Great Britain Annihilates World Record In Mixed 400 Medley For Decisive Gold

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

The British swimmers put the world record in the mixed 400 medley relay up in flames in the event’s first-ever Olympic final, extinguishing the previous mark by over eight tenths of a second in 3:37.58.

The quartet of Kathleen Dawson (58.80), Adam Peaty (56.78), James Guy (50.00) and Anna Hopkin (52.00) obliterated the field by 1.28 seconds, with the former world record holders from China placing second in 3:38.86.

Dawson sat sixth after the opening 100 back leg, going three tenths slower than the prelims to rank second among all female lead-offs. Peaty then blasted a 56.78 split on breaststroke, the second-fastest ever, to propel the Brits up into fourth, with the three nations that led off with two men (Italy, China, Russian Olympic Committee) out ahead.

Guy then mowed down the three female butterfliers ahead of him, registering an all-time relay leg of 50.00—the sixth-fastest split ever, only trailing four from Caeleb Dressel and one from Michael Phelps.

Sitting six tenths ahead of China as she dove into the water, Hopkin left no doubt with her blazing-fast 52.00 anchor, the second-fastest among the seven female splits in the field (individual 100 free gold medalist Emma McKeon had the fastest for Australia in 51.73).

The final time of 3:37.58 for Great Britain also erases the Olympic, European and British Record of 3:38.75 that they broke in the prelims. The lone personnel change from that squad was Hopkin coming in for Freya Anderson on the freestyle leg.

Split Comparison

After Dawson’s slight add from the prelims, the other three British swimmers combined to go nearly a second and a half faster than the splits from the heats, with Hopkin (0.59 seconds) and Guy (0.58 seconds) leading the way.

The biggest difference-maker compared to the former world record set by China, however, came from Peaty, as he made up more than a second on Yan Zibei. Hopkin gaining nearly seven tenths was also a key factor.

China, Former WR Great Britain, New WR
Great Britain, Former ER
Xu Jiayu – 52.45 Kathleen Dawson – 58.80
Kathleen Dawson – 58.50
Yan Zibei – 57.96 Adam Peaty – 56.78 Adam Peaty – 57.08
Zhang Yufei – 55.32 James Guy – 50.00 James Guy – 50.58
Yang Junxuan – 52.68 Anna Hopkin – 52.00 Freya Anderson – 52.59
3:38.41 3:37.58 3:38.75

The Chinese team fielded the same four swimmers as they did when breaking the world record, with all four going slightly slower than they did in their record-swim last year.

The event ultimately produced four of the 12 swims sub-3:40 in history, including all three medalists cracking 3:39.

All-Time Performances, Mixed 400 Medley Relay (LCM)

  1. Great Britain, 3:37.58 – 2021 Olympic Games
  2. China, 3:38.41 – 2020 Chinese Championships
  3. United States, 3:38.56 – 2017 World Championships
  4. Great Britain, 3:38.75 – 2021 Olympic Games
  5. Great Britain, 3:38.82 – 2021 European Championships
  6. China, 3:38.86 – 2021 Olympic Games
  7. Australia, 3:38.91 – 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
  8. Australia, 3:38.95 – 2021 Olympic Games
  9. Australia, 3:39.08 – 2019 World Championships
  10. United States, 3:39.10 – 2019 World Championships
  11. Italy, 3:39.28 – 2021 Olympic Games
  12. China, 3:39.40 – 2020

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its ya bouy
1 month ago

So many swimmers stepped up big time for this relay, Zhang and Mckeon especially. Absolutely insane splits as far as the eye can see.

Sub13
1 month ago

Well done GB! And China and Aus killed it as well, especially considering Zhang and Emma doubles.

Such a great day in the pool today.

anonymus
1 month ago

poor jacoby oh my god😞😞

Bruh
Reply to  anonymus
1 month ago

I mean, she still went 1:05. I seems like no woman should swim breaststroke on the mmr

Paul Thomas
Reply to  Bruh
1 month ago

It’s just math. A reasonable gold-medal-winning medley relay split for women is like 105.5; for men it’s like 58.5. That’s seven seconds. Other strokes are more like six. Hardly a surprise considering that breaststroke is the slowest stroke overall, so the women breaststrokers are just in the pool longer. The ~11% performance gap between men and women translates into a bigger gap in breaststroke.

