Move Over Lezak: Duncan’s Was Bigger (RACE VIDEO)


Jason Lezak‘s was faster, but Duncan Scott‘s was bigger. You already know that Duncan Scott‘s 46.14 anchor leg to lead Great Britain’s men’s 400 medley relay to gold on Sunday is the 2nd-fastest 100 freestyle split in any history, behind only the famous Jason Lezak 46.06 from Lezak. That Lezak split is, and will continue to be, iconic, given that he did it against the French, with whom the US had spun up a big rivalry heading into that meet, and because it preserved Michael Phelps’ quest for a record 8 gold medals in one Olympic Games. On a literal level, Lezak’s swim was immensely more valuable that was Scott’s: Michael Phelps went from “a very wealthy man” to a “generationally wealthy man” after that 8 gold medal performance.

As great and as spine-tingling as that swim was, however, on Sunday, Scott actually made up a bigger deficit, and this time the Americans were on the receiving end. Nathan Adrian, who was a prelims swimmer on that American 400 free relay in Beijing, left the blocks 1.11 seconds ahead of Scott on Sunday, and ultimately finished .55 seconds behind him

Lezak, meanwhile, was a mere .59 seconds behind France’s Alain Bernard when he left the blocks. The scale of Lezak’s comeback looked bigger than it really was because of the way Bernard pulled away from him going into the turn before Lezak clawed back. At the turn, Lezak was .82 seconds behind, which was still smaller than the 1.11 second gap that Scott had to make up.

When asked after the race if the fact that Scott’s split being the 2nd-fastest ever made him feel better about losing the lead, Adrian, in his uniquely Adrian way, smiled and said “no.”

So now maybe we need to consider adding a new verb to our swimming vocabularies. Instead of getting Lezak’ed now swimmers will get Dunc’d on. The two are not quite synonyms – Lezak’ed has a connotation of being insanely exciting, huge in the hugest moment, while Dunc’d is a more utilitarian comeback term – based on ‘scale of the distance’ more than ‘scale of the moment’ (though a World Championship final is certainly still a moment of scale).

Below, watch video of Lezak’s comeback, for the memories. Then, below that, watch video of Scott’s comeback, for the clapback.

Duncan Scott:

See the race in the UK here.

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4 years ago


SuperSwimmer 2000
4 years ago

No. Just no.

Scott 85
4 years ago

anyone notice in the interviews after medley rela,y Caeleb Dressel was amped up on too much pre-workout I had to watch it twice!

But great performances!

4 years ago

I don’t know about anybody else, but I felt Ryan Murphy’s interview came off a bit negative…in the grand scheme of things, I know Adrian said it didn’t feel any better that he got run down by the 2nd fastest split in history, but I feel like they were, maybe lost in the moment, but missing the greatness that happened on that relay…Adrian was just months removed from cancer treatments yet putting up some of his best times ever…Dressel, after a really long, tiresome week, split the fastest split in history in fly, Wilson also split one of the fastest breast splits in american history and murphy, while slightyly off, still was respectable and representable. I honestly don’t think USA… Read more »

Reply to  jim
4 years ago

The freestyle leg has the most possibilities next year. More than just Adrian, Apple, and Pieroni. Just looking at the results of WUGs and with Nationals still to come. Some of the people being mentioned as relay swimmers on the 4×100 probably won’t even final in Omaha.

Reply to  jim
4 years ago

You’ve also got the potential of Farris in either the backstroke or free legs. Based on what he did at NCAAs and this summer, he’ll be in the conversation for both. Also be interesting to see what Urlando can put together in the 1Fly given another year.

Bobo Gigi
4 years ago

One will remain history and not the other.

4 years ago

Some interesting comments. However, bottom line, GB won, Duncan Scott was amazing.

Reply to  Bruce
4 years ago

Gotta admit. Watching Duncan close on Adrian left me dumbfounded…that was down right amazing…Adrian had a decent swim. He was really down on himself after the race..Duncan Scott was just amazing…Congrats GB.

4 years ago

aasdf sdf

My two cents
4 years ago

The race was really lost by Dressel’s slow relay pick up and long finish causing Adrian to have a slow start as well.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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