The United States’ women’s 800 free relay long-term, if they can put together a fit foursome for the 2016 Olympics, has their eyes on a World Record.
As just a test of how good they are, even without the Olympic Champion Allison Schmitt on the team and even with an ailing Missy Franklin, the group of Shannon Vreeland, Franklin, Leah Smith, and Katie Ledecky crushed the Pan Pacs record on Friday evening in Southport, swimming a 7:46.40. That beat the 2010 record of 7:51.21 done by the American winners in Irvine at the last Pan Pac Championship meet, and also broke the Australian All-Comers Record of 7:50.09, done by the Americans again at the 2007 World Championships.
A split comparison between the new Pan Pacs and old Pan Pacs records. This comparison is very telling because the 2010 record showed where Team USA was in the runup to London, where they won the 800 free relay easily, and so we can translate that to how much further ahead of even their own pace they are in 2014:
|2010 Relay||2014 Relay|
|Dana Vollmer – 1:58.05||Shannon Vreeland – 1:57.89|
|Morgan Scroggy – 1:57.89||Missy Franklin – 1:56.12|
|Katie Hoff – 1:58.60||Leah Smith – 1:58.03|
|Allison Schmitt – 1:56.57||Katie Ledecky – 1:54.36|
|TOTAL: 7:51.21||TOTAL: 7:46.40|
Ledecky’s anchor was the most impressive split. In the individual 200 free, she was just so-so, swimming slower than she did at Nationals, but that was the front-half of a double. Here on the 800 free relay, she really let-fly a fantastic anchor split.
The emergence of Leah Smith at this meet is also exciting, as it means that for now, three of the four swimmers on this relay are teenagers (Franklin – 19, Smith – 19, Ledekcy – 17), along with Vreeland, who has suddenly made herself a mainstay for the Americans.
If Schmitt comes back full-force to qualify for the Olympic Team in 2016, this relay becomes stronger, but even if she doesn’t, there’s still a foursome somewhere in the U.S. that can challenge the 7:42.08 World Record.