Which Champions Will Keep Their Crowns In Kazan? Form Guide: Men’s 4x100m Freestyle

Fabien Gilot and Florent Manaudou by Patrick B. Kraemer

Who is shaping up for a knockout in Kazan at world titles in August? Which teams are looking strong? Our guide reaches the relays, France looking strong on the way to the defence of the 4x100m freestyle crown, USA the closest threat, with Russia, Brazil and Australia menacing

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Who is shaping up for a knockout in Kazan at world titles in August? Which teams are looking strong? Our guide reaches the relays, France looking strong on the way to the defence of the 4x100m freestyle crown, USA the closest threat, with Russia, Brazil and Australia menacing



Of all the relays this is the toughest to predict but here it goes:


Australia has the fastest top 4 combination but after Magnussen and McEvoy there is a big drop-off and those two, particularly McEvoy, aren’t good relay swimmers anyway. Russia will probably win it because it has a good, even team(a spread of 47.98 to 48.64 based on their trials) and will be on fire in front of its own fans. France will include Manaudou even though he didn’t swim the 100 at their trials because he’s the fastest they’ve got. But it won’t be enough to make up for a team in need of new blood. If Agnel returned to near his best it could all change but that looks unlikely.

The USA don’t look like top 3 contenders. Adrian hasn’t done anything impressive but he’s proven he can come good when it really matters. Feigen is hit or miss. Lochte always performs in relays but he lacks the real speed to make a major difference while the rest of the team just doesn’t inspire.


US might not have an impressive individual time for 100m free so far, but they are extremely good in relay/team event. So don’t count them out.
I bet on:
USA, Russia and France for the medals.
Australia can come in 4th, or might steal a bronze if they’re really on form.


I would have to disagree with you there @longstroke. I think with France’s depth (Mignon and Metella) and Agnel now back training in France they are unbeatable. I also can’t see the USA not getting at least a silver – they are just too good competitors. My predictions would be:


With Australia in 4th. Maggie is just too inconsistent and McEvoy has proven time and time again that he can’t do more than one race per day (i.e. Commies with that 1:48 lead out leg). Plus behind those too there is still a gap to the rest, even with D’Orsogna and Chalmers. After that i would say Brazil in 5th, Italy 6th and then i’m out


France win, Brasil will be in the hunt for Gold next year doped up at home


Aussies to win


Aussies will win.


To be able to judge off paper would be nearly impossible right now. The USA not really having any standout performances, even though we know they have some big hitters.

France’s reputation now a solid one on the relays i imagine would be in the medals, providing there is no false starts.

Australia have proven once before, that they are capable of some fine swimming, even when not at the top of the pile on paper, and do not often succumb to negative talk.

Brasil have the firepower, but i don’t think personally they have the forte to stand up against these more polished (tongue in cheek as they have some hefty silverware) countries.

My pick goes:


For no other reason than they are the team with the most to lose (toulouse) – haha


Russia wants to show a good result at home, they had the fastest time last year.

France always deliver when needed (Last year also)

Italy who is not there on the consideration had a very good European last year.

Australia tends to let down, Mcevoy and Magnussen doesn´t always deliver on the relays (Especially Mag) and who knows how a 16 year old will do with the pressure? At Youth Olympics Chalmers were not even close to his best times, will he deliver now?

I think Russia and France are on paper the top 2 teams now.

US does not have Phelps, Feigen apart from that 100m silver did not made anything saying he can deliver a top time, Locthe is reliable, also as Adrian, but Ervin and Greevers probably won´t be able to deliver the same time they did 2 3 years algo.

Brazil it all depends on how Santana and Cielo will go, the other 2 guys will need to go 47 mid.

A 3:14 mid probably will be needed to qualify.
Probably only Russia Brazil and France might qualify without the top 2 of the team swimming prelims
Australia might let one out. Italy I do not know how 5th and 6th legs are. China Japan and Germany if they don´t go full force they won´t reach final.
And will US be able to get into final without using Adrian and Locthe now? A team of Feigen Greevers Dwyer and Ervin?


