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

Camille Lacourt (top) leads the cheer for France's gold at worlds in 2013 - Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer MAGICPBK)

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 set for the defence of the 4x100m medley crown among men, the USA keen to make up for DQ in 2013; Britain on the move, with Australia, China, Japan all threatening

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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 set for the defence of the 4x100m medley crown among men, the USA keen to make up for DQ in 2013; Britain on the move, with Australia, China, Japan all threatening



You mean Jayden Hadler not Justin Hadler right for Australia?


I think this is USA to lose, with GBR close second.

bronze will be fought tooth and nail among a host of countries: Japan, France, Australia, and China.

The dark horse in this is China, as their swimmers are still very young and may improve leaps and bounds.


For GBR to mount challenge to USA will critically depend if Barrett can repeat his 50.6 split. If he can do that again, we will witness a magnificent furious split by Adrian to catch Proud, which may or may not be enough.


I’m cheering for Hungary. Now that Laszlo Cseh changed his coach and shifted his focus towards shorter events like the 100 fly and Gabor Balog seems to be getting more and more speed in sprint backstroke events they might have a chance with Gyurta in breast and Kozma always putting up some outstanding effort in relays.


I’m not looking for Australia to medal much in men’s relays… I would be pleasantly surprised if they did though


The best breaststroker that the US has, Cordes, has a bad case of the “yips” and cannot be counted on to do the right thing in a close race, in my opinion.

If he wants to train with Sergio, more power to him; I hope it works out. However, no training will be complete without a psychological component that will assist Mr. Cordes in getting to the bottom of his issues.

The Brits might just be the team to beat, which would be exciting.


2014 GBR were “there” with regards to being a major factor. The issue is whether their FLY & FS leg can regain that level. USA has to be favoured albeit with crossed fingers/toes and other appendages with regards to Cordes.

You could maybe raffle off bronze between the rest of the field with most having a gun leg countered by a glaringly weak one.

I do, however, discount, AUS. BRS is a concern with regards to whether Sprenger can return to international competitiveness but the insurmountable weakness will be FLY. Neither Hadler or D’Orsogna have ever delivered anything in international meets either in individual or relays and the odds are far more likely for a 52+ than the 51low minimum that would be needed to medal.


Hi Craig,
You mentioned a best spit of 59.26 for Perez D’Ortona in 2013 and didn’t take it into account in your projections…
Anyway everything seem possible with no Phelps and no Magnussen…it’s wide open this year.
But I would bet on USA! It’s theirs


I believe it’s high time for Japan to win this race, followed closely by Australia and Great Britain. But all the teams are very strong, with perhaps the most solid the US: I’m quite confident that Mr. Cordes will perform very reliably, after his good race in the PanPacs. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if Brazil is the winner, as all their swimmers are quite strong. But Japan, Australia, and Great Britain are my choices.


I’m going with the Americans here. If Adrian is close, he can out split anybody in the field, especially with Magnussen gone.

Second through fourth will be very close. In order, I think it’ll be the Japanese, the Brits, the French and then the Aussies.

I think it’s going to be a very race and I think the Yanks will be chasing it through the last leg.


I’ll do my prediction in different way:

Tier 1: USA and GBR
Tier 2: China, Japan, France
Tier 3: AUS, RUS (because it’s home team), HUN

So those are my likely final. AUS and HUN are vulnerable and might not make final if they don’t field their strongest line up.


I don’t think Adrian can out split ning zetao. Ning zetao has split a 46 something. The problem for china is their breaststroke leg is weak and li zhuhao is still a young butterflylier so ning zetao may out split the whole field but it may not be enough. I think the US are favourates because they have the best balance among all the teams. The only way the US will lose is if Ben proud improves and splits a 47 something for Britain.


Ning zetao split a 46.91 at the Asian games. They also have a 16 year old breaststroker Wang lizhuo (he was born in 1999) who swam a 1:00:38 in April this year. li zhuhao is their best butterflier but is only 16 year old too. Their backstroker xu jiayu is already one of the best in the world and is only 19 years old. The Chinese team is too young to challenge for a medal in Kazan and I don,t think they will be ready by Rio. They are too young. The favorites for the gold medal at the medley relay in Kazan are the US and Britain.

Craig Lord

pierreago, merci – i have updated (after too many calculations, he brain turns to jelly 🙂
sorry for delayed response – at sports camp with our eldest son as official group snapper 🙂 … so service slow this weekend…


Roy is right – Ning has a 46.91 from the Asian Games medley relay anchor.

