Relay Analysis: All Four Winning Clubs Go Under Existing World Record


The opening day of the 2020 ISL Grand Final was incredibly fast. Multiple individual world records fell, but the relays took things up a notch — every winning relay swam the fastest time in history. The only one that will officially count as a world record was the Cali Condor women’s effort in the 400 medley, since that was the only team made up of four athletes from the same country (USA).

Along with the fastest relays in history, we also saw some of the fastest splits, with Tom Shields dropping a 48.04 on fly and Lilly King unloading a 1:02.40 on breast.

Let’s dive into the splits:

Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay


Swimmer Club Split
Siobhan Haughey Energy Standard “A” 50.94
Freya Anderson London Roar “A” 51.43
Olivia Smoliga Cali Condors “A” 51.65
Beryl Gastaldello LA Current “A” 52.17
Lucy Hope Energy Standard “B” 52.83
Kendyl Stewart LA Current “B” 53.54
Holly Hibbott London Roar “B” 54.48
Veronica Burchill Cali Condors “B” 54.67

Ho-hum, another Asian Record for Siobhan Haughey.

Haughey has been seriously lights out this season, and kept the momentum rolling here by setting another Continental Record leading off for Energy Standard in 50.94. That launched her club to a half-second lead from the hop, and made her the third-fastest swimmer in history.

Freya Anderson, who hasn’t led off a ton for London this season, clocked 51.43 for the third time inside the bubble — tying her best time. Olivia Smoliga hit a PB for Cali in 51.65, while Beryl Gastaldello was about a second off her best for LA in 52.17.

Flying Splits

Swimmer Club Split
Anna Hopkin London Roar “A” 51.28
Femke Heemskerk Energy Standard “A” 51.29
Abbey Weitzeil LA Current “A” 51.35
Sarah Sjostrom Energy Standard “A” 51.55
Andi Murez LA Current “A” 51.58
Pernille Blume Energy Standard “A” 51.59
Anastasia Gorbenko LA Current “A” 51.99
Marie Wattel London Roar “A” 52.22
Mariia Kameneva London Roar “A” 52.24
Allison Schmitt Cali Condors “A” 52.25
Natalie Hinds Cali Condors “A” 52.47
Erika Brown Cali Condors “A” 52.56
Maddy Banic Energy Standard “B” 52.73
Katie McLaughlin LA Current “B” 53.03
Mary-Sophie Harvey Energy Standard “B” 53.08
Sherridon Dressel Cali Condors “B” 53.20
Claire Rasmus LA Current “B” 53.51
Emily Seebohm Energy Standard “B” 53.51
Aly Tetzloff LA Current “B” 53.64
Lia Neal Cali Condors “B” 54.05
Hali Flickinger Cali Condors “B” 54.07
Harriet West London Roar “B” 54.44
Emily Large London Roar “B” 54.55
Aimee Willmott London Roar “B” 54.96

Energy Standard and the LA Current were relatively equal over the final three legs, both getting three swimmers sub-52, as Haughey’s lead-off was ultimately the difference-maker.

The field’s fastest split ended up going to London’s Anna Hopkin, who dropped a 51.28 on the anchor leg. Abbey Weitzeil essentially matched her for LA, splitting 51.35, as the Current held off the Roar for second.

Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay


Swimmer Club Split
Caeleb Dressel Cali Condors “A” 45.18
Evgeny Rylov Energy Standard “A” 46.09
Maxime Rooney LA Current “A” 46.55
Marco Ferreira LA Current “B” 47.13
Ben Proud Energy Standard “B” 47.31
Vini Lanza London Roar “A” 47.35
Marius Kusch London Roar “B” 47.43
Khader Baqlah Cali Condors “B” 47.61

World record watch was in full effect for Caeleb Dressel here after he lowered the all-time marks in back-to-back swims in the 100 fly and 50 free, but he had to settle for an American Record in his third swim in a little over an hour. His time of 45.18 lowered his 45.20 mark set in the semi-finals, leaving him .24 shy of the world record.

