American Women Destroy Pan Ams Record in 400 Medley Relay in Prelims

The American quartet of Natalie CoughlinKatie MeiliKelsi Worrell, and Allison Schmitt was the first 400 medley relay at a Pan Am Games to break 4:00, and they did so by a long shot, putting up a time of 3:57.35 to take the top seed going into finals by nearly five seconds over Canada.


Coughlin 59.20
Meili 1:06.57
Worrell 57.63
Schmitt 53.95

Coughlin was the most impressive split on this relay, leading off in a new Pan Ams record that ranks her #4 in the world this year. On paper, this relay looked to have been faster with 100 back silver medalist Olivia Smoliga leading off and Coughlin anchoring. Coughlin’s 100 back couldn’t have been predicted 100%, but the U.S. coaches decided to move Coughlin to back and call in Allison Schmitt to anchor, and this move worked out pretty darn well for the Americans.

Their time of 3:57.35 was well under the old record, set in 2011 by Rachel BootsmaAnnie GreversClaire Donahue, and Amanda Kendall at 4:01.00.

In finals, Canada will likely be a bit closer to the American contingent, however the middle legs for the U.S. can go faster than what they went this morning. Meili went a 1:05.64 in the 100 breast prelims, nearly a second faster than her split this morning. Worrell, too, was faster in the 100 fly prelims, going 57.24. These were huge new personal bests for Meili and Worrell, who are shaping up to be two of the U.S.’s next big stars. No American has been under 1:06 in the breaststroke since Jessica Hardy won bronze at the 2013 World Championships. Since Dana Vollmer‘s hiatus, Worrell has been the fastest 100 butterflier for the U.S.

Those two were paired with veterans Coughlin and Schmitt for a seriously impressive relay that is looking as though it could be faster than the American relay at Worlds, especially if Meili and Worrell can match or better their best times from earlier in the meet.

In This Story


  1. Danjohnrob says:

    Perhaps the 4×100 free relay is still Coughlin’s best chance to make the US Olympic Team in ’16, but this result shows us that the 100 back is still her best individual event and best chance to swim an individual race in Rio. I will be crossing my fingers that she can get back under 59 in time for her OT race. Go Natalie!

    • Mitch Bowmile says:

      It will be interesting to see where the rest of the Americans are after worlds. As of now, she definitely has a shot in the 100 free, 100 back, and 4×100 free relay. 4×100 MR as a prelim-only swimmer as well.

    • commonwombat says:

      Certainly nobody has “nailed down” the 2nd 100back spot over the past few years and this time certainly throws her well into the mix. The issue will be her capacity to back-up one great swim with one of at least similar quality.

  2. bad anon says:

    What were Coughlin’s splits?

  3. bad anon says:

    if Missy is having s great 100free next summer I are Coughlin leading off the medley relay and touching out Seebohm and Nielsen and Franklin anchoring in s 52low to mid

    • KP says:

      I don’t think Missy will be faster than Simone for the freestyle leg. Maybe Natalie will give Missy a run for the money on the backstroke leg! Missy ‘d better get crackin’!!!!!!!!

  4. Michael says:

    Will there be any video?

  5. E GAMBLE says:

    BAD ANON, did you forget about Simone Manuel? I don’t see Missy beating Simone in the 100 free and taking her spot.

    • commonwombat says:

      Precisely “where” either Franklin (in back or free) or Manuel truly stand at this point in time is a major question. Franklin’s record is such that she has to be respected and it’s a very fair expectation that on backstroke at least; she’s going to be ‘around the money’. Over 200, she still probably has a “quality gap” over her international competition. Over 100, it’s easy to say that Seebohm’s victories at PP were only due to Franklin’s injuries but it has to be acknowledged that over the past year Seebohm has been sub59 on a number of occasions and that the status-quo is probably ‘even money’.

      For all the hype, Manuel has only been sub 53.5 ONCE !! When she’s consistently 53.low to 53flat, let alone breaking 53sec; then it’s realistic to contemplate wonder relay splits. This may come this year, possibly next year ….. maybe they won’t. She may be the answer to USA’s sprint FS issue but the operative word is maybe; she hasn’t the “runs on the board” at this stage.

  6. E GAMBLE says:

    COMMONWOMBAT, for all the hype? I was just stating a fact. Simone Manuel is the fastest SC and LCM sprinter in the US at 18 year old. Actually, based on this years NCAA alone, she has lived up to the hype (46.0 flat start 45.45 relay SC). She has time for LCM improvements. Besides, in 2020 she will only be 23.

    • commonwombat says:

      My comment re Manuel & hype was not specifically pointed at you but rather at a number of commentators here (and on other sites) who are already having her crowned as the next “wonder of the world”. She may indeed eventually prove to be so but that has yet to be established.

      Sadly there IS no way of truly quantifying SCY performances in “real world” (ie LCM) terms. Some are great in both pools; some NCAA stars never “do the business” in the big pool; some never care to attempt to. The world outside DOESN’T disregard NCAA but they have no real measuring stick therefore the attitude is rather one of taking note of the names and (if they haven’t already a LCM pedigree) then seeing whether they can replicate it LCM.

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About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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