The only situation running a woman breaststroker even arguably makes sense is where you have an in-form world record holder on the women’s side and a tire fire on the men’s side, i.e. the US circa 2017– and even that’s debatable.

JVW
Reply to  Paul Thomas
1 month ago

Exactly. The whole problem is that Adam Peaty is just so much better relative to his competition. It’s why Britain is probably going to win the men’s medley relay.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Paul Thomas
1 month ago

Lily King was 5-5.5ish seconds back of Cordes in 2017, so that one it did make sense to go female breaststroker. (Grevers was 6 seconds ahead of Baker on back and Dressel was 6.5 ahead of Dahlia in fly, Adrian was only 4.5s ahead of Manuel in free. It really never seems to make sense to use a male on freestyle.)

I just think they didn’t have faith in any of the male breaststrokers to be anywhere near their bests. Wilson has been slow, Fink hasn’t done a 100 here and MA has been slow AND would have had a double w/ the 50 free.

Ehhhish
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Not using Regan with a 5.5ish second difference between Murphy and her not being in the 200 just makes absolutely no sense at all.

JVW
Reply to  Ehhhish
1 month ago

Especially after she dropped a 57.6 in the mixed medley prelims.

boknows34
Reply to  Ehhhish
1 month ago

Absolutely. Smith and an off form Wilson were still 0.59 faster than Murphy/Jacoby who both swam well. A male breaststroker and female freestyler should be pretty obvious by now, unless you have a female equivalent of Peaty.

A 10 year-old with a calculator could’ve picked a more sensible team than the US coaches.

Ehhhish
Reply to  boknows34
1 month ago

If they were going to throw the race should have at least made it interesting. Should have just thrown weitzel, manuel, Dressel and Andrew in there. Give Andrew the first aerobic set of his life in the warm down pool between to make it even more interesting. Weitzel and Manuel still wet from the 50 should do back and breast obviously. Let MA do fly and give Dressel a nice victory lap through the raging waves to Celebrate his 100 fly victory. Like what

Paul Thomas
Reply to  boknows34
1 month ago

It’s telling that SwimSwam’s preview mathing out potential lineups literally didn’t even consider the lineup the US coaches put out there.

Coachy
Reply to  boknows34
1 month ago

It was politics, didn’t want to use MA

Coachy
Reply to  Bruh
1 month ago

The US was playing politics and didn’t want to use MA. Why can’t anyone just admit that?

Wayne Hanley
Reply to  Bruh
1 month ago

Lydia put in a solid swim, especially considering the fluke goggles mishap, but the math just doesn’t work putting females against males on breaststroke–the time differential is just too great on that one. That one was ALL on the coaches and the line up. The swimmers did well, but it was the wrong combination of swimmers. If they were avoiding the Michael Andrew issues, they could have swum Andrew Wilson in the breast leg like they did in the heats of the medley relay (where he did a 59.2!) and replace either back or free with a female where the time differential is much less than in breaststroke.

Sagar Chaudhary
1 month ago

Usa swimming fust fire their head coaches they already had messed up lot look at US in 2012 or 2016. Bring Bow bowman again for paris who have good match awareness. You cant put 15 year old against peaty . Murphy didn’t have good Olympic and dressel was exhausted so why put him in last leg

Zanna
Reply to  Sagar Chaudhary
1 month ago

Dressel’s split was fantastic though, 46.99

Paul Thomas
Reply to  Zanna
1 month ago

It’s reasonable that even a tired Dressel with a relay start could have gone 49-mid on fly, i.e. seven seconds better than Huske. Surely someone from the women’s pool could have gone better than 54 seconds.

Putting Dressel on freestyle was nonsensical, though not as nonsensical as the unbelievable decision to use Jacoby and Murphy instead of Smith and Andrew.