That put the Condors almost a full second clear of their biggest challengers, Energy Standard, who had Evgeny Rylov tie his best time on the money in 46.09.

Flying Splits

Swimmer Club Split
Kliment Kolesnikov Energy Standard “A” 45.25
Chad le Clos Energy Standard “A” 45.40
Justin Ress Cali Condors “A” 45.42
Mikhail Vekovishchev London Roar “A” 45.82
Kristian Gkolomeev LA Current “A” 45.87
Apostolos Christou LA Current “B” 45.97
Tom Shields LA Current “A” 46.00
Florent Manaudou Energy Standard “A” 46.04
Tate Jackson Cali Condors “A” 46.33
Kacper Majchrzak Cali Condors “A” 46.53
James Guy London Roar “A” 46.70
Dylan Carter LA Current “A” 46.78
Duncan Scott London Roar “B” 46.86
Elliot Clogg London Roar “B” 46.97
Kregor Zirk Energy Standard “B” 47.13
Andrey Zhilkin Energy Standard “B” 47.15
Simonas Bilis Energy Standard “B” 47.16
Scott McLay London Roar “A” 47.46
Radslaw Kawecki Cali Condors “B” 47.56
Fernando Scheffer LA Current “B” 47.67
Andreas Vazaios London Roar “B” 47.89
Marcin Cieslak Cali Condors “B” 47.95
Andrew Seliskar LA Current “B” 48.24
Gunnar Bentz Cali Condors “B” 48.57

Kliment Kolesnikov has been consistently dropping sub-46 relay splits over the latter half of the season, and did so again here with his fastest yet in 45.25. That put Energy Standard in the lead, and then Chad Le Clos followed with his fastest-ever in 45.40 to extend it.

Justin Ress (45.42) had a strong swim for the Condors, making some inroads on Energy’s Florent Manaudou (46.04), but it wasn’t enough to run down the Frenchman.

Mikhail VekovishchevKristian Gkolomeev and Apostolos Christou joined the party by going under 46 seconds as well.


Women’s 400 Medley Relay

Backstroke Lead-offs

Swimmer Split Time
Olivia Smoliga Cali Condors “A” 55.60
Kira Toussaint London Roar “A” 56.16
Emily Seebohm Energy Standard “A” 56.39
Georgia Davies Energy Standard “B” 57.82
Ali DeLoof LA Current “A” 56.40
Beata Nelson Cali Condors “B” 56.56
Kathleen Dawson London Roar “B” 57.83
Helena Gasson LA Current “B” 58.47

Breaststroke Splits

Swimmer Club Split
Lilly King Cali Condors “A” 1:02.40
Benedetta Pilato Energy Standard “A” 1:03.46
Alia Atkinson London Roar “A” 1:03.56
Molly Hannis Cali Condors “B” 1:03.75
Breeja Larson Energy Standard “B” 1:04.21
Annie Lazor London Roar “B” 1:04.30
Julia Sebastian LA Current “A” 1:05.04
Anastasia Gorbenko LA Current “B” 1:05.06

Butterfly Splits

Swimmer Club Split
Kelsi Dahlia Cali Condors “A” 54.79
Madeline Banic Energy Standard “A” 54.85
Marie Wattel London Roar “A” 54.97
Anastasiya Shkurdai Cali Condors “B” 56.50
Aly Tetzloff Energy Standard “B” 56.61
Natalie Hinds London Roar “B” 57.69
Harriet West LA Current “A” 57.22
Kendyl Stewart LA Current “B” 57.01

Freestyle Splits

Swimmer Club Split
Freya Anderson London Roar “A” 50.44
Femke Heemskerk Energy Standard “B” 50.99
Sarah Sjostrom Energy Standard “A” 51.22
Anna Hopkin London Roar “B” 51.50
Abbey Weitzeil LA Current “A” 51.56
Erika Brown Cali Condors “A” 51.73
Andi Murez LA Current “B” 51.80
Allison Schmitt Cali Condors “B” 52.63

Smoliga followed up her 100 free best time leading off the free relay with her fastest 100 back of the season for Cali on the medley relay, touching in 55.60 to fall just .13 outside of her American Record from 2018. That got the Condors off to a great start, giving them over a half-second buffer on London, who had Kira Toussaint go 56.16 (off her season-best of 55.68).