Also Li Zhuhao (not Lu Zhuhao) has a 51.41 from the same swim not 51.52

Craig Lord

Thanks to all for the odd tenth here and there, France the most significant tweak, others made no difference to the order of what is a paper exercise and no to be taken too literally … the best relay runes are those at the meet 🙂


I personally think that this will come to a very tight race between GBR, USA, FRA and CHN.

I think GBR has a great shot at Gold tbh. Proud is beginning to focus on the 100m free precisely because of relay duties; I’m sure Barrett will be out to redeem himself after a lacklustre trials, and who knows what the hell Peaty can pull out. Given how easily he can go out in sub-27 with a relay start and the fact that he can definitely pull a 30.X coming home – with the adrenaline I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 57 low. Also very importantly flying starts help him more than others because – let’s face it – he doesn’t win his races underwater.

I don’t think Cordes will be much faster than what he split last year at Pan Pacs, especially given his NCAA performance. Secondly, he doesn’t swim at his best when he’s not clearly better than everyone else in the field. Pretty even between Shields and Barrett if Barrett is on form, and CWH won’t be too far away from Grevers I feel. Depends on how fast Adrian will be on anchor.

As for France, I expect good swims all around. Stravius is back properly and looking at a 52.X; GPD is looking for a 59.X; Metella is looking at a 50-high and they always have a monster anchor.

China? Who knows. I believe Xu has a 100Bk WR in him, just a matter of time and the perfect swim. The 16-year old breastroker can probably go a 59-high. Li Zhuhao is looking at a 50-high and Ning has already done a 46.91.

Too close to call. But boy will I be watching this race.


@for33, as happy as I could to see someone put brazil on the mix, we would need all our guns to final..

Our back at best would give a 53 high split.. that is too far behind, while we could have a 58 high breast split which is okay, at beast I would expect a 51 mid fly split from Pereira then a 47 low free split from Cielo that would add to a 3:31 high.. too low for medal


Grevers 52.4
Cordes 58.5
Shields 50.7
Adrian 46.8

Walker Hebborn 52.8
Peaty 57.5
Barrett 50.7
Brown 47.8

On my prediction for splits, USA comes out winning by a slim margin of .3. If Peaty can’t put down 57 mid split, it’s game over.


I think, having won trials, Jarvis will anchor the GB Medley. While Barrett (I think he’ll swim over Laxton) was off at trials, all other events for GB are significantly faster than in 2014 on paper..

Back – 0.24s
Breast – 0.76s
Free – 0.15s

1.15s in total.

Although on Freestyle, Prouds 48.8 was a huge outlier and he could only manage 49mids at Nationals & Commies so that 0.15s might be too kind.

Having analysed A. Barrett in relays, I learned that in the 3 medley relay finals he swam in 2014, he averaged almost 1.2s faster than his individual swim at the same meet. He also has a free split of 48.2 (his PB is 49.8)…

In short, he is a beast in relays.

Still, my prediction..

1. USA
2. GBR
3. JAP


I agree with most with USA V GB & France just a touch behind.
Australia can surprise as I seen big improvements by McEvoy & Larkin, but it would need Sprenger back at his best & Hadler to swim out of his skin.

Veram, I expect the men’s 4X200 to Australia’s best chance & a very good one at that, they have very good depth.


ON the Men’s side of things.


You can count on one hand the number of times the USA has failed to win this relay. It’s as American as mom and apple pie. The USA has no weak leg. As always, Japan’s weakness is the freestyle leg(but if Mr Nakamura can repeat or better the 48.41 he did off a flat start at the recent Japan Cup that won’t be such a problem) but in the other legs they range from very strong to solid. My big call is for Australia to sneak in for the bronze. There seems to be a lot of negative comments here, particularly about the butterfly leg, but their combined times from the trials are reasonably good and the team is on a definite upward curve.

I don’t see Great Britain winning a medal. Walker-Hebborn and Peaty will give them a good start but it won’t be a killer start because both are likely to have already peaked this season while the butterfly and freestyle swimmers would have to swim well above themselves(I know they have swum out of their skins in relays in the past but they can’t keep doing it) to keep GB in the leading group.


Robbos point taken re men’s 4×200 but I’m still cautious based on mcevoys’s two previous legs at both comm games and pan pacs…


Verram .- The issue is that McEvoy has had the double of the 100 free and then the relay. That’s why he hasn’t been able to put a solid split like his individual 200


2013 Adrian swam a 46.69 in this event. I know USA was DQ but this would still count as his best swim yes?? And not the 46.8 mentioned in the article. Am I right? Still great read though


What makes you say CWH & Peaty would have already peaked, Longstroke?

