Relay Analysis: Anderson, Vekovishchev Shine For London Roar

2020 INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING LEAGUE – MATCH 8

London and Cali won two relays apiece on day one of Match 8, with the Condors holding a tight 8.5-point advantage over the Roar at the halfway mark.

All four relays elicited some quick swims, including London’s Freya Anderson and Mikhail Vekovishchev producing the fastest split on their respective legs for both the free and medley.

We’ll take a closer look into all of the day one splits below.

Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay

Lead-offs

Swimmer Split
Freya Anderson (LON) 51.88
Olivia Smoliga (CAC) 52.24
Arina Surkova (NYB) 52.79
Daria S Ustinova (NYB) 53.24
Rio Shirai (TOK) 53.25
Chihiro Igarashi (TOK) 53.71
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (LON) 53.87
Veronica Burchill (CAC) 54.94

Anderson blasted the Roar off to the lead in the women’s 400 free relay in 51.88, putting her almost four-tenths clear of Olivia Smoliga of the Cali Condors, who set a new lifetime best in 52.24. Anderson swam a personal best of 51.43 in Match 5.

Arina Surkova cracked 53 for the first time this season for the New York Breakers, while Veronica Burchill was relatively off for Cali’s ‘B’ team in 54.94. Burchill has been as quick as 53.56 with a relay takeover this season.

Flying Splits

Swimmer Split
Anna Hopkin (LON) 51.71
Erika Brown (CAC) 51.94
Natsumi Sakai (TOK) 52.06
Marie Wattel (LON) 52.10
Natalie Hinds (CAC) 52.34
Allison Schmitt (CAC) 52.54
Abbie Wood (NYB) 52.54
Signe Bro (NYB) 52.96
Maria Kameneva (LON) 53.04
Catie Deloof (TOK) 53.11
Runa Imai (TOK) 53.43
Hali Flickinger (CAC) 53.61
Sherridon Dressel (CAC) 53.68
Kelsi Dahlia (CAC) 53.72
Simona Kubova (TOK) 54.00
Svetlana Chimrova (NYB) 54.12
Holly Hibbott (LON) 54.36
Aimee Willmott (LON) 54.80
Anna Ntountounaki (TOK) 54.94
Ajna Kesely (NYB) 55.14
Leah Smith (TOK) 55.24
Tevyn Waddell (NYB) 55.48
Kathleen Dawson (LON) 55.78
Chloe Golding (NYB) 56.17

The field’s top split goes to Anna Hopkin, who erased London’s half-second deficit on the anchor leg with a scintillating 51.71. Hopkin has now split sub-52 three times this season, having gone 51.66 and 51.71 in Match 5.

Hopkin took back the lead that Erika Brown had given the Condors, as the Tennessee grad broke 52 for the first time in 51.94. Brown was 52.09 on Cali’s mixed free relay during Match 4.

Natsumi Sakai led the Tokyo Frog Kings to third place, splitting well under her all-time best (52.60) in 52.06.

For the Breakers, the combination of Surkova and Abbie Wood (52.54) allowed them to tie for fourth despite having two swimmers split over 55.

Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay

Lead-offs

Swimmer Split
Shinri Shioura (TOK) 46.92
Kacper Majchrzak (CAC) 46.95
Damian Wierling (NYB) 47.28
Vini Lanza (LON) 47.30
Tate Jackson (CAC) 47.52
Jacob Whittle (NYB) 48.33
Yuki Kobori (TOK) 48.49
Scott McLay (LON) 48.91

Shinri Shioura broke 47 seconds for the first time this season (including flying legs) for Tokyo in 46.92, giving them the slight edge over Kacper Majchrzak and the Condors. Majchrzak has been as fast as 46.57 this season.

Flying Splits

Swimmer Split
Mikhail Vekovishchev (LON) 45.94
Caeleb Dressel (CAC) 45.97
Justin Ress (CAC) 46.27
Markus Thormeyer (TOK) 46.41
Khader Baqlah (CAC) 46.76
Marcin Cieslak (CAC) 46.88
James Guy (LON) 47.01
Duncan Scott (LON) 47.04
Radoslaw Kawecki (CAC) 47.07
Marius Kusch (LON) 47.13
Kosuke Matsui (TOK) 47.17
Pieter Timmers (NYB) 47.22
Matthew Richards (NYB) 47.32
Tom Dean (LON) 47.32
Andreas Vazaios (LON) 47.32
Bruno Fratus (TOK) 47.38
Joe Litchfield (NYB) 47.41
Adam Telegdy (NYB) 47.91
Naoki Mizunuma (TOK) 48.01
Michal Poprawa (NYB) 48.50
Lewis Clareburt (NYB) 48.50
Tomoru Honda (TOK) 48.54
Gunnar Bentz (CAC) 48.91
Kosuke Hagino (TOK) 48.93

Vekovishchev turned in the top split for London in 45.94, moving them up from fourth to second behind Cali. Prior to this swim, the Russian’s fastest swim this season came on a flat start: 47.36. His fastest relay split ever had been 46.32 from the 2018 SC Worlds.

Justin Ress split 46.27 to keep the Condors ahead of the Roar on Vekovishchev’s leg, and then after the third swimmers were relatively even, Caeleb Dressel shut the door with a 45.97 anchor.

Markus Thormeyer had a huge anchor for Tokyo in 46.41, moving them past the Breakers for third and putting pressure on Duncan Scott and the Roar.

