2018 W. NCAAs: Mallory Comerford Drops Fastest 800 FR Split in History


Though her team took 6th place in the event Wednesday night, University of Louisville junior Mallory Comerford threw down the fastest 200 free split in 800 free relay history (to our knowledge).

Comerford swam second on her relay, and her time of 1:39.14 appears to be the first relay split ever under 1:40, though Katie Ledecky would anchor her relay shortly after in 1:39.87.

Before Wednesday, Missy Franklin held the fastest relay split with her 1:40.05 from the 2015 NCAA Championships. However, it’s worth noting that in 2015, the 800 free relay was on the second night of competition, with the individual 200 free coming beforehand on the same day (in this case, Franklin had already gone 1:39.10 individually).

The clear difference between Comerford and Franklin’s strategies lies in their 2nd 100 — Comerford was actually 48.80 in her first 100, while Franklin was 47.61. However, in her second 100, Comerford was 50.74 while Franklin was 52.44. Check out their full relay splits below:

Mallory Comerford (2018 NCAAs) 22.95 25.45 25.33 25.41 1:39.14
Missy Franklin (2015 NCAAs) 22.52 25.09 26.05 26.39 1:40.05

Comerford will swim the individual race Friday; she is the reigning co-champion after tying Katie Ledecky last year in 1:40.36. Because of the relay start, it’s hard to predict just how close she might be to Franklin’s individual American record. It’s a little fairer to compare if we subtract both swimmers’ reaction times: that would yield a 1:38.93 from Comerford’s relay split, compared to a 1:38.33 from Franklin’s individual swim. From this, we might expect Comerford to be within half a second or so of Franklin’s record on Friday.

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Crazy to think Missy was faster flat-start…at a time when nobody else was under 1:42


Simone Manuel was a 1:41.45 in that heat when Franklin went the 1:39.1. But you are right she was still incredibly faster than everyone else.


Actually, Megan Romano went a 1:41.21 at 2012 NCAA’s. However, Missy dropped to 1:39.1 skipping over 1:40 entirely in her last collegiate race.


Neither part of that last sentence is true. She went 1:40 when she set the 200 free record the year before in 2014, and she also had 800 free relay later that session and the 200 back & 400 free relay the next day.


Skipping over her 1:41.92 seed time..not best time. Also, your second sentence had no relevance to this 😉


It had relevance to your comment. It wasn’t her last collegiate race.


“Fastest relay split” is usually a qualifier for a time faster than a flat start. It implies a rolling relay start was used and is therefor artificially fast. I’m confused why this matters when it’s slower than the current fastest flat start.

Hey AquaTiger- It matters because it was a really fast swim and no one has been that fast on an 800 free relay split before. “Fastest relay split” refers to what it says. The fastest relay split.


I still think it’s pointless. We are celebrating slower than flat start times, just because they were done on a relay? That makes absolutely no sense. I’m not arguing that she’s quick, but let’s be honest about what we mean when we say “relay start”. We basically mean “add about 0.7 seconds and compare it to the flat start”. And we still have a flat start faster.

Can anyone name any other relay start that is slower than a flat start? Does it exist? I think that would be way more interesting because that would be rare.

Aside from Missy Franklin, no one has ever broken 1:40. Mallory Comerford is someone who may be able to break that barrier here. Her swim was significant as the fastest relay split ever and an indicator that we might see a special swim from her later on. We report every time someone swims the fastest split ever done on a relay. This isn’t an exception. Whether or not people want to celebrate it is another thing… But it was fast and newsworthy.


It’s their website. They can celebrate whatever they want


Men’s 100 Freestyle

NCAA, American, U.S. Open Record is Dressel at 40.00

I’m not 100% on the fastest Men’s 100 Free Relay Split ever, but I’m sure there’s never been a 39.xx split, so that’s another example.

Also in the Men’s 200 Free, the fastest relay split and flat start time are within ~.3 of each other.


It’s not uncommon for Dressel to be slower on relay starts than with flat starts. Even when he’s faster, it’s rarely by much. His fastest medley relay fly split this summer was 49.7, iirc, and then he went 49.8 flat start. He’s gone a slew of 17.9s on SCY 200 free relay, which is only 0.3s faster than his best, and one (maybe two) 17.7s, which is decent with a relay start, though still not what one might expect. On Florida’s medley last spring at NCAAs he was 44mid, then hopped up a bit later and busted out a 43.5. Don’t get me wrong, fast is fast, but that’s a bit underwhelming when you look at how Jack Conger seems… Read more »


It shows she has the fastest time ever recorded during an 800 free relay. A true team player

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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