CWH’s six fastest times of 2014 were set during the summer following nationals – Four at commonwealths and two at Europeans. Also in 2014, Peaty had seven swims after Trials that were faster than the time he swam at nationals, improving from 59.7 to 58.6!

Now, while they may not go much faster (if at all), I think it’s a bit strange that you think the Brits have peaked but not the Aussies or Japanese (who both traditionally swim faster at home than at the ‘big meet’, similarly to Britain).

Barrett would not have to swim “above himself”, he swam 51.8 in 2014, faster than the winning time at Aussie trials and similar to the top Japanese swimmer. Freestyle, same again… Japan 48.4, GB 48.7 (x2).. Furthermore, the British freestyle anchors swam poorly in 2014 (48.5 & 48.4 flying), Proud or Jarvis will not need to swim out of their skin to go faster than that.

Craig Lord

MaxN, you are right but we can’t count times that never make the ranks because they were never official. Worth noting, though, thanks 🙂


Longstroke; completely agree that this is almost always USA’s race to lose …. and when they fail to do so they’ve generally been the prime architects of their own misfortune.

Re AUS; there are sound reasons why many of us don’t rate their chances. Aswim IS correct in saying they risk not qualifying for the final by resting top seeds such is the questionable depth. Whilst Larkin IS on a pleasing upwards track and is not likely to concede massive grounds on the opening back leg and McEvoy should be one of the fastest anchors; the other two legs look problematic.

It has yet to be established whether Sprenger can return to sub minute 100BRS and whilst Packard is tracking that way, this again has yet to be confirmed in the water. Realistically they are looking at a 59mid BRS leg at best which may be conceding 1-1.5sec to the leaders. Sprenger’s quality IS undeniable and a further progression in recovery may see an advance on this leg … but that’s a best case scenario and very much a maybe.

There are sound reasons for the zero confidence in the AUS FLY leg; those based on the factual evidence of both Hadler & D’Orsogna’s international performances.

I certainly see CHN as being potential spoilers in this event; with the qualification that we can never predict how/whether the Chinese perform away from home. The BRS leg looks like potential “Achilles’ heel” for both FRA & JAP.


Could someone please confirm if I’m right in thinking that outside of disqualifications the USA men have never lost a medley relay?


@Longstroke: In Perth (’98) Australia beat the US men in the 4×100 Medley Relay at the World Championships, which was a bit of an anomaly given that they were preparing to host the 2000 Olympics. Other than that, the US has only lost due to DQ’s, which have taken place three times (a large number if you ask me). This is the only swimming event the US hasn’t lost at the Olympics, unless you count a boycott by President Carter in 1980 a loss.

Anybody who is betting the US will be beaten in this event is a bit reckless with their money in my opinion.

Scot swim fan

It will be an extremely close race between the top few countries. They all have a leg in the relay that is slightly weak. However baring in mind Britain have a secret weapon in 18yr old Duncan Scott. He swam 49.1 at the trials. He might be the man Britain are looking for on the backend.


Danjohnrob, thanks for setting the record straight. If a book was run on the outcome of this relay I think the odds on the USA would be very short indeed!


Predicting that Australia will win a medal in the men’s medley relay looks bold but the entire team appears to be on a definite upward curve:

Larkin(low 53) – relatively young and on the way up with a recent record of setting PB’s

Packard(low minute) – relatively young at 20 compared to most elite breastrokers and has improved on his PB at each meet

Hadler(mid 51) – has been around for ages but still only 21 and like the above his time was also a PB

McEvoy(low 48) – word is he wasn’t fully tapered at trials and even then only one swimmer has gone faster this year

Much is made of Australia’s supposed lack of depth but it is one of the few nations that can rest its full A team and still be confident of qualifying for the final given these times off a flat start:

Treffers(high 53)
Sprenger(mid one minute) – will be much faster in Kazan with more training
D’Orsogna(high 51)
Chalmers(high 48)

I can see five or six other nations putting in faster times in the preliminaries but not eight.


Very silly to believe Chris Walker
-Hebborn and Adam Peaty have peaked already this season. I think Walker-Hebborn is ready to medal in Kazan in the individual.

Nobody has ever set a time quite like Peaty’s at this stage in the season so it will be interesting to see how fast he will go. I think he’ll win individual gold in 58 low and possibly split 57.5 in the relay – anything seem possible for Peaty.

