Chinese Women Earn 4×200 Freestyle Victory In World Record Fashion


In an absolute whirlwind of a race, the Chinese women delivered a new world record in the women’s 4×200 freestyle to take gold at the Tokyo 2020 Games. China took gold in a 7:40.33 and was joined on the podium by the Americans in a 7:40.73 and the Australians with a 7:41.29.

Splits Comparison

Australia – Tokyo 2020 Australia – Gwangju 2019
1 Yang Junxuan (1:54.37) Ariarne Titmus (1:54.27)
2 Tang Muhan (1:55.00) Madi Wilson (1:56.73)
3 Zhang Yufei (1:55.66) Brianna Throssell (1:55.60)
4 Li Bingjie (1:55.30) Emma McKeon (1:54.90)
7:40.33 7:41.50

Australia’s former world record in the event stood at a 7:41.50 which they posted at the 2019 World Championships to take out the 10-year-old mark set by the Chinese in 2009 of 7:42.08. Now that China has taken back the world record and has re-claimed the top spot in the event. Not only did the Chinese team crack the former Australian mark but both the silver medal-winning Americans and bronze medal-winning Australians got under the time as well.

The top 3 times from Tokyo 2020 now make up the top 3 times in history while Canada’s 7:43.77 for 4th place is the all-time 11th best swim.

Country Event Time
1 China 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games 7:40.33
2 USA 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games 7:40.73
3 Australia 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games 7:41.29
4 Australia 2019 World Championships 7:41.50
5 USA 2019 World Championships 7:41.87
6 China 2009 World Championships 7:42.08
7 USA 2009 World Championships 7:42.56
8 USA 2012 Olympic Games 7:42.92
9 USA 2016 Olympic Games 7:43.03
10 USA 2017 World Championships 7:43.39
11 Canada 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games 7:43.77
12 Australia 2018 Pan Pacific Championships 7:44.12

Considering that all 3 of the podium finishers were under the previous world record, a number of national and continental records were broken as well. China’s swim was an Asian record and Chinese record, improving upon their 7:42.08 from 2009. The United States lowered the Americas record, the North American record, and the American record of 7:41.87 from 2019, and the Australian’s broke the Commonwealth, Oceanian, and Australian record of 7:41.29.

The Chinese team got an early lead in the heat as Yang Junxuan opened with a 56.02 for China which was just ahead of Ariarne Titmus‘ 56.18 for Australia. Titmus was actually 3rd place at that point, however, as Canada’s Summer McIntosh notched a 56.10 to start. At that point, the USA sat in 4th with a 56.70 from Allison Schmitt.

By the end of the first 200 meters, McIntosh had held off Schmitt to get the Canadas into 3rd place while China’s Junxuan retained her lead with a 1:54.37 200. Titmus followed with a 1:54.51 for the 2nd position.

China and Australia passed the lead back and forth over the 2nd and 3rd legs from Tang Muhan and Zhang Yufei and Emma McKeon and Madi Wilson, respectively. That was until US anchor Katie Ledecky dove into the pool and started gunning it home. Ledecky managed to chase down Aussie anchor Leah Neale, out-splitting Neale’s 1:55.85 with a blistering 1:53.76. Ledecky nearly managed to chase down China’s Li Bingjie for the gold medal but fell just 0.40 seconds short.

One of the most impressive performances in the 4×200 freestyle field came from Zhang Yufei who split a solid 1:55.66 to contribute to China’s gold medal win. What makes Yufei’s relay leg so impressive is that she did so in the same session that she won gold in Olympic-record fashion in the women’s 200 butterfly. Yufei threw down a 2:03.86 to deliver the fastest time in the event in 12 years since Liu Zige’s 2:01.81 world record in 2009.

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Vincent De Leon
1 year ago

The Americans nor the Australians have failed in this event . Its a Team effort and both squads broke the former WR. What really happened is that Team China won !

1 year ago

Australia did well. It’s just that the USA and China did better, with standout performances. All things considered, breaking the former WR WITHOUT standout performances is even more impressive and shows the consistency and depth of the team.

1 year ago

3 things that screed over Australia

1. putting Throssel in the heats over Neale which robbed O’Callaghan of a finals spot, the line ups weren’t thought out the best.

2. The order they went with, I agree Titmus leads off but they should have had McKeon anchor, Neale was not a smart anchor choice.

3. More of a mental thing from the Aussies, none of them looked like they were attacking the swim, they all just held back and didn’t look like they wanted to push the race.

This is just my opinion. But it was a great effort from the Chinese and USA to get gold and silver very welled deserved and Ledecky’s split was just insane!

Reply to  Tyson
1 year ago

It’s a bit rough to say a team that also broke the old world record ‘choked’. If they swam this time in 2019 would everyone be saying they choked or would they be praising an awesome performance? When it became clear we were not going to get there I was rooting for the Yanks; hate to say it, but it’s only because I would not be raising my eyebrows.

One thing I did note that with both Titmus and Emma, possibly Wilson, they powered through the first 175 and then appeared to die in the last 25, giving back all their gains and then some.

1 year ago

I don’t think putting Titmus at anchor would have mattered. She lost in a side-by-side duel against Yang. If Titmus had an extra gear, she would have chased down Yang. But she clearly didn’t have it tonight.

In fact, I think it was for the best that she didn’t swim the anchor as she might have suffered the experience of being chased down by Ledecky.

And how about Summer McIntosh? 1:55:74 from a flat start. That kid brought her “A” game.

1 year ago

I love all the amatuer psychiatrists/ psychologists here.All the medalists swam well and broke the WR…

1 year ago

There is no ‘minor medals’. 1st, 2nd, 3rd place out of two hundred something countries. That’s incredible.

Big Kicker
Reply to  AussiePerson
1 year ago

There’s 1st, then first and second loser

1 year ago

steal? sick!

1 year ago

Should have been O’Callaghan, Wilson, Emma, Titmus. Disgraceful from the coaches. They blew that, not the girls.

Reply to  Swimmer1733
1 year ago

yes should be like that
the most stupid decision by coach
in 4 x 200 last leg must mckeon or titmus