Sagar Chaudhary
Reply to  Paul Thomas
1 month ago

100percent agree spot on

mds
Reply to  Paul Thomas
1 month ago

Or Smith and Fink, due to Andrew’s double

Oof
Reply to  Zanna
1 month ago

For dressel on free to have been a good call, he would’ve needed a 46 low or at least faster than Zach apples split.

boknows34
Reply to  Zanna
1 month ago

Dressel could’ve gone 45.99 and they are still finishing 5th. Boneheaded from the coaches.

Last edited 1 month ago by boknows34
Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Zanna
1 month ago

For a triple, and considering zero chance of catching them, it was great. Straight-up comparison, though, it was his typical does with a flying start what his flat start is. Chalmers was 46,4 on the free relay, so that’s the standard for relay splits this meet.

Bruh
Reply to  Sagar Chaudhary
1 month ago

Jacoby is 17 but the fact she was next to peaty was not the problem. The problem was the us should not have put a woman on breaststroke. All the other finalist realized that

JVW
Reply to  Bruh
1 month ago

No, it’s a math equation. Let’s compare gold medal times from this Olympics:

Men’s 100 free: 47.02
Women’s 100 free: 51.96
difference = 4.94 seconds

Men’s 100 fly: 49.45
Women’s 100 fly: 55.59
difference = 6.14 seconds

Men’s 100 breast: 57.37
Women’s 100 breast: 1:04.95
difference = 7.58 seconds

Men’s 100 back: 51.98
Women’s 100 back: 57.47
difference: 5.49 seconds

The smallest differential between men and women is in freestyle and backstroke, so it make sense to put your women in those two strokes and try to build your lead with the men in fly and breast, where men have the greater differential Now ask yourself: how did the US stack their… Read more »

JVW
Reply to  JVW
1 month ago

Sorry Bruh, my comment was meant for Sagar Chadhary, not for you. You and I are in agreement.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  JVW
1 month ago

This one was strictly on the USA Swimming coaching staff.

Unbelievable!

Swimmer A
1 month ago

Always put the men on back and breast. Jacoby was 1:05, Michael Andrew is good for a 58 (7 second swing). Dressel was 47 rounded, Weitzel is good for a 52 (5 second swing)

Even if you have the woman’s gold medalist in breast, you’re still better off putting an average male on that leg.

JimSwim22
Reply to  Swimmer A
1 month ago

Always men on back and breast? How did that with our for GB? Of yeah, they didn’t do that

Paul Thomas
Reply to  Swimmer A
1 month ago

But Murphy (52) and Huske (56) is a worse combo (total 1:48) than Smith (58) and Dressel (49) (total: 1:47).

I don’t think you should prioritize swimming males in early legs over actual better performances.

JVW
Reply to  Swimmer A
1 month ago

Nope. Men on breast and fly, women on back and free. See the comments which break it all out.

Swimmer A
Reply to  Swimmer A
1 month ago

*always* may have been a stretch, but the difference between men and women in breast is greater than all the other strokes.

The US coaches just threw on the highest ranked swimmers. Instead they should have tried using basic math.

John
1 month ago

Jimmy guy 50.00
Are you serious!!!!!!!!!!

JVW
Reply to  John
1 month ago

With a .12 reaction on the relay start. With a flat start that puts him right about 50.5 or 50.6, and that would have been good enough for a bronze medal.

Austin Surhoff
Reply to  John
1 month ago

Big week for him

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  John
1 month ago

Yeah, unfortunately for us, GB’s men’s medley just got unbeatable.

Sub13
1 month ago

Oh this brings Emma to 5 medals this Olympics (most of any competitor in any sport, male or female) and 9 lifetime medals, equal first for Australia. One more and she has the most of any Aussie ever, two more and she takes the record for most medals by a female Olympian ever at a single Olympics.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

So happy for McKeon.

Years she has always been bridesmaid. And she has always delivered where it counts.

Jamie5678
1 month ago

That was a tremendous swim from Britain. Shout out especially for Anna Hopkin. And also for the women that swam the women’s medley relay heats this morning without Dawson and in doing so gave up a probable finals slot.

As a sidenote …

Italy’s M – M front half was very, very good there. Ceccon 52.23 is another Italian record I think and Martinenghi went 57.73. They’ll be in the mix in the men’s medley with Burdisso and Miressi on the back end.

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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