Canadian Women’s 400 Free Relay DQed After Swimming The Wrong Order


After initially touching second in the women’s 400 free relay final tonight at the Short Course World Championships, the Canadian women saw their silver medal stripped away from them after getting disqualified. Usually DQs in relays are because of a false start, almost always actually. But that wasn’t the case this time, as the Canadians swam the wrong order as was printed on the heat sheets.

100 free Olympic gold medalist Penny Oleksiak was slated to swim the third leg, and Michelle Williams the anchor. But they flip-flopped, and Oleksiak anchored and Williams went third. The announcer was referring to Williams as Oleksiak, with Oleksiak clearly still waiting on the blocks ready to swim the anchor. The mistake is silly, though it’s not the first time. A few years ago the University of British Columbia men were disqualified for the same reason in the 4×200 free relay at the CIS Championships, forcing them to relinquish the gold medal.

Unaffected, the American women won the gold medal in 3:28.82 out of lane 1, with Amanda WeirKelsi WorrellMadison Kennedy and Mallory Comerford combining for the victory. Worrell’s leg of 51.04 was particularly impressive, standing as the fastest in the field.

Jumping over the Canadians who clocked 3:29.62 before being disqualified was Italy (3:30.28) and the Netherlands (3:31.10), who won the silver and bronze medals.

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5 years ago

Totally juvenile blunder that should NEVER happen at this level of competition (money well spent on that relay team!!). If the girls are incapable of verifying and remembering their relay order, then coaches are responsible for whatever it takes to ensure mistakes like this don’t happen (even if it means resorting back to the old fashioned, tried-n-true age-group system — write the damn relay order numbers in black felt pen on the girls’ hands!?!?!)

Reply to  jswarz
5 years ago

Maybe it’s time to for FINA to revise our rulebook.

5 years ago

Is it possible to find out Penny’s split?

bobo gigi
5 years ago

That’s awful to do that at home.

northern light
Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

The team swam in the correct order. The mistake was on the submitted order.

Reply to  northern light
5 years ago

The submitted order is the correct order. If they wanted it the way they swam it, they should have submitted that order.

Reply to  AvidSwimFan
5 years ago

The coaches have taken full responsibility for the administrative blunder. The girls swam in the order the coaches had instructed them to swim in. There were supposedly procedures that prevent this kind of screw up – but the procedures were not followed.

5 years ago

Worrell Ownage beating the artist-formerly-known-as Penny Ownage <3.

Bill Greenizan
5 years ago

Embarrassing snafu for Swimming Canada.

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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