British Women Smash 400 Free Relay National Record Again in Tokyo

2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games

Great Britain’s relay of Anna HopkinAbbie WoodLucy Hope, and Freya Anderson smashed the 400 free relay British National Record for the 3rd time in less than three months with a time of 3:33.96 in the Olympic final on Saturday.

Hopkin dropped a lifetime best 50 free split on the leadoff leg, 53.16, to take .05 off her previous lifetime best from the 2019 World Championships.  

“It’s good to get some swims under my belt. Having not raced last year, that PB was from quite a while ago so I was happy to get back down there,” Hopkin said about the swim according to SwimEngland

Splits:

2021 OLYMPIC GAMES FINALS
Anna Hopkin – 53.16 (53.16)
Abbie Wood – 53.23 (1:46.39)
Lucy Hope – 54.73 (2:41.12)
Freya Anderson – 52.84 (3:33.96)

They earned 5th place, missing the podium by about 1.15 but coming home with their own National Record. 

The relay was on track to win bronze after Wood’s leg, trailing Sweden’s Michelle Coleman. But Sweden fell back on the second half of the race while the United States and the Netherlands beat Great Britain for 3rd and 4th place, respectively.

“To come away with the best time as a relay team, we couldn’t have done much more,” Wood said according to SwimEngland

“With this being only the third or fourth time we’ve raced together as this four, it’ll be interesting to see how far we can go if we get more experience.”

Wood noted that this was the Olympic debut for all four of them. “I feel like we all stepped up for our first Olympic final,” she said. “And I think we did ourselves proud by coming away with a British record.”

The same relay team of Hope, Hopkin, Wood and Anderson broke this  British National record in May at the European Championships with a time of 3:34.17 to win gold.

In prelims on Friday, they broke the record with a time of 3:34.03. The biggest difference between their prelims and finals swim was Anderson who anchored the relay in 52.84 compared to her prelims split of 53.46. Wood also swam faster in finals by almost one-third of a second.

Splits Comparison:

2021 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS 2021 OLYMPIC GAMES PRELIMS 2021 OLYMPIC GAMES FINALS
Lucy Hope – 53.89 Lucy Hope – 54.37 Anna Hopkin – 53.16 (53.16)
Anna Hopkin – 53.59 (1:47.48) Anna Hopkin – 52.65 (1:47.02) Abbie Wood – 53.23 (1:46.39)
Abbie Wood – 53.90 (2:41.38) Abbie Wood – 53.55 (2:40.57) Lucy Hope – 54.73 (2:41.12)
Freya Anderson – 52.79 (3:34.17) Freya Anderson – 53.46 (3:34.03) Freya Anderson – 52.84 (3:33.96)

Earlier we noted that the last time the British women won an Olympic relay medal in swimming was when they medaled in the 400 medley relay in 1980, while their last 400 free relay medal was a bronze at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

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Tommy Schmitt
2 months ago

Yikes, really hate to say it but Hope gave away the medal for them.

Kaitlyn
Reply to  Tommy Schmitt
2 months ago

Poor comment. Nothing’s a given at this level. A smart girl. Doesn’t need to be told that she wasn’t at her best. She’s done herself and nation proud (they weren’t even going to be selected prior to European’s – she was also on that team).

Swimmer24
Reply to  Tommy Schmitt
2 months ago

To be fair she did have covid one month ago, amazing she made it Tokyo

LittleFin
Reply to  Swimmer24
2 months ago

Even if she had been at her absolute best, I’m not sure it would have been quite enough. Great effort by the whole team.

Sapnu puas
Reply to  Swimmer24
2 months ago

Oh I didn’t know that! FairPlay to her then, obviously would have liked a bit faster but that’s rough for her

Fraser Thorpe
2 months ago

Great job ladies. I’m a big fan of Anderson – she’s one to watch. after haughey steps up this Olympics and becomes a star and standard setter, I think Anderson is next to step up into the big leagues.

commonwombat
2 months ago

Their trajectory going forward to Paris is certainly an upward one. Being this close will hopefully see some youngsters think “I want a piece of this” and drive them forward. A relay culture has seemed to have developed on the GBR male side; it would be good to see this emerge with the women.

Dee
Reply to  commonwombat
2 months ago

There are a few youngsters – Evie Davis, Tam van Selm & Eva Okaro are probably the best crop of junior sprinters we’ve had at any time. Hopefully they continue to develop towards Tokyo.