2022 Short Course Worlds Picks and Previews: Mixed Relays


Mixed 4x50m Freestyle

The 2021 medalists in this event were Canada with the gold medal, the Netherlands silver, and Russia with bronze. This year, the Russians can’t compete, and both Canada and the Netherlands are missing key legs of their relays. Therefore, expect the entire podium to get reshuffled in Melbourne.

In Budapest, the Australians set a world record in the 4×100 mixed freestyle relay, swimming 3:19.38. While they might not challenge the U.S.’s world record of 1:27.89 here, the home team is quite well-positioned heading into this race. Not only do they have Kyle Chalmers, but they also have perhaps the best back half in the field with Emma McKeon and Meg Harris.

Swimmer Lifetime Best
Kyle Chalmers 20.68
Grayson Bell 21.36
Emma McKeon 23.50
Meg Harris 23.84
Total 1:29.38

However, they do not have the fastest add-up in the field. That belongs to the French, who finished sixth in 2021 with a 1:30.06. Their add-up time is much faster than that, with a 1:28.56. While that’s largely thanks to Florent Manadou‘s 2014 world record of20.26, even if he doesn’t quite hit that, the French could still very well challenge for the podium. Not only do they have the quickly rising Maxime Grousset to pair on the front half with Manadou, but they also have Beryl Gastaldello and Melanie Henique to bring the speed on the back half.

Swimmer Lifetime Best
Florent Manadou 20.26
Maxime Grousset 21.03
Beryl Gastaldello 23.66
Charlotte Bonnet 23.61
Total 1:28.56

So, how do the Americans fit into this picture? With a lineup of Michael Andrew, David Curtiss, Claire Curzanand Erika Brown, their add-up time come to 1:30.51, well off the pace of the Australians and the French. However, Curtiss doesn’t have a registered SCM swim in the 50 freestyle on FINA’s website, so we used his LCM best, which is a 21.76. That’s making the U.S.’s time artificially high, so expect them to be faster than that. They also have the option of using Torri Huske on this relay, likely in place of Brown.

In 2021, the Italians finished fifth in 1:30.04, just over a second slower than the fourth-place Americans. They’ll likely reload with the same quartet of Lorenzo Zazzeri, Alessandro Miressi, Silvia Di Pietro, and Costanza Cocconcelli. They’re add-up totals to 1:30.37, but they showed last year they’re capable of being faster than that–expect them to be flirting with the 1:30 barrier again.

As for the 2021 gold medalist Canadians, though we don’t expect them to repeat as the champions, that doesn’t totally mean that they’re out of the hunt. They’ve lost two valuable relay legs, as Josh Liendo is absent from the roster and Kayla Sanchez now represents the Phillippines. However, they still have firepower with Maggie MacNeil, and Taylor Ruck not only has a 24.08 lifetime best, but has been having a strong year so far. Yuri Kisil returns, and they’ll likely round the squad out with Ruslan GazievThose four have an add-up time of 1:31.51, so while on paper they seem out of the medal picutre, they should still be in the middle of the pack in the final.


1 Australia 1:29.38
2 France 1:28.77 6th
3 United States 1:30.51 4th
4 Italy 1:30.37 5th
5 Canada 1:31.31 1st

Mixed 4x50m Medley Relay

It’s a different story in the mixed medley relay, where all three medalists–the Netherlands, United States, and Italy–all return in Melbourne. For the defending gold medalists, the lineup will look very different and instead of fighting to defend gold, they’ll be fighting to stay on the podium.

They’ll be without Arno Kamminga and Ranomi Kromowidjojo, which are two losses that sting. Caspar Corbeau should slot in for Kamminga, along with a lifetime best of 26.15. Without Kromowidjojo, they’ll likely turn to Valerie Van Roon for the freestyle leg. The other outstanding question for the Dutch is Kira Toussaint.

Normally, we’d project her to take over backstroke duties for this relay, but her form is a question mark because of the hand injury she sustained this fall. She’s slated to compete, but we don’t know how she’ll fare over the course of the meet, which means that the Dutch might opt to use Maaike de Waard instead. With Toussaint at her best, their add-up is a 1:37.94, and with de Waard, it’s a 1:38.11. Both add-ups put them about middle of the pack.

It’s the U.S. who looks to be the favorite for gold. Their lineup projects to be Ryan Murphy, Nic Fink, Torri Huske, and Claire Curzanwhich is a strong quartet. Depending on how they’re swimming, it’s possible that they could swap Huske and Curzan. Something else to keep in mind is that with the updated lineup thanks to Rhyan White withdrawing from the meet, Curzan has an especially busy schedule. She proved in Budapest that she could handle a heavy workload, but it’s still something to keep an eye on.

Swimmer Lifetime Best
Back Ryan Murphy 22.53
Breast Nic Fink 25.53
Fly Torri Huske 24.88
Free Claire Curzan 23.80
Total 1:36.74

Even without their usual butterflier Elena Di Liddo, the Italians should be right in the thick of the medal race. They retain three of the four legs that won them the bronze medal last year in Lorenzo Mora, Nicolo Martinenghi, and Silvia Di Pietro. They usually use Di Pietro on free, but without Di Liddo, they’ll likely move her to butterfly and stick Costanza Cocconcelli on freestyle.

Swimmer Lifetime Best
Back Lorenzo Mora 22.90
Breast Nicolo Martinenghi 25.37
Fly Silvia Di Pietro 25.03
Free Constanza Cocconcelli 24.45
Total 1:37.75

Australia has a plethora of options for their relay, but their best bet at a medal should come from going with Kaylee McKeown, Grayson Bell, Emma McKeonand Kyle Chalmers, in that order. That adds up to a 1:38.07, which is slightly faster than if they put Chalmers on fly and McKeon on free–1:38.07 to 1:38.19.

The one danger here is that they’ll be one of the few teams we project will use a female backstroker (the other main contender being Great Britain). By doing that, they’ll surrender clean water for certainly their breaststroker and likely thier butterflier as well. That isn’t ideal, but putting Isaac Cooper on backstroke instead of McKeown means they can’t use Chalmers, which hurts them more.

In Great Britain’s case, they don’t have a female butterflier, which forces them to put Medi Harris on backstroke duties. Ben Proud has scratched the 50 fly on day 1 of the meet, which could point to him not being on this relay. If that happens, they have a solid plan B with Lewis BurrasAs for breaststroke, expect them to turn to Adam Peaty, with Anna Hopkin anchoring. With Ben Proud, they’re time adds up to 1:39.16, which puts them on the outside of the medal picture, but not without an outside chance of sneaking in.

They’re a threat in the mixed freestyle relay and the French also project to be a threat in the medley relay. They project to line up the squad of Mewen Tomac, Antoine Viquerat, Beryl Gastaldello, and Melanie Henique in an attempt to move up from last year’s sixth place finish. With an add-up of 1:38.29, they look in a strong position to do just that.


1 United States 1:36.74 Silver
2 Italy 1:37.75 Bronze
3 Australia 1:38.07
4 France 1:38.29 6th
5 Netherlands 1:38.11 Gold

See all of our medal predictions at the SwimSwam Preview Index here.

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5 months ago

Williamson (26.27) has a faster PB than Bell (26.45). Also possible Mollie could get the lead off if she impresses in the 100 back on day one.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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