Cali ended up beating London by six-tenths at the end, so Smoliga outdoing Toussaint was their biggest key to victory.

Lilly King rattled off the fastest split in history on breaststroke, clocking 1:02.40 to go under Katie Meili‘s 1:02.88 from 2015. King’s previous fastest relay leg came in Match 10 (1:03.03).

That swim was followed by Kelsi Dahlia‘s 54.79 on fly, the second-fastest ever behind only Dana Vollmer (54.37), and then Erika Brown anchored them home in 51.73 to set the world record in 3:44.52. The previous record was held by the U.S. team from the 2015 Duel in the Pool, who went 3:45.20 (with Dahlia swimming fly). That relay was also when Meili swam her 1:02.88 breast leg.

Madeline Banic (54.85) and Marie Wattel (54.97) also produced standout sub-55 splits on butterfly, while Freya Anderson blasted one of the fastest in history on freestyle. According to USA Swimming’s database, Anderson’s 50.44 free leg is second only to Cate Campbell‘s 50.38 from the Budapest stop of the 2019 ISL season.

Men’s 400 Medley Relay

Backstroke Lead-offs

Swimmer Club Split
Kliment Kolesnikov Energy Standard “A” 48.58
Ryan Murphy LA Current “A” 49.36
Guilherme Guido London Roar “A” 49.59
Coleman Stewart Cali Condors “A” 49.83
Matt Grevers Energy Standard “B” 50.14
Radoslaw Kawecki Cali Condors “B” 50.24
Luke Greenbank London Roar “B” 50.39
Apostolos Christou LA Current “B” 50.95

Breaststroke Splits

Swimmer Club Split
Adam Peaty London Roar “A” 55.36
Ilya Shymanovich Energy Standard “A” 55.38
Felipe Franca LA Current “A” 56.18
Kirill Prigoda London Roar “B” 56.19
Nic Fink Cali Condors “A” 56.30
Will Licon LA Current “B” 56.94
Felipe Lima Energy Standard “B” 57.13
Kevin Cordes Cali Condors “B” 57.24

Butterfly Splits

Swimmer Club Split
Tom Shields LA Current “A” 48.04
Caeleb Dressel Cali Condors “A” 48.18
Chad le Clos Energy Standard “A” 48.53
Vini Lanza London Roar “B” 49.65
Marius Kusch London Roar “A” 49.69
Marcin Cieslak Cali Condors “B” 50.22
Josh Prenot LA Current “B” 50.43
Kregor Zirk Energy Standard “B” 50.85

Freestyle Splits

Swimmer Club Split
Justin Ress Cali Condors “A” 45.70
Florent Manaudou Energy Standard “A” 45.79
Duncan Scott London Roar “A” 46.03
Maxime Rooney LA Current “A” 46.07
Mikhail Vekovishchev London Roar “B” 46.60
Simonas Bilis Energy Standard “B” 46.77
Kacper Majchrzak Cali Condors “B” 46.78
Marco Ferriera LA Current “B” 46.86

Kliment Kolesnikov smashed the 100 backstroke world record leading off for Energy Standard, blasting a time of 48.58, which set them up well en route to the fastest time in history. Ryan Murphy also hit his fastest time of the season leading off for LA in 49.36.

Adam Peaty (55.36) edged Ilya Shymanovich (55.38) on breast, though he was off his 54.84 from the semis, to briefly pull London into second.

Tom Shields dropped the fastest fly leg ever, under his 2015 mark of 48.07 in 48.04, while Caeleb Dressel (48.18) and Chad Le Clos (48.53) also had elite swims.

Justin Ress had the top anchor in 45.70, but couldn’t quite rundown Maxime Rooney as the LA Current claimed second place.

Florent Manaudou brought Energy Standard home in 45.79 to give the club a final time of 3:18.28, almost a full second under the official world record of 3:19.16 set in 2009.

