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

2018 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS

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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Philip
2 years ago

Bone headed mistake, but rules are rules. Rather it happen here than at Worlds or the Olympics. It is pretty dumb though. It reminds me of the Aussie women in 2001 that were DQ’d for jumping in the pool to celebrate while another team was still finishing the race.

Eagleswim
2 years ago

Wowww how embarrassing…

tm71
2 years ago

The coaches have totally screwed up these relays at this meet! How can they tell the swimmers the wrong order ? If that is indeed the case it is so amateur and the responsible need to be fired!

STRK
Reply to  tm71
2 years ago

Relax, man.

Swimming4silver
Reply to  STRK
2 years ago

yea, its just the PanPacs… relax

Paul
Reply to  tm71
2 years ago

It’s PanPacs, not Worlds or Olympics. Relax.

Beach bum jason
Reply to  Paul
2 years ago

Whatever meet it is the swimmers trained and worked hard and had sacfrices to get there and they shouldn’t have those things go to waste because of stupid mistakes.

Bigly
Reply to  Beach bum jason
2 years ago

Unless they, themselves, made the mistake. But let’s just jump on the assumption it was the coaches’ fault.

Coacheycoach
Reply to  Bigly
2 years ago

They can’t make the mistake, orders are entered and communicated by the head coach.

Cate
Reply to  Paul
2 years ago

The coaches are professionals. It doesn’t matter where it happens.

One milliliter more
Reply to  Cate
2 years ago

Overheard on deck at PanPacs; Coach who is swimming the 1st leg on the relay? That ‘s right. Who is? Yes, why are you asking? I want to know the name of the guy who is swimming first? Who. The first leg? Who is swimming the first leg! All I want to know is what is the name of the guy swimming the first leg on the relay? What is swimming second; who is swimming first. Let’ say the meet referee asks me who is swimming the first leg of the relay and I say I don’t know. No , who is swimming first, I don’t know is swimming third. The original is Timeless.

One milliliter more
Reply to  One milliliter more
2 years ago
Tyler K.
Reply to  One milliliter more
2 years ago

this was the best swim swam comment I have ever read

SwimCoachDad
Reply to  One milliliter more
2 years ago

Thanks ONE MILLILITER MORE. That was the funniest comment I’ve read on SwimSwam.

samuel huntington
Reply to  Paul
2 years ago

it’s the premier international meet of the year for the US, it’s a big deal

Ladooby
Reply to  tm71
2 years ago

Chill, things happen. Have you never made a mistake and never will in the future? And if you say you would never make a mistake so big then you have some serious soul searching to do. EVERYONE makes mistakes

Tom
Reply to  Ladooby
2 years ago

Sorry but mistake like this could happen at age group meet when young kids mix the order, not at major international meet with all adult crew. Coached MUST let the swimmers know the right order, you hold the relay card in your hand and communicate relay order to swimmers while looking at the relay card. it is just that simple….Someone who is not taking his/her responsibilities seriously should not he there

Boomcobson
Reply to  Ladooby
2 years ago

Things happen for 8 under boys relays lol this should not happen at this level it’s embarrassing

Cate
Reply to  Ladooby
2 years ago

Give me a break. Not this stupid at this level. If you are so blasé about this type of mistake at this level that affects other people perhaps you need to do some soul searching yourself. These are elite professional coaches handling elite athletes. It’s going to be a long flight home.

Jim C
Reply to  Ladooby
2 years ago

Apparently only 11 out of 60 people ever make mistakes. That is about 18%. We are fortunate to live in a world where only 18% of the people ever make mistakes.

Coacheycoach
Reply to  Ladooby
2 years ago

This is not a mistake in the sense..I’m sorry I missed that. The job of the head coach is to ensure that everything is in order, that relay cards are filed and communicated. This is a gross negligent error.

Brian
Reply to  tm71
2 years ago

It is because they were too busy watching the Safe Sport videos!

