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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3 years ago

Urgh yeah this could be an awesome race. I’m confident Guy can improve on his time from earlier this year, and I’d love to see Scott do the same. At the end of the day though the US are incredibly stacked in this event. Hope whatever happens it keeps us guessing until the final 50 though!

Reply to  BKSTRK
3 years ago

probably the best relay in terms of suspense …..

3 years ago

Wow… Japan is going to break the wr by almost 3 minutes!

Reply to  Swimmer?
3 years ago

I see they fixed it. It was at 4:06

Lauren Neidigh
Reply to  Swimmer?
3 years ago

We have to crank out a lot of these, guys. Apologies for the typo. It’s been corrected.

3 years ago

The duo of Guy and Scott are about even with Haas/Pieroni, perhaps slightly better. But Dwyer will likely be 1:46 low split and Grothe could be 1:45 high. I don’t think GBR’s 3 and 4 swimmers will be able to keep it close in the end. US wins by 1-1.5 seconds.

Reply to  Pvdh
3 years ago

I am actually thinking the opposite – I think Britain look more consistent, US look to rely on Haas. He goes big, they win – If he’s undercooked in the slightest, US will lose imo. Scott, Guy & Milne are proven to deliver. Jarvis is unpredictable, but as good as Grothe/Pieroni on his day (1.46.5). Litchfield lacks the speed, but is consistent (1.47.5) and Grainger has a lot of scope in the 6ft7 frame (1.47.1).

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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