2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES
- When: Pool swimming: Saturday, July 24 – Sunday, August 1, 2021
- Open Water swimming: Wednesday, August 4 – Thursday, August 5, 2021
- Where: Olympic Aquatics Centre / Tokyo, Japan
- Heats: 7 PM / Semifinals & Finals: 10:30 AM (Local time)
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The British women lowered their National Record in the 400 freestyle relay for the second time in a little more than two months, qualifying fourth overall into the Olympic final.
The quartet of Lucy Hope, Anna Hopkin, Abbie Wood and Freya Anderson combined for a time of 3:34.03, winning the event’s opening heat on Saturday night in Tokyo and lowering their previous mark of 3:34.17 set by the same four swimmers at the European Championships in May.
At those Euros, Great Britain’s performance not only smashed the previous British Record of 3:35.72, set at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but also earned them their first victory in the event since 1927.
|2021 European Championships||2021 Olympic Games|
|Lucy Hope – 53.89||Lucy Hope – 54.37|
|Anna Hopkin – 53.59 (1:47.48)||Anna Hopkin – 52.65 (1:47.02)|
|Abbie Wood – 53.90 (2:41.38)||Abbie Wood – 53.55 (2:40.57)|
|Freya Anderson – 52.79 (3:34.17)||Freya Anderson – 53.46 (3:34.03)|
The difference-maker compared to the relay at Euros was Hopkin, who was almost a full second faster than she was two months ago in 52.65.
Moving into the final in fourth, including qualifying ahead of the United States (3:34.80), is a massive leap forward for this relay.
The Brits didn’t even field a team in the women’s 400 free relay at the 2019 World Championships, qualifying for the Games as one of the four wildcard entries (they also had to get under the stringent British Olympic qualifying standard of 3:35.64, which they did easily at Euros).
With Hope and Anderson capable of going significantly faster than they did tonight, the Brits may very well thrust themselves into the mix for a medal, with the Netherlands (3:33.51) and Canada (3:33.72) using most of their ‘A’ swimmers in the heats and the U.S. looking weaker than they have in a long time.
The last time the British women won an Olympic relay medal in swimming came in 1980 (400 medley relay), while the last medal in the 400 free relay was a bronze back in 1932 in Los Angeles.