014 fresh in memory, British Swimming Performance Director Chris Spice has placed emphasis on the success of quartets at the world titles on the eve of racing in Kazan: “We want to be known as a relay nation”

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The gains of 2014 fresh in memory, British Swimming Performance Director Chris Spice has placed emphasis on the success of quartets at the world titles on the eve of racing in Kazan: “We want to be known as a relay nation”



I’m expecting big things from British relays in Kazan


The mens 4x100m medley look like the only medals they will win unless you count the non olympic mixed relays

Iain Clarke-Coast

The men’s medley and 4×2 both look good for medals, the men’s 4×2 in particular has very good depth.

Also don’t count out the women’s 4×2, adding up this year’s times they rank fourth behind USA, AUS, ITA, but they should be able to battle with Italy for the bronze. The women’s medley is very unlikely to medal given Sophie Taylor’s absence.

Unfortunately the women’s 4×1 is not on the start list – no cover was brought at all, and I’d imagine O’Connor wants to focus on the 200 IM


– Men’s medley looks the only clear-cut medal chance.

– M4x200 looks competitive and should certainly final but would probably require “stumbles” from a few higher ranked teams to medal. A plausible scenario but requiring things to fall their way.

– M4x100 would be doing well to make the final. Olympic QF (top 12) may be the key aim.

– W4xMED is clearly weakened by Taylor’s withdrawal but even so, the female back-strokers have been off-pace this year and the back-end falls away comparative to the top teams. Final & Olympic QF look the best scenarios.

– W4x200 should certainly final. There’s quality with Carlin & SMOC but the remainder are realistically 1.58 swimmers. Could they be in the mix for bronze …. perhaps but certainly not one you could “pencil in” beforehand.

Iain Clarke-Coast

Think you guys are underestimating the 4x2s. Best times from this year:

AUS – C. McEvoy, D. McKeon, T. Fraser-Holmes, G. Hackett
1:45.94, 1:46.33, 1:46.83, 1:46.84 – 7:05.94
GBR – J. Guy, R. Renwick, C. Jarvis, N. Grainger
1:46.32, 1:46.64, 1:46.65, 1:47.10 – 7:06.71
USA – C. Dwyer, R. Malone, M. Weiss, R. Lochte
1:47.04, 1:47.15, 1:47.63, 1:47.69 – 7:09.51
RUS – A. Krasnykh, A. Sukhorukov, N. Lobintsev, D. Izotov
1:47.39, 1:47.41, 1:47.59, 1:47.59 – 7:09.98
CHN – Y. Sun, Q. Xu, Y. Hao, K. Shang
1:45.75, 1:47.87, 1:48.21, 1:48.54 – 7:10.37
NED – S. Verschuren, D. Dreesens, K. Stolk, J. Reijns
1:46.07, 1:47.47, 1:48.00, 1:48.84 – 7:10.38
GER – P. Biedermann, C. Rapp, J. Heidtmann, F. Vogel
1:45.60, 1:48.30, 1:48.33, 1:48.56 – 7:10.79
JPN – Y. Kobori, T. Amal, D. Seto, N. Ehara
1:47.48, 1:47.59, 1:47.71, 1:48.10 – 7:10.88

AUS – E. McKeon, B. Barrett, M. Wright, L. Neale, E. McKeon
1:55.88, 1:57.10, 1:57.37, 1:57.46 – 7:47.81
USA – K. Ledecky, M. Franklin, K. McLaughlin, M. Margalis
1:56.16, 1:57.02, 1:57.55, 1:57.91 – 7:48.64
ITA – F. Pellegrini, A. Mizzau, C. Masini Luccetti, E. Musso
1:55.00, 1:57.37, 1:57.86, 1:58.65 – 7:48.88
GBR – J. Carlin, S. O’Connor, R. Turner, E. Faulkner
1:56.88, 1:57.23, 1:58.13, 1:58.29 – 7:50.53
CHN – D. Shen, J. Guo, Y. Fang, Y. Qiu
1:57.05, 1:57.50, 1:58.05, 1:58.16 – 7:50.76
FRA – C. Bonnet, C. Balmy, C. Hache, M. Fabre
1:56.16, 1:57.49, 1:58.97, 1:59.42 – 7:52.04
RUS – V. Popova, V. Andreeva A. Openysheva, D. Mullakaeva
1:57.42, 1:57.48, 1:58.22, 1:59.15 – 7:52.27
SWE – S. Sjostrom, M. Coleman, L. Hansson, S. Gardell
1:54.77, 1:56.71, 1:59.23, 2:02.20 – 7:52.91

Bear in mind that at the Commonweath Games last year Faulkner and (in particular) Turner swam some fast relay splits comparative to their SBs.