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10 months ago

Lilly King rattled off the fastest split in history on breaststroke, clocking 1:02.40 to go under Katie Meili‘s 1:02.88 from 2015.

Surely that can’t be right, given that Meilutyte and Atkinson (x2) have been 1:02.36 from a flat start? Do you mean American record?

Or is this like 200 free in LCM, where the three fastest “splits” are dead start times.

Last edited 10 months ago by Joe
Reply to  James Sutherland
10 months ago

Yeah looks like you’re right.

I had a memory that Soni went a supersuited 1:02 flat start — turns out she didn’t swim the relay that meet (2009 Duel in the Pool).

I guess that begs the question — how many events have faster dead start times than flying splits? Here are some guesses (haven’t verified them all but I’m reasonably sure):

  • Women’s 200 free LCM
  • Men’s 100 fly SCM
  • Women’s 100 fly SCM
  • Men’s 200 free SCM
  • Women’s 200 free SCM

Seems like a trend in 200 free.

Reply to  Joe
10 months ago

For butterfly and breaststroke, which are arguably the more physically demanding of the four strokes, the relay adrenaline and hype likely causes an extra burst of energy on the first 50, with the swimmer then slowing down more on the second 50.

Same idea with the 200. A relay swimmer swimming a 200 is more likely to start out guns-a-blazing and try to hold on, versus a smarter swim in the individual.

These are just speaking from my own experiences and observations.

Reply to  Joe
10 months ago

What’s the fastest women’s 100 free SCM split?

Last edited 10 months ago by Troyy
Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Joe
10 months ago

Hey Joe, maybe call them “flat” starts? Those swimmers’ times certainly weren’t “dead”. 🙂

Last edited 10 months ago by Coach Mike 1952
Samuel Huntington
10 months ago

Ress with elite sprint times, keep an eye on him in the future

Reply to  Samuel Huntington
10 months ago

So happy for him. Let’s hope he continues this way. Excited for Team USA’s 4×100 LCM

Reply to  AvidSwimFan
10 months ago

Especially since he boasts the second fastest relay performer in SCY in 40.35.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Samuel Huntington
10 months ago

Yes, wonderful to see how he has consistently been swimming lights out. Very fast, reliable like Zach Apple became this year & of course Nathan Adrian before.

10 months ago

Seeing how Smoliga has been swimming here it’s scary to think she may not even make the Olympic team next year

Reply to  Boobstroke
10 months ago

The race between her and Baker is getting more interesting by the day – I hope she somehow sneaks onto the 4×1 free too but top 6 is looking like a tall ask

Reply to  Peter
10 months ago

Yeah an in-form baker will beat an in-form Smoliga but I do potentially Smoliga getting in a top 6 spot for the 4×1. Would be a dream if she could translate her best 50-free split of 23.9 into a flat start

10 months ago

Hadn’t clocked on that London had split their Men’s 4×1 free teams. If Scott had got close to his split from the Medley relay then it would have worked with a 4th and 5th. As it is, didn’t have the impact London would have hoped

10 months ago

Did the Cali men break the American record for 4x100m medley (3:20.91 from 2015)

Coach Mike 1952
10 months ago

Siobhan Haughey & Femke Heemskerk have also been swimming lights out this meet (in addition to Dressel & Justin Ress – comments above for Justin). Hopkin, Anderson, FloMo, Shields have been going great guns too. This short list is by no means exhaustive, either. Great for the sport of swimming overall. Seems CAC have hit their taper right on; am curious if anyone else thinks LAC or other teams might have missed theirs?

Last edited 10 months ago by Coach Mike 1952
Coach Mike 1952
10 months ago

Siobhan Haughey & Femke Heemskerk have also been swimming lights out this meet (in addition to Dressel & Justin Ress – comments above for Justin). Hopkin, Anderson, FloMo, Shields have been going great guns too. This short list is by no means exhaustive, either. Great for the sport of swimming overall. Seems CAC have hit their taper right on; am curious if anyone else thinks LAC or other teams might have missed theirs?

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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