Relay Roundup: Men’s 4×100 Freestyle Relay Split Breakdown

Our relay roundup from last night’s women’s 4×100 freestyle relay was such a hit that we’re going to continue this series for the rest of the games.  Each member of the Team USA quartet put together great swims tonight to record the fastest textile swim in history.  Here’s a breakdown of the eight finals teams, including a list of the fastest splits from the field:

GOLD: United States – 3:09.92

Caeleb Dressel – 48.10
Michael Phelps – 47.12
Ryan Held – 47.73
Nathan Adrian – 46.97

Without an ounce of sugarcoating or homer-ism, Team USA by far had the best overall relay performance; the right personnel swam tonight, and they were firing on all cylinders.  Caeleb Dressel gave the U.S. nearly a body length lead off the start, and held it together enough to turn in a new lifetime best.  Michael Phelps did what he does best, biding his time through the first 50 before rocketing off the turn to give Olympic rookie Ryan Held a big lead.  Held swam a collected, controlled race to keep the lead for Nathan Adrianwho has shut the door time and time again for Team USA, and may be the best closer in the world.

There were a lot of questions when Held got the nod to over Anthony Ervin to swim in finals, after Ervin turned in a slightly faster swim in prelims.  We haven’t heard how the decision was made (if Ervin elected not to swim finals, or if the coaches made the call), but regardless of how it took place, going with Held was the right decision, even if the U.S. didn’t win gold tonight.  Ervin definitely has more pure speed and probably a “higher ceiling” on relays, but he hasn’t been particularly consistent in the 100 in recent years, and when he’s off, he’s way off.

SILVER: France – 3:10.53

Mehdy Metalla – 48.08
Fabien Gilot – 48.20
Florent Manaudou – 47.14
Jeremy Stravius – 47.11

Three of these four legs were exactly what France needed.  Mehdy Metalla closed quickly on Dressel and finished with a lifetime-best 48.08; Florent Manaudou not only held together for the full 100, but also dropped one of the fastest splits in the field; and that may have been the fastest split of Jeremy Stravius’s career.

However, Fabien Gilot slipped up on the second leg, splitting over a full second slower than last summer in Kazan (47.08).  Gilot has been a staple on the French 4×100 free relay for the last five years, and has routinely split in the 47.2-47.7 range.  The ground lost by Gilot to Phelps was too much to overcome.

BRONZE: Australia – 3:11.37

James Roberts – 48.88
Kyle Chalmers – 47.38
James Magnussen – 48.11
Cameron McEvoy – 47.00

Although they managed to came home with a medal behind a quick anchor from Cameron McEvoy, this felt like a swing-and-miss for the Australian men.  Seen the favorites by many, the Aussies were out of the race from the start when James Roberts turned in a 48.88 leadoff.  Kyle Chalmers brought them back in the medal picture with a strong second leg (though he was 47.04 this morning), but Australia couldn’t afford to have James Magnussen (who would realistically max out at 47.8-48.0) dive in for the third leg a full second behind the U.S.

4TH: Russia – 3:11.64

Andrey Grechin – 48.68
Danila Izotov – 48.00
Vladimir Morozov – 47.31
Alexander Sukhorukov – 47.65

With the well-known controversy surrounding the Russian team, there’s plenty of swim fans who are happy to see this squad miss the podium.  Danila Izotov, Vladimir Morozov, and Alexander Sukhorukov were all solid, but Andrey Grechin was a full half-second slower than he was at Russian Nationals in April.

5TH: Brazil – 3:13.21

Marcelo Chierighini – 48.12
Nicolas Nilo – 48.26
Gabriel Santos – 48.72
Joao De Lucca – 48.11

There was a big gap between fourth and fifth place tonight; Brazil couldn’t expect to medal with nobody breaking 48 seconds.  Marcelo Chierighini’s 48.12 lead off was great (and sets him up to compete for the A-final in the individual 100), but you can’t get away with a 48.72 from a flying start when nobody else is under the 48 mark.  Not having Bruno Fratus in the final (48.08 last summer at Worlds) really hurt.  Joao De Lucca rebounded from a disappointing individual 200 freestyle this morning with a good 48.11 anchor leg.