Which Australia will turn up, the one that surprised us and won in 2011, or the one that surprised us and lost in 2012 and 2013?
This event has been so exciting between Aus/US/Fra and Russia..and now we add Brazil to the mix and add water!


FRA have the most consistent record so have to fairly sure to medal at least and Russia thereabouts. Then it gets very iffy !

USA has a proud record but it strikes me as a squad with distinguished records but with their best years in the past. Can’t ignore them but medal at best is my read.

Were this AUS relay to medal, let alone win, it would be a distinct surprise. Whilst Magnussen & McEvoy are considered individual medal chances, both have very erratic histories in relays. Chalmers is a national team rookie therefore an unknown factor. D’Orsogna’s international record is one that never ceases to underwhelm …. his 2014 relay outings were 49plus which would sink any medal hope notwithstanding what his team-mates may deliver. Abood has a reasonable relay record of 48mid legs. Delaney is better known as a backstroker and is a 49mid.

Given BRA doesn’t have the more regular international outings of most others, it’s harder to get a full “read” but on best times they have to be respected.


If the wrong Australia turns up, the one with some poor relay swims at big meets, no depth & a young 16 year old who may freeze.

If the right Australia turns up with the No 1 swimmer in the world, with the best time, the champion who won the last 2 World championship & lost the Olympic final by 0.01 sec. Their no 2 swimmer, won all before him last year, the swimmer with the strongest possibility to improve from the final of 2013, swimmer no 3, a 16 year old who swam 48.69 as just an age swimmer, what would he do with 4 months training with the best available facilities & program & a solid 4th swimmer.

If this one turns up be afraid, very afraid!!!!



I expect brazil a little faster on prelims than Pan Pac last year, Fratus is training a lot for this year, Chiereginni and de Lucca are swimming sub-48 splits, Nicolas was injured on Maria Lenk but can probably split a 48 low.. and all 4 guys will probably want to deliver big time because Santana and Cielo are locks for final.


It looks like a show with too many stars and not enough spotlighted podium placements to me! It will be tough for the actors (athletes) and directors (coaches), but very entertaining for the crowd!

As a US fan, I’m crossing my fingers that this Championships won’t be the second time the US Team misses the medals (the first was 2001).


@Craig should not Italy be on the mix? there would be 2 sports for final and China jpn Germany south Africa maybe Belgium battling for these spots


I’m going to be putting my money on France. They have so consistently performed on the world stage recently, and they seem to be able to pull out clutch swims when we need them.

This is especially true now that Bernard’s gone. The amazing thing is that even with one swimmer underperfoming the rest of the team manages to step up and pull something out of the bag.

In London, they smashed it, with some amazing swims.

In Barcelona, Agnel underperformed but Gilot stepped up and compensated with a 46.90 split.

Ar Berlin Euros, they all had some very solid splits.

At SC Worlds, Clement Mignon didn’t manage to break 47 on the leadoff leg, trailing Morozov massively. But Gilot stepped up off a month’s training, followed by monster split from Manaudou and then a clutch anchor from Metella.

This year we know several things: Agnel is back in France and in his own words is training very well under Horter. Manaudou is keeping his powder dry but he has stepped up his game in the 100m with an eye to Rio.

Furthermore, Metella and Mignon have improved massively since last year, and I’m sure Barnier will nail the taper for Worlds.

Finally, Stravius – after a period of struggling with motivation – is now fully back to training doubles and I am sure we’ll get an even faster split from him.

So… France is my call. I think they will followed by the Russians, followed by either Australia, Brazil and the USA. If I had to pick a bronze I’ll go Brazil.

Rounding up the final will be: Italy, China (watch out for a fast anchor from Ning) and one other team.