Manifolds
Reply to  tm71
2 years ago

It is highly likely the coaching staff noticed their mistake from the moment Caeleb was approaching the 75 meter mark and Zach was on the blocks readying for the exchange – the coaching staff stopped cheering at that moment… It all makes sense now as to why the coaching staff were not cheering them on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUa1gSqb5p0 Notice the sudden change of the cheering area of the USA Team at approximately the 4:43 mark of the video. it is an apparent unfortunate mistake. Most mistakes in coaching are made when exhausted – they all need a power nap!

Pat
Reply to  Manifolds
2 years ago

Good observation. Their reaction is not indicative of what was happening in the race. They must have realized their mistake.

Cate
Reply to  Manifolds
2 years ago

You’re right now that I looked at your link. I didn’t see it at Dressel’s 75 meter mark, but saw it when Zach was in the water. They were just standing there.

Coacheycoach
Reply to  Cate
2 years ago

Yes, but the character flaw of the head coach is inexcusable. To let the relay team take the metals hoping nobody noticed is a serious issue. I’d they knew and stopped cheering, but still allowed the athletes to take the podium…is a violation of USA swim standards.

ct swim fan
Reply to  Coacheycoach
2 years ago

My first thought was how they were awarded the medals without this being noticed. Not a good look for the coaching staff.

Karen Reeder
Reply to  Coacheycoach
2 years ago

I am not sure that I agree. Certainly the coaches were at fault for the incorrect order. But, as coaches we see kids DQ frequently for various offenses and the officials don’t catch it. Are we required to notify them? I always tell my swimmers when they make an error, of course, and tell them they got lucky that the official didn’t’ see it. I am not sure there is a violation of swim standards here, unless the coaches are required to tell the officials about the mistake. The FINA officials are at some fault for not making the DQ official before the medals are awarded.

Swimmer A
Reply to  tm71
2 years ago

I think firing may be a little extreme. But it’s definitely something to learn from.

NW Coach
Reply to  Swimmer A
2 years ago

Firing is not the right word, just shouldn’t be chosen to be on a staff again. This is inexcusable at the International level. NCAA assistants would lose their jobs if this were to happen at NCAAs and cost a team a championship. People need to stop saying this is not a big deal, it’s a huge deal and a total embarssment.

Jim C
Reply to  NW Coach
2 years ago

This is not as bad as the DQ that cost the Stanford women an NCAA Championship in 2016. Things happen. Should Stanford have fired their coach?

ct swim fan
Reply to  Swimmer A
2 years ago

The dishonesty of allowing the kids to take the medals is worse than the actual mistake.

Mark Rauterkus
2 years ago

And relay swimmers, don’t dip your goggles into the pool once the race has begun. Just play it safe.

coach
2 years ago

From telling kids they made the team when they didn’t (Stadden and Urlando) to poor travel logistics (at the very least, have your camp in Hawaii to help with the time change rather than Irvine) to relay snafus, this has been an organizational nightmare for the US. Hope things get sorted out in the future.

Zanna
Reply to  coach
2 years ago

It’s pretty clear that USA Swimming did not value Pan Pacs as much as Worlds and Olympics but yet they expect swimmers to qualify for Worlds at Pan Pacs one year in advanced.

Leto
Reply to  Zanna
2 years ago

Agreed! Change the structure next quad!

Jim C
Reply to  Leto
2 years ago

.It might still be good for the US to have the team in place for next year and avoid the need to have qualification and Worlds for the year before the Olympics. Obviously the US could have done better at Pan Pacs, but does that matter?

Admin
Reply to  Jim C
2 years ago

Does…any of this really matter? Does swimming really matter? Do sports really matter?

You ask a very big question, Jim C. Very big.

Eagleswim
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Great now I just remembered our entire universe only exists inside the mind of a giant dreaming space turtle

Bigly
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Who won the 100 fly in the 1956 Olympics for men and women? Take your time.

Jim C
Reply to  Bigly
2 years ago

The men did not swim the 100 fly in 1956. They swam the 200 while the women swam the 100.

Jim C
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

To answer one of your questions. Yes swimming matters because it can be a good way to avoid drowning. As far as this mistake is concerned, I just assume that elite swimmers and coaches do not need me to tell them to be careful to avoid such a mistake in the future. On issues such as the death of Fran Crippen and sexual abuse maybe they do need people like me to tell them what to do, but not here.

