Drama Begins After England Gets Out Early During Men’s 4×200 Free Relay


  • Friday, July 29 – Wednesday, August 3, 2022
  • Birmingham, England
  • Sandwell Aquatic Center
  • Start Times
    • Prelims: 10:30 am local / 5:30 am ET
    • Finals: 7:00 pm local / 2:00 pm ET
  • LCM (50m)
  • Meet Central
  • Event Schedule
  • Entry List (PDF)
  • Live Results


  • World Record: 6:58.55, United States – 2009
  • Commonwealth Record: 6:58.58, Great Britain – 2021
  • Commonwealth Games Record: 7:05.97, Australia – 2018
  • 2018 Commonwealth Champion: Australia, 7:05.97
  • Relay Lineups
  1. Australia, 7:04.96 GR
  2. England, 7:07.50
  3. Scotland, 7:09.33
  4. Wales, 7:10.64
  5. Canada, 7:12.68
  6. South Africa, 7:13.76
  7. Isle of Man, 7:43.70
  8. Gibraltar, 8:08.33

Monday’s finals session at Commonwealth was not without drama as Australia’s Ian Thorpe stated that England’s relay should have been disqualified. The team’s anchor Tom Dean exited from the water as the anchor from Gibraltar was still roughly 10 meters away from touching the wall.

At the 2022 Commonwealth Games, England finished second to Australia about two and a half seconds behind. Dean the anchor removed himself from the water.

FINA rule SW 10.14 states that  “Any swimmer having finished his race, or his distance in a relay event, must leave the pool as soon as possible without obstructing any other swimmer who has not yet finished his race. Otherwise the swimmer committing the fault, or his relay team, shall be disqualified.” 

In the image on Yahoo Sports, Dean can be seen exiting the water as Gibraltar is finishing to the wall about 10 meters away. Dean is still in his own lane and did so “without obstructing any other swimmer who has not yet finished his race” as stated by FINA rules.

Thorpe competed for Australia at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. He also competed for the country at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. At those 2001 World Championships, the Australian women’s 4×200 free relay was disqualified after jumping into the water after the race before all competitors had finished. See the video of that event here.

The FINA rule SW 10.12 stating, “Any relay team shall be disqualified from a race if a team member, other than the swimmer designated to swim that length, enters the water when the race is being conducted, before all swimmers of all teams have finished the race” most likely applied in the 2001 situation.

The biggest difference between the two events is that the Australian women entered the pool before the race was complete whereas Dean exited the pool.

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7 months ago

Another case of a commentator not knowing the rules. The other possibility is he is thinking of a swimmer having exited over the lane lines as they often do thus “obstructing”. Clearly Dean didn’t do that.

7 months ago

Lol. Maybe they should try to stay closer than 10 meters then.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jessie
7 months ago

Thorpe was just wrong but possibly because these rules were changed a few times. These rules aren’t just about being polite to slower swimmers. It’s also about not obstructing the officials view of strokes and touches and disrupting water for finishing swimmers who may be setting records for their country etc. etc etc

Emily Se-Bom Lee
7 months ago

thorpe’s comment was just a mistake about the fina rules, which was far from the first time a commentator has been incorrect. saying that “drama begins” implies that there was some sort of response to thorpe, but thorpe didn’t say anything beyond that comment and there was no protest, let alone an overturning of the results. while not to the extent of the kyle chalmers saga, this is a still a story made out of nothing. a story concocted by the same tabloids that have been criticised in the past week

Last edited 7 months ago by Emily Se-Bom Lee
7 months ago

Much to do about nothing!!!!

7 months ago

I love Thorpe but it takes some level of arsehattery to win and still be concerned enough to want the second placers disqualified lol. The kind of behaviour you’d expect from the Australian cricket team 😉

Last edited 7 months ago by Dee
Reply to  Dee
7 months ago

He didn’t want them DQed Dee. He was just stating what he thought was the rule. Looks like he was wrong. The officials can’t here the Aussie commentary anyway.

Reply to  Dee
7 months ago

Don’t worry Dee, we all have our team that lets the country down, at least the Aussie cricket team is not as disliked than the English football team (mens).

Last edited 7 months ago by Robbos
Reply to  Dee
7 months ago

It’s second place. It’s England. No one really cares.

7 months ago

Thorpe needs to calm down and stop eating pork pies, have you seen the size of him recently? I think he’s eaten his husband 🥧

Reply to  John
7 months ago

your ignorance does not give you the right to speak disparagingly of a great champion of our sport, who also knows the rules well.

Reply to  John
7 months ago

lol…he was 105Kg’s when he set most of his world records

Steve Nolan
7 months ago

Yeah I mean…Thorpe’s wrong.

I have a hell of a time reminding my age groupers to stay in the water until an entire heat finishes – it’s a nice thing to do! – but given Dean very obviously did not impede that other team finishing this is…sorta ridiculous for Thorpe to even say.

Maybe he’d like the rule to actually be that anchors have to stay in the water until all the teams finish, but until that’s an actual rule he can pound sand.

Ugh, making me take ENGLAND’s side in something, that’s the biggest crime here.

Last edited 7 months ago by Steve Nolan

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Government & Law and Economics at Lafayette College. There she is …

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