For the rest of the final:


I’m hoping that Australia will win this race this year as well as in the Olympics. Hopefully Mr. Chalmer will bring new blood, and will inspire Mr. McEvoy, Mr. Magnusen, and Mr. D’Orsogna to shine. Australia has been at it for a very long time and I believe it’s high time to outperform their rivals. I also think Brasil and Japan will be second and third, respectively.


Too difficult to call, for the reasons some of you have explained very well. There are swimmers who could change the game but whose performances are not predictable: Ervin and Feigen for the US, for example.
Being an Italian, I will say this: Italy could steal a medal (bronze, top) in one way and one only, if they have perfect changes with near-to-zero reaction times. They have been known to do this (in Barcelona 2013 for example). It’s their secret weapon.


Given the depth of the relay field (I may argue-significantly more so than any time this millenium), its very likely that one of the top 5 teams could screw up and miss the finals. The team I’m looking at is Australia, who will be tempted to rest McEvoy and Magnussen for the finals, reliable a virtually untested team to get them into the finals.

This in contrast to a sub-tier dark horse team like China, who is likely to only rest Sun Yang, and keep their star Ning Zetao on for prelims, or a steady finalist like Germany who is likely keep to keep the same team (at most replace one) for prelims/finals.

Despite their comparative weakness (compared to previous years) on paper, the USA has enough depth where is is unlikely to be an issue.

Brazil has been the prime culprit for this in years past, but I suspect management will be more careful with their big show just a year away. Brazil’s failing to make the finals so many years previously and the fact that they have never gathered their top 4 in top 100free at the same time masked the fact that, in truth, they’re the only team on the planet that could potentially put 3 men under 48 on a flat start this year.

The landscape of this relay this year suggests an even more competitive race for Rio- primary reasons being Americans are missing out on at least 1 person who can give them a 47low, if not faster split and the Aussie’s young team will benefit from another year’s growth. Note that a finish anywhere on the podium forteam USA should be viewed as extremely positive given that they are not sending their top team. This team will probably have at least half a second boost going from this year to next, which could put them up a place or two in an extremely crowded field. Saying this is to highlight that I don’t believe they will medal this summer.

However, if USA wins this summer, they will probably go into Rio as the indiscriminant favorite.


@for33 how could jpn be on mix? Forgive my question


@John Brazil might improve too Santana will be 20 and could be peaking by Rio. Also Felipe Ribeiro is already 49,1 at 17 and might break into 48 this year at Jr worlds already. He can contend for a relay spot for rio


Going to be a cracker. Too close to call at this stage between USA, France, Aus, Brazil


I’m going for France – Manaudou & Agnel offer them a the superstar element many other teams lack. Mignon, Stravius, Metella & Gilot add essential depth and the French look extremely tough on paper. Australia might well be the closest team and the most likely to overtake the French in Rio with the rise of Chalmers.

1. France
2. Australia
3. Brazil
4. Russia
5. United States

As a Brit, I would hope to see our boys progressing and make the 4×100 Final. That *should* be achievable with 2 48.7s & 2 49.1s – All flat-starts. Italy, Belgium and China might put a stop to my hopes though.

Craig Lord

Hi Rafael, yes, they are mentioned in the mix as the first nation beyond the main hopes but not listed among the main protagonists (last three seasons, they have had one swimmer a year who cracked 48 on a relay split – it has to be more than that to compete with the others in focus).


Always my favourite event!

Russia, France and Brazil for 3rd. Russia because they’re at home, France because they’ve been the most consistent performers over the past 3 years and Brazil because I think if they’re close, Cielo will throw down a monster leg. And Brazil, I think, can keep it close.

If, as Torchbearer notes, the right Aussie team shows up then I think they’re in the mix, too. Have to say, though, I am – at the moment – underwhelmed by what I’m seeing from Magnusen.

Watch for Orsi to do something crazy; that guy really does crush relays.

It’s strange to say given their legacy but I really think the Americans will struggle in this event. Their core guys are two sprinters in their 30’s – Adrian & Ervin, an IM’er – Lochte – and Feigen, who hasn’t exactly lit it up lately. I think the podium is completely out of reach and I think they may struggle to get into the top 5.