Khader Baqlah was the difference in getting Cali’s ‘B’ team ahead of London’s with his 46.76 leg. This was only the Jordan native’s second 100 free relay swim of the season, with the other being a 47.93 from Match 1.

Women’s 400 Medley Relay

Backstroke Splits

Swimmer Split
Olivia Smoliga (CAC) 56.10
Rio Shirai (TOK) 56.71
Kira Toussaint (LON) 56.75
Beata Nelson (CAC) 57.64
Simona Kubova (TOK) 57.85
Alicja Tchorz (NYB) 58.47
Kathleen Dawson (LON) 58.76
Tevyn Waddell (NYB) 59.40

Breaststroke Splits

Swimmer Split
Lilly King (CAC) 1:03.20
Alia Atkinson (LON) 1:03.80
Molly Hannis (CAC) 1:03.94
Annie Lazor (LON) 1:04.29
Molly Renshaw (NYB) 1:04.62
Miho Teramura (TOK) 1:04.82
Sarah Vasey (NYB) 1:05.58
Reona Aoki (TOK) 1:05.78

Butterfly Splits

Swimmer Split
Kelsi Dahlia (CAC) 55.77
Suzuka Hasegawa (TOK) 56.13
Svetlana Chimrova (NYB) 56.20
Marie Wattel (LON) 56.21
Anna Ntountounaki (TOK) 56.41
Arina Surkova (NYB) 56.88
Harriet West (LON) 57.39
Erika Brown (CAC) 57.63

Freestyle Splits

Swimmer Split
Freya Anderson (LON) 51.15
Kasia Wasick (NYB) 51.52
Anna Hopkin (LON) 51.76
Daria S Ustinova (NYB) 52.32
Allison Schmitt (CAC) 52.43
Natalie Hinds (CAC) 52.72
Catie Deloof (TOK) 52.95
Runa Imai (TOK) 53.41

London figured to give Cali their toughest test yet in the women’s medley relay, a race the Condors have not lost in ISL history. That proved to be true, but Cali still got the job done by just over a tenth in 3:47.79.

That came from the Condors’ strength on the first three legs, as Olivia Smoliga (56.10), Lilly King (1:03.20) and Kelsi Dahlia (55.77) all had the top splits in the field. King’s split was her fastest of the season, just off her career-best 1:03.11, and Dahlia also had her quickest split of 2020.

It marked the first time this season that three women split sub-1:04 on breaststroke, as Alia Atkinson (1:03.80) and Molly Hannis (1:03.94) joined King under the barrier.

Holding a 1.69-second lead at the 300, Natalie Hinds managed to narrowly hold off London’s Anderson in 52.72, while the Brit blasted the fastest leg in 51.15. Last match, Anderson had a career-best 51.04 leg.

Kasia Wasick and Hopkin also cracked 52 on the anchor. Tokyo was solid everywhere and placed third.

Men’s 400 Medley Relay

Backstroke Splits

Swimmer Split
Ryosuke Irie (TOK) 50.18
Guilherme Guido (LON) 50.19
Christian Diener (LON) 50.53
Coleman Stewart (CAC) 50.56
Radoslaw Kawecki (CAC) 50.70
Markus Thormeyer (TOK) 51.59
Adam Telegdy (NYB) 52.06
Joe Litchfield (NYB) 52.51

Breaststroke Splits

Swimmer Split
Adam Peaty (LON) 56.40
Yasuhiro Koseki (TOK) 56.49
Kirill Prigoda (LON) 56.83
Michael Andrew (NYB) 57.02
Kevin Cordes (CAC) 58.16
Shoma Sato (TOK) 58.27
Nic Fink (CAC) 59.55

Butterfly Splits

Swimmer Split
Mikhail Vekovishchev (LON) 49.42
Caeleb Dressel (CAC) 49.43
Takeshi Kawamoto (TOK) 49.81
Vini Lanza (LON) 49.86
Marcin Cieslak (CAC) 50.10
Naoki Mizunuma (TOK) 50.14
Michal Poprawa (NYB) 50.28

Freestyle Splits

Swimmer Split
Kacper Majchrzak (CAC) 46.34
Duncan Scott (LON) 46.52
Pieter Timmers (NYB) 46.73
Marius Kusch (LON) 46.83
Vladimir Morozov (TOK) 46.86
Justin Ress (CAC) 47.04
Shinri Shioura (TOK) 47.26

There wasn’t much in the men’s race the whole way between both London clubs and Tokyo.

With just .03 between both ‘A’ teams at the 300, Duncan Scott managed to take out Vlad Morozov to give the Roar the victory with a 46.52 leg.

Ryosuke Irie gave the Frog Kings the slight advantage on backstroke in 50.18, having been as fast as 49.87 this season, while Adam Peaty was .02 off his 2020 best to lead the breaststrokers for London in 56.40.

On fly, it was once again Vekovishchev (49.42) out-splitting Dressel (49.43), though he did it from London’s ‘B’ relay. This turned out to be far and away the most competitive fly group we’ve seen this season, with four men splitting sub-50 and the slowest being 50.28 (though we don’t know what Matthew Richards split for the Breakers due to James Wilby disqualifying the team on the breaststroke leg).

Breaststroke continues to be the weak spot for the Condors, as Nic Fink has returned from injury but is still clearly not 100%. Kevin Cordes hasn’t been able to gain any momentum this season either.

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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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