Day 4 Relay Analysis: Curzan’s -.01 Reaction Time The Only Scare For Dominant U.S. Team


No surprises in the mixed 400 medley relay, as the United States roared to gold as expected with a stacked lineup that included four swimmers who had all won an individual title through the first three nights of racing in Fukuoka.

The American quartet of Hunter ArmstrongNic FinkClaire Curzan and Kate Douglass won gold by nearly three seconds in a time of 3:40.22, essentially matching what the fully-powered U.S. team produced at the 2023 World Championships en route to the bronze (3:40.19).

It was also a reclaiming of the title for Armstrong, Fink and Curzan, who made up three-quarters of the squad that won the world title in 2022 (Torri Huske was the other member).

The Australians were the distant silver medalists in 3:43.12, while Great Britain, the reigning Olympic champions in the event, won bronze in 3:45.09.


  1. USA (Armstrong, Fink, Curzan, Douglass) — 3:40.22
  2. Australia (Woodward, Williamson, Throssell, Jack) — 3:43.12
  3. Great Britain (Harris, Peaty, Richards, Hopkin) — 3:45.09
  4. Poland — 3:46.04
  5. Greece — 3:46.69
  6. Italy — 3:47.29
  7. Sweden — 3:47.46
  8. Japan — 3:47.60

Let’s dive into the splits:


Armstrong wasn’t as fast as he was in the individual 100 back (52.68), but his 53.07 was still enough to hand the U.S. team the lead.

Ksawery Masiuk, who missed the semis in the 100 back but went a time fast enough for bronze in the prelims (53.09), was three-tenths slower but still touched 2nd in 53.39, with bronze medalist Apostolos Christou adding just over a tenth from his individual swim to put Greece in 3rd early.

For Australia, Bradley Woodward was slower than the 100 back prelims (53.76) but faster than the semis (54.20) where he placed 16th.

Swimmer Country Split
Hunter Armstrong USA 53.07
Ksawery Masiuk POL 53.39
Apostolos Christou GRE 53.50
Bradley Woodward AUS 53.92
Michele Lamberti ITA 54.48
Osamu Kato JPN 54.68


With both of Great Britain’s 100 back entrants, Lauren Cox and Kathleen Dawson, in the 50 back semis, Medi Harris took over and had a solid swim of 1:00.28 on the lead-off leg. Her fastest swim last year came in at 59.62.

Sweden’s Hanna Rosvall was right in the middle of her prelim (1:01.20) and semi swims (1:01.67) from the individual race.

Swimmer Country Split
Medi Harris GBR 1:00.28
Hanna Rosvall SWE 1:01.50


Nicolo Martinenghi blasted the fastest breaststroke split in the field at 58.21, moving Italy up from 5th to 2nd for a brief time before they ultimately fell to 6th.

Fink essentially matched it in 58.27, putting the U.S. head and shoulders ahead of the field after things were tight after the backstroke.

In the individual final, Fink clocked 58.57 and Martinenghi was 58.84.

Adam Peaty, who was the bronze medalist behind those two in the 100 breast, was slower than he was from a flat start in 59.42, as was 4th-place finisher Sam Williamson.

All four were coming off the 50 breast final, where Williamson scored an upset victory and set a new Oceanian Record.

Swimmer Country Split
Nicolo Martinenghi ITA 58.21
Nic Fink USA 58.27
Adam Peaty GBR 59.42
Sam Williamson AUS 59.54
Erik Persson SWE 1:00.16
Ikuru Hiroshima JPN 1:00.50
Arkadios Aspougalis GRE 1:01.22


The lone female breaststroker, Poland’s Dominika Sztandera was solid in 1:06.98 after she was 1:07-low individually.

Swimmer Country Split
Dominika Sztandera POL 1:06.98


Jakub Majerski moved Poland up from 7th to 3rd with a 51.05 split on fly, while Matt Richards was under his flat-start best (54.13) by more than a second for the Brits.

Swimmer Country Split
Jakub Majerski POL 51.05
Matt Richards GBR 52.87


Curzan had a dangerously close -.01 reaction time and ended up narrowly out-splitting her time from the individual final (56.62) to lead all women at 56.54 on fly.

For Greece, Anna Ntountounaki was strong at 56.88 after she went 57.62 individually. Brianna Throssell and Louise Hansson were both a touch slower than the 56.9s they produced in the 100 fly final.

Swimmer Country Split
Claire Curzan USA 56.54
Anna Ntountounaki GRE 56.88
Brianna Throssell AUS 57.22
Louise Hansson SWE 57.39
Chiharu Iitsuka JPN 58.16
Giulia D’Innocenzo ITA 1:00.22


Bjorn Seeliger ripped a 47.97 split for Sweden in the prelims of the men’s 400 free relay—where they still missed the final with three 49s—and he was just over four-tenths off that here in 48.41. It was enough to edge out Japan for 7th place after they were back by nearly six seconds at the 300-meter mark.

Swimmer Country Split
Bjorn Seeliger SWE 48.41


Douglass, Shayna Jack and Anna Hopkin were within two-tenths of one another on the anchor leg, with Douglass leading the charge in 52.34.

This tells us all three will be in the hunt for gold in the 100 free individually.

The split for Hopkin was particularly important as it moved the Brits into medal position after they were in 5th at the final exchange.

Swimmer Country Split
Kate Douglass USA 52.34
Shayna Jack AUS 52.44
Anna Hopkin GBR 52.52
Nagisa Ikemoto JPN 54.26
Chiara Tarantino ITA 54.38
Kasia Wasick POL 54.62
Theodora Drakou GRE 55.09

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Michigan Fan
3 months ago

So -.01 isn’t automatic DQ? How does the rule work? Thanks

VA Steve
Reply to  Michigan Fan
3 months ago

-0.04 DQ

Last edited 3 months ago by VA Steve
Reply to  VA Steve
3 months ago

I had a swimmer that I could have sworn jumped early go -0.03….and it was counted legal. I still ripped into him for being reckless (the finish was clean, definitely a jumpy start).

He tried to claim it was a “perfect start” (since I stupidly told him it was the accuracy threshold for the timing system).

IU Swammer
Reply to  Michigan Fan
3 months ago

Different timing systems have different margins for error. Many are only accurate +/- 0.03 seconds, so the rules allow an early take off up to .03 because the system could be wrong by that much and the exchange could have been legal. The rules take into account that different timing systems have different margins, so the margin of error this Omega system must be at least +/- .01.

Reply to  Michigan Fan
3 months ago

-0.04 is a DQ

3 months ago

Depending on the pads being used….

Different pads have different set-points.

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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