Craig Lord

A few teams in that list will be a fair bit quicker on the day, me thinks Iain; and all will need to fire on four cylinders come the hour, of course.



I don’t think we’ve underestimated GBR men4x200.

Remember that USA will be far faster and I assume Russia will too. GBR benefitted from the withdrawal of Agnel and Hagino, but even so, I expect AUS, USA and RUS to finish top three in no particular order.

Iain Clarke-Coast

Certainly I expect the U.S. to go faster – these exercises are fairly useless for that country.

However, I don’t necessarily see Russia getting much better. I definitely would ‘t rule them out, but I’d definitely make GB favourites for bronze at this stage.


Ian, any such exercise is purely academic given the varying time periods from when these yearly best times may have occurred …. and the fact that some swimmers from ANY nation have the habit of failing to replicate domestic times in international competition.

I certainly did NOT rule out either GBR 4×200 from medal calculations. They could very well profit from higher fancied teams making a mess of things ….. this AUS relay have made a habit of it over the past 4-5 years. The fact is, however, that the M 4xMED is a very clear medal hope whereas the 4×200 is on a “lower rung of betting”.

With regards to the W4x200; I stand by my earlier call. SMOC is probably your peak 200 swimmer but on evidence this year, she is well off her 2014 level in this event and a 1.56leg more likely than anything lower.

Without that, GBR is realistically without a clear potential “gun leg”. Carlin may drop in a 1.55 leg but the likes of USA, AUS & ITA have at least one potential/likely 1.54leg (USA 2). The likes of Faulkner & Turner are 1.57mid at best which is below the level of 3rd/4th USA & AUS swimmers & questionable re ITA. They’re a chance but favour others

Iain Clarke-Coast

Think we should just agree to disagree on the men!

For the women, I would agree Italy are favourites for the bronze, but I think O’Connor is in better form than it appears. She wasn’t, for whatever reason, firing on all cylinders in this event at nationals, and I believe her SB is an in season swim, so she should be able to drop a decent chunk.

Who knows though – if we did then they’d be no point in watching!



We so often agree, but I can’t say that this time. The notion that Britain will need to rely on higher fancied teams ‘missing’ is where I can’t agree with you.

On Sionhan O’Connor, I agreed earlier in the year that 1.56low is possibly the most we can expect. However – Her recent form is very impressive with numerous 1.57s, all faster than her time at nationals. Her 100 free PB (53.8) suggests her freestyle is actually in very good shape. If SMOC is even in 1.56low shape, the gap (on paper) between GBR & Italy is less than a second. Overcoming that will rely more likely on an athlete stepping up. I agree with the opinion that Italy are favourites for bronze though.

With the men – Australia go in as favourites with the chronically misfiring McKeon (in intl waters), the unpredictable (over 200) McEvoy and the out of sort Fraser-Holmes. Japan are missing Hagino. Russia will improve but their tapered times are 3s slower than Britain in 2015.. Big gap the make up. USA will without a doubt improve but they’re lacking the fire-power they once had. Chinese are the big unknown. Again, I don’t see much that suggests Britain will have to rely on others faultering to grab a bronze.

Might I even suggest the ludicrous – Britain improving at a major meet? Haha.

Alas, we don’t know what’ll happen, that’s why we all love and watch this sport.

One more sleep – Good luck to all those competing!


Dee, I don’t think we’re actually that far apart in our views. The M 4xMED is, however, one which is a much surer medal bet whereas the 4×200’s are most definitely medal chances BUT both in a situation of being in a rugby scrum of teams squabbling over the minor medals. They could quite easily walk away from these 2 events with a couple of medals …. or empty handed.

Re the M 4×200; your read on the AUS 4×200 is actually a politer version of mine. I could quite easily see GBR outperforming them. This, however, looks a very fluid race with the US looking a rather “non-vintage” line-up but then again, none of the competition looks that tremendous.


We will see how the extremely tough Britain qualifying standard affects their championships form.

It may not affect their top swimmers like Peaty or Hasal in any way, but I suspect it negatively affect their medium tier swimmers, and that’s why I’m reluctant to call their men4x200 free favorite for a medal.
But we’ll see in a few days how wrong I am 😀

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