2017 Worlds Previews: USA vs. GBR in Men’s 800 Free Relay

You can find links to all of our event-by-event previews and a compilation of our predicted medal-winners here.

2017 FINA World Championships

We’re just one day away from the 2017 FINA World Championships, and the battle between the USA and Great Britain in the 800 free relay is one of the most anticipated relay races of the meet. Great Britain has 2 men ranked in the world top 10 this year with James Guy (1:45.55) and Duncan Scott (1:45.80), but the USA has 3 ranked in the top 10 with Townley Haas (1:45.03), Blake Pieroni (1:46.30), and Zane Grothe (1:46.39). The Americans appear to have the depth to get by Great Britain here, as Clark Smith (1:47.10), Olympic medalist Conor Dwyer (1:47.25), and Caeleb Dressel (1:47.45) will likely battle it out for the 4th spot. The British have Calum Jarvis (1:47.02) and Nicholas Grainger (1:47.28) on their roster as relay members, but Max Litchfield (1:47.48) and Stephen Milne (1:47.56) could also fill in.

Japan seems to be one of the strongest contenders for bronze behind the U.S. and Great Britain. They have 4 men who have been in the 1:47-range this season with Naito Ehara (1:47.02), Kosuke Hagino (1:47.10), Katsuhiro Matsumoto (1:47.59), and Daiya Seto (1:47.76). Though he’s been off his best quite a bit this season, Yuki Kobori (1:48.92) returns after swimming the final of this relay in Rio. China’s Sun Yang (1:44.91) and Wang Shun (1:46.57) should put their squad in the running for a medal to challenge Japan, but Ma Tianchi (1:48.10) and Qian Zhi Yong (1:48.83) will need to step it up to make that happen.

Mack Horton (Photo: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd)

Without Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Kyle Chalmers, the Australians will have a harder time competing for a spot on the podium, but they’re likely to make a finals appearance with Mack Horton (1:46.83) and Jack Cartwright (1:47.31) leading the way. Their 3rd and 4th men are most likely Alexander Graham (1:47.39) and Daniel Smith (1:47.57). Russia will also be in contention for that 3rd spot, led by Mikhail Dovgalyuk (1:46.89) and Mikhail Vekovishchev (1:47.01). Veteran freestylers Nikita Lobintsev (1:47.81) and Danila Izotov (1:47.16) are on the Russian roster, as is Rio Olympic relay member Alexander Krasnykh (1:47.12).

The Germans look to return to the championship final after placing 6th in Rio. Between Poul Zellman (1:47.10), Clemens Rapp (1:47.70), Philip Heintz (1:47.93), and Jacob Heidtmann (1:48.22), they’re definitely in good shape to make the top 8. Gabriele Detti (1:46.38) and Filippo Megli (1:47.38) could lead Italy into the top 8 as well if Filippo Magnini (1:48.32) and Luca Dotto (1:48.37) can drop significantly from their season bests.

Hungary’s Nandor Nemeth (1:47.14), Dominik Kozma (1:48.21), Peter Bernek (1:48.54), and Kristof Milak (1:48.82) will compete for a finals spot in front of the home crowd. Milak was on fire at last month’s European Junior Championships. If he shows as much improvement in his 200 free here as he did in his butterfly at Juniors, that’ll go a long way for the home team.


Place Team Predicted Time
1 USA 7:02.4
2 GBR 7:02.9
3 RUS 7:05.8
4 CHN 7:06.0
5 JPN 7:06.8
6 AUS 7:07.5
7 ITA 7:09.5
8 GER 7:10.2

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6 years ago

I’m an American and honestly I’m kinda sick of the US winning almost every relay. I hope the British pull an upset and make a rivalry out of the 4×200

6 years ago

That’s actually a close race between team USA and team GB, Conor Dwyer is not in form like he did in Rio, if he pulls off 1:45 high /1:46 low, he did his job, Pieroni and Grothe just needs to swim a sub 1:46, and haas with 1:44 mid, but just not sure the coaches tried Jack Conger in Training camp( he swam 1:45 mid in olympics trial and prelims last year) ,if he is in form, we could see him in prelims!