Brazil, France, Australia, US, Russia and Italy are probably safe for a final spot.. US might have to ditch the reserves this time though..

China (Who needs to show it can deliver out of China and NEEDS zetao to qualify), JPN, Germany, Great Britain and South Africa are probably the ones to fight for last 2 spots..

About GBR, one of the 49,1 guys, the one which is 18, won´t he go to Jr Worlds? That would leave a hole on Kazan


my bet would be:Russia,France and Australia. Brazil is too Cielo dependent right now.Let s face it:Without Cielo 44.6 closing BRA relay at last World SC Champs Brazil would not even get a medal. They need the other guys to step up big time.



Duncan Scott will swim 4×100 and probably 4×200 heats at the World Championships. He will also go to World Juniors as part of a very strong British 4×200 squad.



De Lucca split a 45,65 (About 1 second slower than Cielo) at the freestyle relay at SC, with that time, if he were on the Medley, Brazil would still get silver behind US and ahead on France.


split a time like that with no pressure is something, have to deliver the best, and coming from behind is another.I am talking about the correct mind setting, the state of mind only Cielo have in Brazil team.
I expect a lot of DeLucca after his NCAA great season in the past year, but he still don’t delivered(YET).


Fratus is showing he has a correct mindset..

Santana seems to have a very good mental fortitude, he didn´t let a “bad” 50m at Jr Olympics put him down and went to him the 100, also he put an amazing 47,7 split on 4×100 relay to give Brazil a silver.. probably the fastest split ever for an 18 year old


A lot of people ruling Russia out…..I think they’ll medal very good performers at home


I think France will win.
I think this article makes a lot of assumptions that all the Americans will be swimming at their fastest. Despite the comment about mcevoy being shit at relays – at pan pacs last year, he had the best split – and much better than ervin’s 48.57 showing. I highly doubt he’ll be splitting 47.38 (he swam 21.7 in the 50m at the same meet so it’s not like he was in horrible form)


Also in the same 2013 wc that he won the silver medal in, feigen lost the relay for the USA with a 48.23 anchor split! Definitely cannot rely on him to fire! (for all the mcevoy knockers, he’s horrible in the 200m relay but in the 100m, he had the 3rd fastest split at 2013 wc and the fastest split at panpacs in 2014).


@Anon: Thanks for reminding me about Feigen’s poor excuse for an anchor leg in Barcelona! 🙁


I agree Anon, people here are underestimating McEvoy, he has consistently over the 18 months been top 3 with Maggie.
Both swimmers knew they had a gap on the rest of the field in Australia at the trials & I think held back, though both surprised by Chamlers. You will see a much quicker McEvoy & Maggie in Kazan.


@robbos mag 100 free does not mean much on all relays he never broke 48 flat and his splits are not good also.


To think that Craig Lord thinks Angel will go .7 of a second faster McEvoy (one of the strong favorites for the individual) in the relay is well astonishing & to think 6 swimmers, Angel, Ervin, Adrian, Cielo, Lobintsev & Morozov will all go quicker in the relay is even more astonishing.

Only time will tell.


My prediction of USA, France and Russia is not in any particular order. They’re the 3 best I think.
Australia, looks good on paper, but they are 4 separate swimmers swimming a 4×100 rather than a single team, feeding on each others adrenaline and emotions (like US, France).
Any prediction on the winning time?
I guess it will be around 3:10.


Each of Craig’s scenario’s are based on best splits in Championship settings. In truth, most if not all of those relay times are likely to be faster than each of those countries’ results in Kazan. I do, however, feel that a 3:10low could probably win it all.


Rafael, I think he did in 2011 WC.
In Olympics, he bombed out badly & lost confidence when he failed to break 48 seconds in relay leadoff & came back brilliantly, even not at best to nearly snatch gold.
In 2013 he was already spent by time of relay, the pressure he put on himself to defend title.
He is your alpha male a bit like Ronaldo in football, not a great team player, but if on form, he can produce.