Coacheycoach
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Of course it matter! The pursuit of excellence always matters! The process of development, failure without quitting, the need to get better, the process in general matters! As long as athletes put the time and care into their craft it matters!

SwimFan 192
Reply to  Leto
2 years ago

Make some changes to Admin at US Swimming?

Swimmer A
Reply to  Zanna
2 years ago

It’s kind of hard to focus your energy on Pan Pacs when your bigger concern is qualifying for worlds.

Swimmer Brent
Reply to  coach
2 years ago

What happened with Stadden and Urlando?

Ger
Reply to  Swimmer Brent
2 years ago

They were initially told they had made the pan pacs team, when in fact they hadn’t.

Love to Swim
Reply to  Swimmer Brent
2 years ago

They officially announced Urlando to make the Pan Pacs team, he even took the official group photo.

And then they kicked him out from the team when they realized they made error.

Lane 3
Reply to  coach
2 years ago

Posted in other thread but to say…i do not understand the USA swimming approach. Most hotshot on team travels from LAX to Tokyo in first class. Includes coaching staff. While younger star like Regan Smith, Erica Sullivan, some others fly in coach. Instagram picture everywhere of this. Bragging about first class Not coach. Only first. Why? Is this even playing field? Do you prepare everyone to have the same chance arriving only four days before meet? I see team at Tokyo arrival. Those flying first very advantaged to those flying coach. Seems simple. Why make some on “team” second class citizen? Not right. Can someone perhaps explain this?

Love to Swim
Reply to  Lane 3
2 years ago

You know, they may have upgraded on their own using miles… Especially when you have traveled a lot internationally you get tons of miles.

Also, I’ve seen the Instagrams. They didn’t fly first class. It’s business class in international flight. First class is a whole different level.

Swimming Fan
Reply to  Love to Swim
2 years ago

True, but Business Class is a whole different level than flying Coach.

CraigH
Reply to  coach
2 years ago

Yes, the head coaches of this year’s Pan Pacs should never be considered for another National-level coaching job again. This meet has been a disgrace.

Ger
2 years ago

Not even the Marx Brothers would screw up this badly.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Ger
2 years ago

agreed !! these feel like amateurish mistakes

Nswim
2 years ago

I don’t like this coaching staff at all, they messed up the 4×100 mixed medley and they made a beginner mistake here…don’t even get me started on the fact that basically nobody is properly rested (except Murphy and a couple of others)

pete kennedy
Reply to  Nswim
2 years ago

I have been disappointed in the relay choices made so far. 800 relay ladies, mixed relay, and now a blunder that never should happen (an experienced coach always meets with and discusses with the relay swimmers the order and what is expected of each swimmer so the anchor leg can bring home the gold). A absolutely, amateur mistake – was it because the head coach does very little coaching of his college athletes ? ! He leaves that to assistants ? !

MaxH
Reply to  pete kennedy
2 years ago

800 relay ladies was the right team but AS underperformed. Who would have predicted it?
Mix medley relay team was not the case though, Murphy and LK should have swum it.

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  pete kennedy
2 years ago

Lol what was wrong with the coaching decision in the 800 relay for the women?

Coacheycoach
Reply to  PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
2 years ago

The order man, the order is critical!

SpeculationSpectacular
Reply to  pete kennedy
2 years ago

Who would you have put on the 4×200 women’s relay?

OLLIEPOP
Reply to  pete kennedy
2 years ago

Are you talking about Rat Looze? Obviously I’m an outsider to IU swimming but from what I’ve seen from Cody Miller’s vlogs, Coach Looze doesn’t seem to be on deck all the time. Regardless he still has a great program.

Coacheycoach
Reply to  pete kennedy
2 years ago

I would say this head coach doesn’t really care and is not elite on this level. It’s not just this error but the numerous errors and decision making. Certainly gives a lot more credence to all the kids that left his NCAA program. Apparently this is just another peel back on the onion.

bamboobetty
Reply to  Coacheycoach
2 years ago

the attrition rate at IU swimming with Loose at the helm is won of the worst in NCAA swimming. Yes just another layer of the stinky onion.