6 years ago

Ji Xinjie of China has a 1’47″98 this spring. Their problem is whether they can final without Sun Yang swimming prelim.

6 years ago

probably the best relay in terms of suspense …..

6 years ago

This, more than the medley relay, is where I think Britain have a genuine shot of taking the US down.

7.04.82 – US combined time
7.05.65 – GB combined time

Now, Dwyer was off his best at US Nats. But, should Jarvis & Milne improve to their PB times too, Britain suddenly have a 3 & 4 who have 1.46.5 & 1.46.7 flat-starts. Nick Grainger is due a drop, we’ll see if it comes. Bias aside, I genuinely can not split this race right now. Due to history, I’ll give US the touch.

1. USA – 7.02.5
2. GBR – 7.02.5
3. RUS – 7.04.9

6 years ago

Australia are not entered in this relay.

Entered teams:
USA – T. Haas, B. Pieroni, Z. Grothe, C. Smith
1:45.03, 1:46.30, 1:46.39, 1:47.10 – 7:04.82
GBR – J. Guy, D. Scott, C. Jarvis, N. Grainger
1:45.55, 1:45.80, 1:47.02, 1:47.28 – 7:05.65
RUS – M. Dovgalyuk, M. Vekovishchev, A. Krasnykh, D. Izotov
1:46.89, 1:47.01, 1:47.12, 1:47.16 – 7:08.18
CHN – Y. Sun, S. Wang, T. Ma, Z. Qian
1:44.91, 1:46.57, 1:48.10, 1:48.83 – 7:08.41
JPN – N. Ehara, K. Hagino, K. Matsumoto, D. Seto
1:47.02, 1:47.10, 1:47.59, 1:47.76 – 7:09.47
ITA – G. Detti, F. Megli, M. D’Arrigo, F. Magnini
1:46.38, 1:47.38, 1:47.52, 1:48.32 – 7:09.60
POL –… Read more »

Reply to  Iain
6 years ago

Actually AUS ARE entered in this relay (lane5 of Heat 1). Their collective times (Horton 1.46.83, Graham 1.47.39, Cartwright 1.47.57, McEvoy 1.47.60) =7.09.39. Realistically, they aren’t contenders

lucky luke
6 years ago

Impossible to see McEvoy swimming it ? why did he not take part in Rio 4×200 (even not during heats) ?

Reply to  lucky luke
6 years ago

Reported to sick or couldn’t shake off his nerves at Rio.

Reply to  Zanna
6 years ago

* be sick

lucky luke
Reply to  Zanna
6 years ago

ok thanks, so he could swim that one if healthy, no ?

6 years ago

This may be unpopular to say but I bet the race isn’t that close with the US winning handily

Reply to  JUST SAYIN
6 years ago

Explain how? Who’s going to destroy guy and Scott to win handily???
Logic ?

Reply to  Skoorbnagol
6 years ago

Two people Dwyer and Haas who are nearly at 1:44 along with another lesson who’s been a 1:45 and a 1:46 low swimmer. USA has this easily

samuel huntington
Reply to  Uberfan
6 years ago

Dwyer this year is not near 1:44

Reply to  Uberfan
6 years ago

Do you see Dwyer dropping 2 seconds in a month? It’d be… strange if any athlete managed that. I say he’ll be 1.46mid.

Reply to  JUST SAYIN
6 years ago

Not unpopular, just fairly illogical. May happen, may not – But nobody can call this an educated prediction haha

Reply to  JUST SAYIN
6 years ago

I see the brits winning by quiet a bit they have 2 men in 1:45 range while the us only have townley and jarvis is a very bad in-season swimmer and he still went 1.47:00. Plus guy always steps his game up for this relay so yea brits then us then russia

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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