Budapest 2022: Women’s 4×200 Free Relay Analysis

2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Just like last year, the women’s 4×200 free relay was an incredible race between the United States, Australia, China, and Canada to see who would claim the top three podium spots. In the end, it was the United States that won in a new championship record time of 7:41.45, but there was so much more to this relay than just the final results.

In this article, we look into the splits recorded by the women swimming on this relay.

Leadoffs

The first 200 meters of this race were dominated by 15-year-old Summer McIntosh, who gave the Canadians an near-two second lead by putting down a world junior record time of 1:54.79. The swim was McIntosh’s second world junior record of the night, as she had just previously broken the 200 fly world junior record en route to taking gold.

Another impressive leadoff came from Claire Weinstein, who is also 15 years old. She swam a personal best time of 1:56.71 to put the Americans in second-place position, taking 0.19 seconds off her previous fastest time of 1:56.90.

Country Swimmer Time
Canada Summer McIntosh 1:54.79
United States Claire Weinstein 1:56.71
Australia Madi Wilson 1:56.74
Hungary Nikolett Padar 1:58.01
China Tang Muhan 1:58.10
New Zealand Erika Fairweather 1:58.24
Brazil Stephanie Balduccini 1:59.00
Japan Momoka Yoshii 2:01.67

Rolling Splits

The fastest split off a rolling start in this field was swum by Katie Ledecky, who clocked her fastest time ever on a relay today. In addition, her 1:53.67 is ranked as the third-fastest 200 free relay split of all time. Following Ledecky was Bella Sims, who anchored in a 1:54.60 to lead the Americans to victory. This time was huge for Sims, considering that she entered this meet with a best time 0f 1:57.53 and didn’t even qualify to swim the 200 free indivdually.

You can read more about Ledecky and Sims’s splits here.

A split that got largely unnoticed was Yang Junxuan‘s 1:54.17 anchor leg. Although she wasn’t fast enough to put the Chinese into podium position, she turned her country’s 2.64-second deficit behind Canada into one of just 0.96 seconds. Australia’s Leah Neale also stepped up with a 1:55.27 split, which was the fastest on her team.

Swimmers such as Penny Oleksiak and Mollie O’Callaghan were a bit off their best, as Oleksiak split 1:55.83 compared to her flat start time of 1:54.70, and O’Callaghan split 1:55.94 compared to her PB of 1:54.94.

Country Swimmer Time
United States Katie Ledecky 1:53.67
China Yang Junxuan 1:54.17
United States Bella Sims 1:54.60
Australia Leah Neale 1:55.27
Canada Penny Oleksiak 1:55.83
Australia Kiah Melvrton 1:55.91
Australia Mollie O’Callaghan 1:55.94
United States Leah Smith 1:56.47
China Li Bingjie 1:56.67
Canada Taylor Ruck 1:56.75
China Ai Yanhan 1:56.77
Canada Kayla Sanchez 1:57.39
Japan Miyu Namba 1:58.52
New Zealand Eve Thomas 1:59.17
Brazil Giovanna Tomanik Diamante 1:59.37
Brazil Maria Paula Mangabeira Heitmann 1:59.58
Hungary Ajna Kesely 1:59.69
Japan Aoi Masuda 1:59.70
Hungary Dora Molnar 1:59.76
New Zealand Laura Littlejohn 2:00.10
Japan Waka Kobori 2:00.14
Brazil Aline da Silva Rodrigues 2:00.43
Hungary Boglarka Kapas 2:00.44
New Zealand Caitlin Deans 2:01.57

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Verram
1 year ago

The challenge for Australia now at Comm Games would be to try to beat that 7:41.45 time by the USA, given they will have Titmus and McKeon back competing for them

Taa
Reply to  Verram
1 year ago

A 1:55.35 avg seems doable. Not much competition there to push them though. They should be targeting a 7:39 if they are really trying to hit their best. Funny how quick the script flipped with USA winning with a 15 and 16 year old on the relay.

Splash
Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

I would think Comms will be a good race between CAN and AUS in this relay

Troyy
Reply to  Splash
1 year ago

Nope, it’ll basically be a time trial for AUS because Ruck and Oleksiak won’t be there.

NJones
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Likely true. However an opportunity for Sophie-Harvey/Sanchez/Savard/Smith to step fwd and battle for spots with McIntosh in the final…

commonwombat
Reply to  Splash
1 year ago

They’re beating ……. no body. CAN will be minus Oleksiak and Ruck. GBR is only a fringe finals outfit here ….. and then they’re diluted down into ENG/SCO etc. NZL is nearly 20sec slower.

All it will be is a time trial, not a race.

CG DOES see some good racing, albeit the fields are shallow at best.

However, the dilution of GBR into smaller component states renders many relays; especially on the male side; almost irrelevant other than for times.

AUS inevitably ends up winners where in many cases GBR as a whole has their number. Ditto with mixed. Were CAN fielding a full strength women’s team then the women’s relays would be 3 immense 2-way battles… Read more »

Troyy
Reply to  commonwombat
1 year ago

One thing that can make the women’s 4×200 and 4×100 more interesting is if they aim for a time but it might be one taper too many for some of the swimmers and Jack now injured.

The English 4×100 should be formidable at Comm Games with Burras Whittle Guy and Dean. Only one of the finalists in Budapest was non-English and Guy’s split was the prelims was faster anyway.

Verram
Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

with no heats, and CG being the major meet this year for both Titmus and McKeon, im hoping they could pull out something special for the relay

Troyy
Reply to  Verram
1 year ago

Some of the athletes will be on their third taper by then but at least Titmus and McKeon will be fresh.

commonwombat
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Yes, you add Titmus but how much work has McKeon done overall , let alone for the 200 which she is most likely no longer prioritising. We saw in Tokyo that the price-tag for her re-set to the sprints was a loss of an elite edge to her 200. There was still sufficient work there for her to be solid but no longer a big hitter. Just a thought to consider.

Mako
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Do you think they tapered for this meet? I have a feeling that it was not a full taper…

Verram
Reply to  Mako
1 year ago

I get the same feeling they didnt fully taper hence the slower times and resulting in all the hateful articles from author “Yanyan Li”

Last edited 1 year ago by Verram
NB1
1 year ago

I know many swimmers (age groupers) who can’t swim a 2:00 200 free. If you put them on a relay though, they will go 1:57.9. Everyone knows that the first leg of the relay speeds up the water and the rest can go way faster than their PB.

Tam
Reply to  NB1
1 year ago

Why would everyone know that as you say?

WillisAlexander
1 year ago

Anyone know what time Brianna Throssel split in the heats? She’s usually a mainstay on our 200m relays, so i guess she’s been focusing on the 100m fly, so her endurance isn’t what it usually is?

Wonder what happened to Mollie-O.. im guessing she threw her race tactics out the window when trying to chase down Bella Sims, so she ran outta gas in 2nd 100.

Credit to Leah Neale and Kiah Milverton though, with both splitting 1:55’s 👏

Last edited 1 year ago by WillisAlexander
Troyy
Reply to  WillisAlexander
1 year ago

I think the finals team was probably decided before the prelims so the times swum in the prelims probably weren’t going all out. Perhaps they should’ve used Throssel instead of Wilson.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
1 year ago

From the top 4 teams, 13/16 swimmers closed under the Michael Andrew line (30.69)

O’Callaghan (30.82), Ruck (31.37) and Sanchez (30.98) were the only ones over

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims

LOL!

Thank God for Nic Fink.

Taa

The MA line is a thing now

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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