6TH: Belgium – 3:13.57

Glenn Surgeloose – 48.73
Jasper Aerents – 48.47
Emmanuel Vanluchene – 48.82
Pieter Timmers – 47.55

The Belgians jumped up three spots from their 9th place finish at 2015 Worlds, with the improvement of Glenn Surgeloose serving as the catalyst.  Prior to this season, Surgeloose was typically splitting 49-low from a flying start, which translates to roughly a full second slower from a flat start than this evening.  Jasper Aerents, at 48.47, also had a quick split relative to expectations.

7TH: Canada – 3:14.35

Santo Condorelli – 48.51
Yuri Kisil – 47.76
Markus Thormeyer – 48.40
Evan Van Moerkerke – 49.68

Canada has been on a roll through two days, but tonight’s relay was bit disappointing.  Santo Condorelli was a half-second slower than he was last summer, and anchor leg Evan Van Moerkerke had the slowest split in the entire field by nearly a full second.  To be fair, Yuri Kisil (47.76) and Markus Thormeyer (48.40) were very solid.

8TH: Japan – 3:37.78

Katsumi Nakamura – 48.49
Shinri Shioura – 48.65
Kenji Kobase – 48.79
Junya Koga – 48.55

The Japanese didn’t have a realistic chance at a medal tonight; they just don’t have the sprint depth to contend, and the closest thing they have to “go-to” sprinters were a bit off.  Katsumi Nakamura is the closest thing they a a half-second slower than this morning, and Shinri Shioura was three tenths slower from a relay start than his flat start best of 48.35 from Japanese Nationals.

Fastest splits:

  1. 46.97 – Nathan Adrian – USA
  2. 47.00 – Cameron McEvoy – Australia
  3. 47.11 – Jeremy Stravius – France
  4. 47.12 – Michael Phelps – USA
  5. 47.14 – Florent Manaudou – France
  6. 47.31 – Vladimir Morozov – Russia
  7. 47.38 – Kyle Chalmers – Australia
  8. 47.55 – Pieter Timmers – Belgium

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1 year ago

France and the U.S, they are big enemies for the gold in this event.
2008: U.S break WR and Lezak beats Alain Bernard by 0.08
2012: France beats U.S for revenge. Agnel beats Lochte in the final leg
2016: U.S.A beats France AGAIN
2020: I predict France might beet U.S this time, or maybe not

1 year ago

France had 2 guys flat-start below 48.5 in 2019, and a best of 48.2.

The US had 10 guys flat-start below 48.5 in 2019, and a best of 46.9.

Not sure US-France is going to be the battle this year 🙂

5 years ago

Dressels flat start, phelps turn and helds relay start were all huge. Shows the importance of the details. Would’ve been way closer without those big components

5 years ago

For Japan, I think you mean 3:17, not 3:37.

5 years ago

What a great race by the US — everyone did their individual jobs to perfection. There’s a lot of talk today about Phelps’ 47.12, and even more talk about his turn, which was truly magical…but here’s the number that impresses me more than any other…Phelps’ reaction time on the exchange with Dressel was timed at 0.08 seconds!!!! (Dressel: 0.65, Held: 0.39, Adrian: 0.35). So much for reflexes slowing with age…The intangibles are mindblowing! Congratulations to all 7 relay swimmers on the day…was great to watch.

5 years ago

Not a fan of the RIO swimming results website. (it doesn’t provide splits, or I can’t find them)

1. DRESSEL Caeleb
22.77 25.33

2. PHELPS Michael
22.53 24.59
1:10.63 1:35.22

3. HELD Ryan
22.29 25.44
1:57.51 2:22.95

4. ADRIAN Nathan
22.10 24.87
2:45.05 3:09.92

Stan Crump
5 years ago

Nice job Swimmers and Coaches!

5 years ago

I say always post reaction times when posting the splits as that is clearly a relay stat a coach would look at as well. Relay reaction is something college kids definitely have practice with.

5 years ago

Phelps for the 4×200 relay!!

Pau Hana
Reply to  swimmermama
5 years ago

I think so unless one all of the relay-only swimmers show something amazing or Phelps has a bad 200 fly (which isn’t likely). I’d expect an evening team of Dwyer, Haas, Phelps, and Conger/Lochte (very curious to see if Lochte shows stronger form than at trials).

About Morgan Priestley

Morgan Priestley

A Stanford University and Birmingham, Michigan native, Morgan Priestley started writing for SwimSwam in February 2013 on a whim, and is loving that his tendency to follow and over-analyze swim results can finally be put to good use. Morgan swam competitively for 15+ years, primarily excelling in the mid-distance freestyles. While …

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