CROOKED HILLARY
Reply to  Nswim
2 years ago

They need Bowman back on the staff.

Cdev
Reply to  CROOKED HILLARY
2 years ago

Bowman will likely never coach another national team and is lucky to not be on the banned list

Coacheycoach
Reply to  Cdev
2 years ago

That’s ridiculous and clearly you don’t know him. You must really have a disgusting mind if that’s what you took out of the facts.

Daaaave
Reply to  CROOKED HILLARY
2 years ago

Not sure if this is sarcasm…but…Bowman was notoriously meticulous about this type of thing and a whole range of administrative stuff, verging on OCD, when he has been on or led international staffs. I get the sense it didn’t make him many new friends among the other coaches and support but boy did it work.

Verram
2 years ago

Wow I wasn’t expecting a DQ outcome for the USA.. what’s the big deal anyway if they swam out of order? Is there a reason behind it? To avoid team tactics ??

So sad for the boys .. did they get told the DQ before or after the medal presentation. ??

Torchbearer
Reply to  Verram
2 years ago

The big deal is it is against the rules…

Verram
Reply to  Torchbearer
2 years ago

I knowwww it’s against the rule .. I was asking what’s the reasoning behind having that rule .. get the difference ??

Rsquad
Reply to  Verram
2 years ago

My guess would be to prevent teams from switching orders after they see what other teams are doing. Do FINA and USA swimming have different rules. In USA swimming you can make changes up until the race starts as long as the officials are notified and the order changed on paper?

Cdev
Reply to  Rsquad
2 years ago

RS Squad both have the same rule but in this case the declared order didn’t match how they swam.

ct swim fan
Reply to  Rsquad
2 years ago

You can’t even switch written relay orders in high school swimming here in the United States. The rule is well known especially to the coaches.

Love to Swim
Reply to  Verram
2 years ago

This particular rule is pretty universal actually. It applies in Athletics as well.

Just imagine if any country can change the order at random at anytime. It would wreak havoc with reporting, doping control, etc.

SwimGeek
Reply to  Love to Swim
2 years ago

Um, how would the relay ORDER (same 4 guys) have anything to do with doping control?

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Torchbearer
2 years ago

what a lame rule than …..

Cate
Reply to  ERVINFORTHEWIN
2 years ago

No actually, it isn’t a lame rule.

Zanna
Reply to  Verram
2 years ago

They already got their medals in the ceremony and had to return them.

Swimmer Brent
Reply to  Zanna
2 years ago

I think this is what bothers me the most. It was clear they swam out of order and the coaches and admin staff let them claim medals (depriving Brazil and Japan of amazing moments) and then quietly handed them back later.

Love to Swim
Reply to  Swimmer Brent
2 years ago

I agree. In hindsight, it’s hard to believe the coaches didn’t know this. It is embarrassing to let the swimmers up on the podium and then had to return the medals.

Swimmer0883
Reply to  Love to Swim
2 years ago

I’m a high school and rec league coach and this is a mistake that isn’t supposed to happen even on the levels I coach, never mind at an international competition (I give my high school swimmers sticky notes with their order on it). This is either total oversight by the coach or swimmers not paying attention.

Cdev
Reply to  Swimmer0883
2 years ago

Actually in HS only the lead off needs to match.

Swimmer0883
Reply to  Cdev
2 years ago

CDEV- all 4 need to be in the correct order at the high school meets I coach at (I’m in NC). At the regional and state meets they check pretty closely. The officials always make a pretty big deal about it at meets.

Cdev
Reply to  Swimmer0883
2 years ago

The NHFS book most states use require only the leading swimmer be designated. In MD where I coach we ask you to indicate 2-4 but you are free to change them without telling the table.

Coacheycoach
Reply to  Cdev
2 years ago

Not true each state has different rules.

Swimming Fan
Reply to  Swimmer Brent
2 years ago

Sadly, apparently it wasn’t clear to the coaches and staff that the swimmers swam out of order….

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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