Thanks John I did not know, however, it would be astonishing if McEvoy ha sthe 7th fastest split & beaten so much by Angel.



Yes he did!Found the results, at 2011 he was the “New guy”, it seems that after turning into the favorite and the man to be beat is that his results stopping being what it could..


@Rafael, he won 2013 WC & came 2nd in 2012 Olympics, by 0.01 second. Yes he has flopped since he became favorite!!!!


I was not talking about individual.. but about relay swims robbos…


Yes, he didn’t perform in 2012 when Australia were favorites for relay, after that Australia has never been favorites.
Lets see what he does this year & next in relays.


In commonwealth games Maggie’s and McEvoy splits were 47.49 and 47.52. In panpacs their splits were 47.68 and 47.60. They are probably capable of 47 flat split.


@roy when the big wave of doping positives hit Brazilian swimmers a few years back, I remember a few Brazilians saying that it was not anyone in the Brazilian swim federation that was masterminding a doping program because that would imply a far higher level of competence than the federation was capable of. Having watched the last minute rush to get things finished for the World Cup football and now hearing many reports of Olympic delays, I’m kind of inclined to agree with that assessment and call it athletes acting on their own.

I also think they have kind of have to swim their A squad for prelims this year because (9, I think) Olympic relay spots will be allocated and better to take care of that now than have to chase one of the spots through secondary qualification.

Australian swim fan

Most seem to be discounting or ignoring Russia home ground advantage I would think barring a DQ are as to certain as anything could be. Too many variables for Australia Magusson’s new coaching set up, McEvoy’s inconsistency in relays and Chalmers inexperience. Russia, France and Brazil.
In Rio Brazil will be difficult to defeat – home ground again – remember Australia in 2000. USA does not have the depth for Kazan, but watch in Rio and the variables hanging over Australia this year will be gone by Rio and they will be real contenders there.


Between Lochte and Feigen, it’ll be interesting to see who swims prelims, and who gets the free pass to finals, assuming Dwyer does end up swimming prelims. Dwyer almost certainly won’t swim finals, but both Ervin and Grevers are capable of splitting around a 47.5. Sure, the team would be stronger will Phelps, but I’d still be fairly surprised if they don’t get some medal.


Fratus state of mind in 50 is something totally different than his 100.His 100free is still inconsistent and no reliable.

in December of 2010, Cielo gave an interview(polemic) talking the need to take president of Brazilian swimming federation down .Not many months later, he got caught in doping. Cielo and CBDA president aren’t best palls, that is clear.

Australian swim fan,
the problem with Brazil is the inexperience of the FULL relay team swimming together.Tomorrow in Charlotte will be the first time this generation of swimmers will swim together with ALL top guys in a 4x100free.

Craig Lord

gee12, James Magnussen has a 47 flat on the books – he clocked 47.17 at C Games last year, too (and Cameron McEvoy 47.44 best split so far, as the article states, a low 47 obv. within the range of possibilities, his split at C Games in 4×100 free final, by the way, was 47.92, not .52).

Craig Lord

Anon, the article assumes all will swim at or close (even inside) best. It is a World Championships – and history tells us that most Americans will step up and history tells us, too, that the hit rate of Americans stepping up will be a hefty percentage higher than will be the case for many nations. It may well be that Lochte steps in for Ervin or A Another if required, (47.74, 47.80 splits for Lochte in the most recent global events). And just to make clear, the comment you mention about McEvoy is not to be found in the article.



As I understand it, Chalmers was so sick at the Youth Olympics last year, and even Aussie officials recommended him not to swim.
So far, however, Chalmers have always delivered at the big meets.
But we’ll see. World Championships is a different beast altogether. If he is made of the same fiber as Thorpe’s and Phelps’, he will deliver, in a big way.

