Americans DQed For Swimming Out Of Order, Brazil Bumped To Relay Gold


The American quartet of Caeleb DresselBlake PieroniZach Apple and Nathan Adrian had combined to win gold in the men’s 400 free relay in a new meet record of 3:11.67 at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, but shortly after the relay they were disqualified for swimming out of order.

Sources tell SwimSwam that the swimmers were told the wrong order by the coaches.

The CBDA account on Twitter also announced the news of the Brazilians being bumped up to gold, and the results are now official. It looks as though Apple swam second and Pieroni third when they were supposed to go the other way around. Prior to the DQ, they had broken the 2010 meet record held by the U.S. at 3:11.74.

Brazil gets bumped up to gold with their swim of 3:12.02, led by a scintillating anchor leg from Pedro Spajari (46.94) that was the fastest in the final (even including the American splits). Adrian had narrowly held off the Brazilian with a 47.27 anchor leg of his own.

Prior to being disqualified, the American splits were:

  • Dressel – 48.76
  • Apple – 47.92
  • Pieroni – 47.72
  • Adrian – 47.27

The Australians move up from bronze to silver in 3:12.53, and thought to be .01 off of a medal, the Japanese men get bumped to bronze after setting a new Asian Record in 3:12.54.

This same situation happened fairly recently at the 2016 Short Course World Championships in Windsor, where the Canadian women swam the wrong order in the 400 free relay final and were disqualified after initially winning the silver medal.

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5 years ago

I don’t understand Ray Looze seemingly making light of this mistake on national tv (on the NBC broadcast). He eventually did manage to admit that the mistake was not the swimmers’ and that there was “miscommunication” among the swimming staff. But making jokes during the interview and seemingly making light of the situation didn’t seem the behavior of a good leader. Was PanPacs not that important of a meet? I get that there was nothing he could do about it at that point but be professional!

Kurt Vander Bogart
5 years ago

What a bonehead move.

Reply to  Kurt Vander Bogart
5 years ago

I coached swimming for thirty years. This is an egregious error, period. Don’t tell me “the sun will come up tomorrow.” Looze’s smarmy interview was b@@@s##t. How easy is it to tell the swimmers the order of their relay? According to many of the commenters, it must be quite difficult, indeed. “it’s only the Pan Pacs” agument is ridiculous as well. This is an international meet, for God’s sake! Not one of these “coaches” should ever have another freebie coaching assignment like this. Send them back to summer league.

5 years ago

NBC announcers put it on the swimmers. Said that they were told the correct order. Looze took the responsibility in his interview. Good to see from him.

Reply to  Seeger33
5 years ago

Hard to believe at least 3 of the swimmers heard the exact same wrong order. If only one or two they would be discussing it and probably seek quick advice from coach as the the 2nd guy was getting in place at the latest.

Reply to  Seeger33
5 years ago

What are you talking about? NBC did not put it on the swimmers and Looze accepted no responsibility in the interview you are referring to. The swimmers were not told the correct order (4 guys all got it wrong eh?).

5 years ago

Who on the American team has stepped up and taken responsibility for the mistake? The swimmers? the coaches? Whoever blew it needs to step up and take the heat for the mistake. Then make sure it doesn’t happen again and move on.

5 years ago

James, do you have data about 46 relay swimmers?

5 years ago

They were actually DQed because the relay card showed Dean Farris swimming all four spots. Smart strategy, poor execution.

5 years ago

That happened to me at regionals my senior year. We were first, but the assistant coach wrote down the wrong order because they switched first and last at the last minute. We were DQ’d and I never made it to States.

SumTing Wong
5 years ago

This & the comments have a parallel not far away .
1st leg : Ship sails from West coast with $20 million cargo of soy beans heading for China ..Politics at play in DC
2nd leg : Trump puts Tarriffsvon Chinese goods . Ship still happily making its way across Pacific .
3rd leg: China puts tariffs on US soybeans . Ship still sailing gaining confidence .
4th leg: Master mariner makes desperate push to beat the start date of tariffs . Chinese social media starts tracking it’s journey & excitedly commenting .Will it make it in time . The comments are split ,some want it to make it & others hope it fails ..
… Read more »

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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