Great Britain Appeals 400 IM Final; Results Unofficial Until Decision Made

2019 World University Games/Summer Universiade – Swimming

  • July 4th-9th, 2019
  • Napoli, Italy
  • LCM (50m)
  • Live Stream: Olympic Channel (in US), Rai Sport (in Italy)
  • Entry Lists & Live Results

Giusy Cisale contributed to this report.

Women’s 400 IM – Final

  • World Record: 4:26.36, Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2016
  • Meet Record: 4:34.40, Yui Ohashi (JPN), 2017

Podium (unofficial)

  1. Makayla Sargent, USA, 4:37.95
  2. Evie Pfeifer, USA, 4:40.16
  3. Ilaria Cusinato, ITA, 4:40.18

Team Great Britain has filed an appeal with International University Sports Federation (FISU) on behalf of Abbie Wood who missed the final of the women’s 400 IM on Thursday night. Wood had qualified second out of the morning prelims, going 4:42.65 to win her heat. In the final, Wood was present along with the seven other finalists and, according to eyewitnesses, took her place on the block.

What happened next is unclear. Wood claims not to have heard the command “Take your mark.” Other swimmers have said the starter did give the command, but that it wasn’t very loud. They all claim to have heard the beep, however, and with it, they were off. When they hit the water, it was immediately obvious there was a swimmer missing from lane 5; Wood was standing on her block.

A brief video, where Wood can be seen left on the blocks after everyone else starts, and where the recall signal can be heard, is below:

The race turned out to be a three-way battle among USA’s Makayla Sargent and Evie Pfeifer and Italy’s Ilaria Cusinato. Sargent won with a PB of 4:37.95, while Pfeifer just touched out Cusinato for second place.

According to SwimSwam’s Giusy Cisale, who was on deck and witnessed the entire episode, Wood was on the block in the starting position but didn’t hear the “take your mark” command. All the other swimmers had successful starts. Meet officials have offered to allow Wood the opportunity to swim the race as a timed final, but the Great Britain coaching staff do not want her to swim alone.

While FISU has yet to make an official ruling, we expect an answer tomorrow morning. If Team GBR’s only acceptable outcome is to reswim the entire final but the other seven swimmers refuse, it seems likely that FISU will certify the results as swum.

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1 year ago

Seems like it was on her rather than the starter because all the other swimmers had normal starts, even ones in lanes farther over than her

Reply to  Yolo
1 year ago

Usually at these meets, each lane has their own speaker in the block. Is there any word as to whether her speaker was broken?

1 year ago

If everyone else heard it, it’s on her. Maybe she was zoned out or momentarily distracted with her thoughts but that is not grounds for an appeal.

Right Dude Here
Reply to  Pvdh
1 year ago

It’s a hard one for sure, but I doubt a swimmer is gonna be on the blocks at a serious international meet like this and not be 100% focussed.

1 year ago

I mean, she could have just gone still. It’s a sucky situation but still, try your best and compete even with a bad start?

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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