At the very least, I think Team GB will split:

Walker-Hebborn: 53.00
Peaty: 58.00
Barrett: 51.00
Proud: 48.5

3:30:00 would certainly win a medal.


Proud 48.50*



Scot; methinks you may be pushing Scott’s barrow just a little early. He MAY be the long-term option but that time, even adjusted to relay flying start, is conceding ground to nigh everyone else.

GB; agree that your front end concedes to nobody and will probably see them in front and half-way. Not as sure of your back end as I was last year. DO agree they’re a sound medal bet.

Longstroke; one helluva lot of assumptions in those comments.

– Larkin. Agree he’s tracking towards the pointy end of the 100 internationally.

– Packard. Whilst he’s tracking towards sub minute; that’s probably another 1-2 progressions away and he may NOT continue to advance. IF he is to do so, this is more likely to come next season. A 59.4 is probably the best case scenario for his leg.

– Hadler has been around the national team since 2010 Comm Games and NOT once has he delivered in intl competition. He has never even made semis in his individual swims at Worlds or Olympics. They swam Targett (who DIDN’T swim the individual event) in both heats and finals of 4xMED in London because both Hadler and Wright were that uncompetitive. He’s never replicated domestic performances in international waters.

– McEvoy. Agree he shouldn’t be an issue.

The reserves you listed.

– Treffers. A 50 specialist who’s never quite made top level over 100.

– Sprenger. You speak of him being “much faster in Kazan with more training”. I would alter that to HOPE he will be much faster and that his shoulder recovery allows that training. No “done deal”

– D’Orsogna’s international record has primarily been that of a heat swimmer for FS relays. His record when promoted to finals last year was questionable. He was selected for 100FLY for 2013 Worlds where he failed to make semis. Swimming 4xMED, he is yet to break 52. He DID earn silver in this relay at 2013 Worlds but it was his leg which conceded 1sec to Metella of FRA which cost victory.

– Chalmers is a senior team rookie. How he will perform = no-one knows

Such a line-up SHOULD qualify through to finals but it’s one of the least “secure” 2nd AUS teams for a long time.


I would never put my money on the Aussie men- and would always put money on the women.
The men never seem to peak on the big stage (Thorpe and Hackett excepted of course).


commonwombat, dee, GBswim – you’ve all made some good points but I’m not making any big assumptions here. Given the many variables and data to choose from I think rather than getting into a knot it’s better to focus on what the swimmer has recently produced along with some basic facts like age and recent trajectory.

I wouldn’t bet my house on it but I think Great Britain will narrowly fail to win a medal. It is excessively reliant on Peaty. Everywhere else I would rather be in Australia’s shoes. In backstroke I would prefer to have in my team an up and comer like Larkin rather than Walker-Hebborn who has been around for a while. As for butterfly, it is more comfortable knowing you can choose whoever is in form out of two swimmers who recently went 51.6 and 51.9 rather than be in Great Britain’s position where the only candidate went 52 high in his last big test and praying that he can reproduce a swim that he did in a relay a year ago. And as for the freestyle leg……



Point-taken. Yes, it is important to consider 2015 times as well as age and previous Championship performances. USA, Australia, Japan, France etc have been getting the job done in the relays for the past decade and I believe that even though GB over the past year have broken back into the top tier of swimming nations, it’s another thing to go out their and perform at the worlds.

I again agree with the fast that Peaty is without a doubt the key leg. If he doesn’t swim fast, GB will struggle to medal – but I think he will swim fast. I believe Walker-Hebborn will hand over in the top 3 at the end of the 1st leg, Peaty will establish a +1.0 over Cordes, Sprenger etc. Barrett will get closed by the other nations on the fly, but as you say looking as recent trajections is important and Barrett’s relay splits from last year don’t lie. If he can produce a -51 again, GB could lead into the final leg.

Proud, although rapidly improving over 100m with GB putting a lot of focus on this youthful team, will hopefully split a 48.5. Ofcourse, this won’t live up to the 47’s and even 46’s from Adrian, McEvoy, Ning and Gilot, but I think it will be enough to hold on for a medal. Anything can happen in the relays!


Point taken*, there*, fact*, of course*

I have just woken up – poor proof reading. Apologies!

Youthful men’s 4x100m medley relay team*

Walker-Hebborn – 25
Peaty – 20
Barrett – 22
Proud – 20

Steve Levy

The wonderful thing about relays is that on paper no one expects US Women’s 4 X 100 FR, 1976. Yet grit happens…

Viva la Bang

Relays are all about coming together as a team, on the day, great team spirit and change overs are critical.

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