Relay Lineups: Braving Doubles, China Loads Up For Women’s 4×200 Free Relay


We’ve got final relay lineups for today’s women’s 4×200 free relay. We’ll break down the significant decisions below:

Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay Final – Lineups By Lane

  1. France (Charlotte Bonnet/Assia Touati/Lucile Tessariol/Margaux Fabre)
  2. Russian Olympic Committee (Anna Egorova/Valeriia Salamatina/Veronika Andrusenko/Anastasia Guzhenkova)
  3. China (Yang Junxuan/Tang Muhan/Zhang Yufei/Li Bingjie)
  4. Australia (Ariarne Titmus/Emma McKeon/Madison Wilson/Leah Neale)
  5. USA (Allison Schmitt/Paige Madden/Katie McLaughlin/Katie Ledecky)
  6. Canada (Summer McIntosh/Rebecca Smith/Kayla Sanchez/Penny Oleksiak)
  7. Germany (Isabel Gose/Leonie Kullmann/Marie Pietruschka/Annika Bruhn)
  8. Hungary (Zsuzsanna Jakabos/Laura Veres/Ajna Kesely/Boglarka Kapas)

Some significant choices/changes:


As previously reported, Australia will swap out all four legs from its prelims relay. We knew 200 free gold medalist Ariarne Titmus and all-around star Emma McKeon would be subbing in. It’ll be Madi Wilson and Leah Nealeon the other two legs.

The main gamble here (as much as you can consider it a gamble when almost any Australian lineup would probably win gold in this event) is leaving 17-year-old Mollie O’Callaghan off this relay after she led off in a world junior record 1:55.11 this morning. If anyone goes slower than that and it costs Australia a shot at the world record, there will be some level of second-guessing, even if the Aussies still win gold.


The U.S. could have tried out Olivia Smoliga, but that would be a pretty big gamble, even after Allison Schmitt was just 1:56.8 in the individual race. Smoliga has only been 1:57.0 this year, so the upside probably still remains with the former Olympic champion Schmitt.


In the 4×100 free relay, China chose to prioritize individual events over the optimal relay lineup, keeping a couple of their best legs on the sidelines instead of having them double up with individual events. The result was a 7th-place finish in a relay that wasn’t all that fast outside of Australia’s gold-medal crew.

China will take the opposite approach here, subbing in both Yang Junxuan and Zhang Yufei after qualifying third last night. Yang will double up with the 100 free semifinals and Zhang with the 200 fly final, but having them on the relay makes China a legitimate medal contender.


Canada will keep prelims standout Rebecca Smith on this relay after she blasted a key 1:55.9 split in heats with a very safe relay exchange. But outside of her, they’ll replace the entire rest of their prelims lineup.

We knew 200 free bronze medalist Penny Oleksiak would join the mix, even with the 100 free semis earlier in the session. 200 free 9th-placer Summer McIntosh was pretty much a lock as well. And it’s no surprise that Kayla Sanchez joins the lineup after scratching out of the 100 free semis. (She was 10th coming out of heats).

Other notes:

  • Russia will swim the same four, but in a different order. Anna Egorova will lead off after anchoring in prelims.
  • Hungary should be set up for a drop tonight after adding Boglarka Kapas to the lineup. She’s got that tough 200 fly/200 free double tonight, but she replaces Evelyn Verraszto, who went just 2:00.35 on the relay this morning.

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1 month ago

Bit surprised to see Summer McIntosh leading off instead of Kayla Sanchez. But then again, the 14-year old has NEVER raced a national team relay before.

1 month ago

Lets move on!!!! Mollie shows she will have a great future. 53.03 & 155.11 for a girl who just turned 17, if she swam for any other country, we’d be seeing her in many individual events & people talking about her big potential.

Pacific Whirl
1 month ago

No Hosszù for Hungary.

1 month ago

Schmitt leadoff vs Titmus is a big mistake. Australia will be ahead by 4+ seconds

1 month ago

Schmitt sandwich between Titmus and Macintosh. Best case scenario Schmitt goes 1:55.8 madden,McLaughlin ledecky reel in Australia (little chance take gold)

1 month ago

Australia is lucky they’re such big favorites because I think throwing the slowest swimmer against Ledecky and Oleksiak on the anchor is a dubious strategy.

1 month ago

So Australia’s line-up is from fastest to slowest. Hopefully they will be leading by a wide margin by 600m and Neale can just swim without much pressure and seals the deal.

Sean C.
1 month ago

As I suggested/hoped earlier, putting Summer first is the smart thing to do. Thanks to COVID, she’s now at the Olympics before even attending a FINA World Juniors and hasn’t done a relay handoff like this on the world stage.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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