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

We have covered Australia’s world record in the women’s 400 freestyle relay in a separate article, but with 32 swimmers competing in each relay final, there’s more to the story than just new records.  To address that, we’ve put together a breakdown of each of the eight finals teams, starting with the gold-medal-winning Aussies.


GOLD: Australia – 3:30.65 – WR

Emma McKeon – 53.41
Brittany Elmslie – 53.12
Bronte Campbell – 52.15
Cate Campbell – 51.97

Australia came away with a comfortable win and world record, but the splits tell us they were far from perfect.  Emma McKeon was 52.80 individually at Australian Trials; Bronte Campbell has been well under the 52-second barrier before, with a 51.77 at last summer’s World Championships; and her sister Cate Campbell is the current world record holder in the individual 100 free at 52.06.  Conservatively, the Aussies should have been under the 3:30 mark, but in the end, their final time easily got the job done.

SILVER: United States – 3:31.89

Simone Manuel – 53.36
Abbey Weitzeil – 52.56
Dana Vollmer – 53.18
Katie Ledecky – 52.79

Overall, this was a very strong performance for Team USA.  Abbey Weitzeil had an excellent takeover off of Simone Manuelbuilding a big lead at the 150 mark, and keeping the American women in the race.  Manuel wasn’t quite up to expectations leading off, but her 53.36 is still among the world’s best.  Dana Vollmer‘s leg was more than respectable (though Amanda Weir may have been a better option after her 53.60 leadoff this morning), and Katie Ledecky gave just about as much as she could on the end.  Even if the coaching staff elected to keep Weir on the relay instead of Vollmeror if Manuel was a hair faster this evening, or if Ledecky further defied logic with a 52.0 split, Australia would still have come away with gold.

BRONZE: Canada – 3:32.89

Sandrine Mainville – 53.86
Chantel Van Landeghem – 53.12
Taylor Ruck – 53.19
Penny Oleksiak – 52.72

Wow.  Keep an eye out for Team Canada the rest of the week.  Canada snagging a medal would of been an upset if you had asked anyone 24 hours ago.  That narrative shifted, however, after Canada got 52.90 and 53.04 splits from Chantal Van Landeghem and Taylor Ruck this morning.  Both were a tad slower this evening (53.12 and 53.19, respectively), but the addition of 16-year-old phenom Penny Oleksiak to the finals lineup made the difference.  When the clock stopped, the Canadian women re-broke the national record set in the preliminary heats.

 4TH: Netherlands – 3:33.81

Marrit Steenbergen – 54.29
Femke Heemskerk – 53.47
Inge Dekker – 53.85
Ranomi Kromowidjojo – 52.20

This one was a bit puzzling.  Led by Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Femke Heemskerk, the Dutch women have won a medal at all but one major international competition since 2006 (including multiple golds).  Heemskerk was way off her game tonight, finishing nearly a full second slower than her 52.69 flat start from the 2015 Eindhoven Swim Cup, and 1.5 seconds slower than her 51.99 split from Kazan last summer.  Ranomi Kromowidjojo‘s 52.20 shows that she’s ready to compete, but the remaining two legs from Marrit Steenbergen and Inge Dekker weren’t good enough to win a medal.

5TH: Sweden – 3:35.90

Michelle Coleman – 54.19
Sarah Sjostrom – 52.47
Ida Marko-Varga – 54.70
Louise Hansson – 54.54

The Swedish have hung around in the top five for years, largely due to Sarah Sjostrom, but they usually boast a solid supporting cast that delivers at least one strong swim to complement their star.  Michelle Coleman posted an adequate 54.19, but Louise Hansson was nearly a full second slower than she was on last summer’s fourth place Worlds team (53.84).  Sjostrom has been better, but even a 51.5 split would not have keep Sweden in the race tonight.

6TH: Italy – 3:36.78

Erika Ferraioli – 55.21
Silvia Di Pietro – 53.69
Aglaia Pezzato – 53.99
Federica Pellegrini – 53.89

The Italian quartet dropped nearly a second from their silver medal performance at the European Championships in May, with Aglaia Pezzato cutting 1.1 seconds off her split.  Federica Pellegrini was slower than expected, but given her 53.17 split in the heats this morning, there’s not necessarily a reason to worry about her individual events.

7TH: France – 3:37.45

Beryl Gastaldello – 54.83
Charlotte Bonnet – 53.17
Mathilde Cini – 54.92
Anna Santamans – 54.53

Charlotte Bonnet and Anna Santamans did their part, but Beryl Gastaldello and Mathilde Cini were disappointing; Gastaldello cracked 54 seconds last summer individually, and Cini was 54.44 from a flat start from four months ago.

8TH: Japan – 3:37.78

Miki Uchida – 54.23
Rikako Ikee – 53.98
Misaki Yamaguchi – 55.11
Yayoi Matsumoto – 54.46

The Japanese were a full second slower than this morning, with their 2-4 swimmers all splitting slower than their lifetime best flat start times.  However, Miki Uchida put together a good leadoff split.

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Lp Man

Not going to lie, pretty disappointed with Aussie time. Americans did all they could, but Aussies should have been a 329 at slowest


They broke the world record and won. Sorry you were disappointed.Tough crowd.


Yeah i pretty disappointed that a country with 330 mill can’t compete with a 23 mil nation…..hmmmm
Hopefully Cate swims under 50 secs to please some.


I think that Australians were really pushed by American girl
Unexpectedly slow second half by Cate Campbell – 27.82(!!). She usually does it with 27 very low.

Lp Man

“Not up to expectations “? Wasn’t that a person best for manuel?


2014 Pan Pacs (Goldcoast, Australia), Simone Manuel led off the 4×100 freestyle relay in 53.25 (drafting off Cate Campbell)

Lp Man

Close enough. Certainly seems like it is not worth a “not up to expectations” comment


I felt like Katie really struggled to hop on that bow wave from cate campbell at the start and really could not. I also felt like her stroke looked a bit off than the usual smooth flowing stroke we are used to. Is that her sprinting technique or was her rhythm thrown off a bit by Campbell’s wave ?


maybe answer the question instead of downvoting -_-


Dont have an answer since i couldnt watch the race but theres an upvote for yah. Got some real “lovely” people on this site


Your explanation can be very accurate. Ledecky was much slower at start in final then she was in prelim race. Look at her splits:
Prelim – 25.07 (rt – 0.37)
Final – 25.39 (rt – 0.18)
I thought originally that explanation of such huge difference can be the change of strategy or effect of late time, but what you said can be what it was.


Ledecky’s time of the first half (adjusted to reaction time) in the afternoon race was faster than times of any other American sprinter in final.
Weitzeil – 24.94 (rt – 0.21)
Vollmer – 25.01(rt – 0.21)
Manuel – 25.64 (rt – 0.69)


Where do you see the reaction times on the relay exchanges? I was wondering about them. Thanks.

This site has all times, RTs and splits. I got some difficulties at the beginning to understand the logic of navigation to the desired page at this site. But it does exist 🙂


When you’re behind you’ve got to deal with waves. Part of the sport. Ledecky is a great distance swimmer who is talented enough to swim a sprint relay. Perhaps still learning to sprint.


Katie’s super fast, and could probably be even faster if her head could stabilize. Cate Campbell puts on a clinic every time.

Tea rex

In Ledecky’s defense, she is almost never in the position to draft off another swimmer.

She’s not Jason Lezak – her relay experience is pretty much limited to anchoring the 4×200 with a giant lead.

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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