Disclaimer: Blueseventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The blueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
Australia’s Cate Campbell has had her share of historic swims. She’s also faced her share of criticism for disappointing swims. But her 2018 Pan Pacs meet was an exercise in both overcoming demons and adding to her already sterling career accolades.
Campbell won 5 golds in Tokyo last week, bringing her career total to 9 Pan Pacs gold medals, with zero silvers or bronzes. In Ledeckian fashion, Campbell remains pure gold at Pan Pacs.
But for our Swim of the Week, we’re focusing in on one of those golds: the 4×100 mixed medley relay.
Now, before we get the typical flood of comments passionately expressing how little they care about mixed relays and calling them made up events, remember this: the 4×100 mixed medley relay is a real event. It’s an Olympic event that will be swum in Tokyo in two years for an Olympic gold medal that is as real as the one given to the 200 free champ. You can treat it like that, or you can get left behind the times.
It’s clear which of those choices Australia chose. The Australian team put forward their absolute best lineup, and all four swimmers showed up to compete. Mitch Larkin was 53.08, close to his best 100 back of the meet. Jake Packard split 58.68, a good half-second faster than he was individually in the 100 breast. Emma McKeon was 56.22, three tenths faster than her individual 100 fly.
And Campbell became the first female swimmer in history to go 50-point in a 100 free relay split at 50.93.
That’s a blistering time that torched the Pan Pacs field. In fact, Campbell was facing the author of one of her biggest disappointments: American Simone Manuel, who upset Campbell for Olympic gold in 2016, anchored the American relay. Campbell outsplit Manuel by almost two full seconds.
Campbell was good all week, but this swim was clearly her finest, more than a second faster than her world-leading 52.03 from the individual race. She backed up this swim with several other massive performances, too:
- 100 free (individual): 52.03
- 50 free (individual): 23.81
- 100 free (medley relay split): 51.36
- 100 free (free relay split): 51.19
- 100 free (mixed medley split): 50.93
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