And I agree with Robbos re: Australia chances. It depends on which version of Australia that will turn up, because in the past 4 years after 2011, they have truly under-swum the sprint relays.
If it is the best version of Australia, it will be gold for them, regardless of whatever version other countries may produce.
If not, then well, maybe another painful 4th for them.


USA has to be the favorite, when Adrian anchors it’s almost guaranteed 46.8 split.
Feigen can potentially lead off 47.9 but I can see him being 48.2, Grevers and Ervin 47.5.
Are all splits that are well within USAs current range without anybody exploding for a special split.

France is the biggest threat manadou could potentially split 46 and we know gilot and Agnel can as well. They have plenty of guys that can lead off 48.5, France just needs their guys to be on. I like Italy or Brazil as a darkhorse. Italy is intriguing if they find a fourth.


And a word of caution:

Since 2000 Olympics all the way to 2013 World Championhips, many of m4x100 free winners were not the strongest favorites, making men 4×100 free the most exciting swimming race as you truly have no idea who will win until the first touch on the final pad.


Interesting exchange. So many views, opinions and details, but still – no consensus. So many “what if…” scenarios but still no at least some numerical estimates of how feasible those “IFs” are. After reading all these comments I feel more comfortable with stock market predictions than with the prediction of the results of men 400 relay. So isn’t it better to stay with the well-known Market’s reminder that “the past performance cannot guarantee future results” or if to put in Mr. Lord’s metaphorical way – “Paper exercises on relays are like yesterday’s newspaper, …”. Whoever really wants to get some idea of what awaits us with this event I recommend to go to the websites where people are making responsible bets. What money talks is what most likely going to happen and there is more science behind most of such bets than I see here. But if the socializing by itself is what makes this forum so attractive then please, disregard my comment.


The problem with predicting any of American swimmer’s, with the obvious exception of Ledecky and Franklin, is that we have idea who is doing well and who is not, since they ‘re not holding trials and no American swimmer is tapered until before Kazan. And most if not all American sprinters are graduates and past NCAA already, so we cannot use NCAA champs form.

I hope Santa Clara will reveal a little bit of their form.



Very well put. Who predicted the Aussies to win 2000 Sydney, Russia to win 2003 Worlds, South Africa to win 2004 Athens, USA to win 2008/2009, Aussies to win 2011, France to win 2012?

From my quick survey, the strongest candidate to win this year is France. But if I were them, I’d been a bit wary 🙂


….. is that we have NO idea who is doing well and who is not, since they ‘re not holding trials……..


I just note that Gilot’s time was swum with shiny suit, a period that few mentioned here have known at an adult age. The winner will need depth and experience as young guns tend to get too emotional and flash the first 50 then get into trouble in the last 15.
Then comes a lot of ifs…. Tough….
1. France
2. Russia
3. Australia
So, Mr Lord, what are the stats after 60 and more comments?

Craig Lord

Anan, if you mean the time I cite in the article, Gilot’s time was not in a shiny suit. He swam 46.90 at Barcelona 2013 worlds. If you mean the stats of who tips which teams, I am very happy for you to count (I have other things to get on with 🙂


Hi Mr Lord,
I am sorry I wasn’t clear enough. I was talking about the 47.73, in the ‘And this is what we get:’ section. It was Roma 2009 relay final first leg I believe.

Craig Lord

Hi Anan… got you. Many thanks. Very sneaky shiny times 🙂 I have tweaked France – almost the same but not quite … 🙂

Mikal W Grass

Great story behind Gilot’s tattoo.


Big question marks over Russia and Brazil! Wont be surprised to see a few swimmers from these teams not turn up.


The Brazil 4×100 at Charlotte pro swim which was supposed to be a big test really underwhelmed.


I saw some news that Mag is injured and may probably miss worlds..

Aswimfan.. badtimes, but the test was more of the relay order and times change, I hope they are all on heavy training due to Pan am and worlds..it would not make sense to be rested now


Australians are gone. Mag will not be swimming.

Craig Lord

Peter, there’s no decision on that as far as I can see at the time of writing but yes, it very much looks like it right now

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