Starting off the 2015 year FINA has just completed the schedule for the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia with the addition of mixed relays, a factor that was left out of the equation in early August when the first schedule was released.
The two relays that have been added are the mixed 4x100m medley relay and the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay. The medley relay falls on the fourth day of competition with the freestyle relay being contested on the seventh.
Both events will be the final events of the day in the finals session, giving the athletes a continued opportunity to focus on their individual events.
The events do not come without controversy as it was clear at the short course world championships in Doha, Qatar that some of the big players were skipping out on the mixed relays giving a taste of how different countries are approaching these events.
In Doha the American team and the Brazilian teams proved to be using their stars. American swimming has always put a lot of pride into their relays so there is no surprise there, however there were distinct absences from some of the world’s best swimmers. It seemed as though many athletes from South Africa and Japan chose against competing on the relays, lowering the overall competitive atmosphere of the field.
With the way the scheduling was done however, that might change as it could give room for some of the bigger names to compete on the relays.
Day 4 – Wed. August 5th
- M 100 Freestyle
- W 50m Backstroke
- M 200m Fly
- W 200m Freestyle
- M 50m Breaststroke
- W 200m Fly
- M 200m IM
- M 800m Free
- Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay
With the way the scheduling goes there could be a few swimmers who opt out of the relays to focus on other events. The women’s 100m freestyle semifinal is the next day along with the men’s 100m freestyle final and the 4x200m freestyle relay. There’s no doubt that some athletes could decide not to swim the mixed relay in order to focus on a very heavy day five.
The men’s 100m freestyle will be packed with potential relay swimmers. Guys like Nathan Adrian, Ryan Lochte, Cesar Cielo, Cameron McEvoy, and James Magnussen all have the potential to be on their country’s relay. Those athletes will be prime candidates for the relay.
Lochte will also be swimming the 200m IM final on the same day, giving him the potential for three events on day four. He’ll have the , 4x200m freestyle relay, and possibly the 100 free final if he makes it on day five.
As for the women’s 200m freestyle there will be some sprinters involved that could be on the relay. Sarah Sjostrom will most likely swim the 200m freestyle and also boasts a very quick 100. Missy Franklin is in the same category, although she or Bootsma could swim the backstroke. Bootsma has the 50m backstroke.
Both Laszlo Cseh and Chad Le Clos will likely have the 200m IM 200m fly combo and the potential to compete on their country’s relays.
Day 7 – Sat. August 8th
- W 50m Fly
- M 50m Free
- W 200m Back
- W 50m Br
- M 100m Fly
- W 50m Free
- M 50m Back
- W 800m Free
- Mixed 4x100m Free Relay
With plenty of sprint events falling on the Saturday, there’s potential for swimmers to swim multiple events including the relay. Fly-free swimmers like Sjostrom and Ottesen could be favorites to contend in the 50m fly, 50m free, and the mixed relay.
Matt Grevers could also add the relay to his schedule. He’ll swim the 50m backstroke on the same day and already has prior experience as a member of a mixed relay. He won’t be the only American who isn’t 100% fresh as Anthony Ervin and Nathan Adrian both swim the 50m freestyle and could potentially grab a spot on the relay.
Hardy has the 50m breaststroke and could swim the breaststroke portion of the medley relay. Add in Tom Shields swimming the 100m fly and there are quite a few swimmers who already have events on day seven.
A ton of athletes could be seen in these relays considering most of them would be sprinters, and on the morning of day eight the only individual events are 400s. They’ll have approximately 24 hours rest unless they swim on the prelims of the non-mixed medley relay if they do choose to swim the mixed event.
With the mixed relays being added to the World Championship line-up for the first time, only time will tell how many big guns will choose to swim these relays and just how competitive they will be.
For a look at the full schedule click here.