The Russian foursome of Stanislav Donets, Sergei Geibel, Aleksandr Popov, and Evgeny Sedov combined to go a 1:32.78 in prelims of the 4×50 Medley Relay, thus chopping nearly a full second off the previous record held by Italy at 1:33.65.
The previous record had been established at the European Short Course Championships last December, although the standing of this record is slightly controversial in itself. The Russians had broken the 1:33.65 record in the finals of the European Championships last year with a 1:32.38 showing of their own, but after Russian backstroker Vitalii Melnikov tested positive for the hormone EPO, the Russians were stripped of their record status. Even more ridiculously, even though Italy swam faster in the finals of those Championships than they did in the prelims, their finals swim was never fully ratified by FINA, thus leaving us with a rather silly status for the 4×50 medley world record.
Nonetheless, the comparative splits for the old and new record are as follows:
2013 – Italy
Niccolo Bonacchi (23.95), Francesco Di Lecce (26.10), Piero Codia (22.68), Luca Dotto (20.92) – 1:33.65
2014 – Russia
Stanislav Donets (23.73), Sergei Geibel (25.96), Aleksandr Popov (22.47), Evgeny Sedov (20.62) – 1:32.78.
This could be a very short-lived world record as numerous teams cleared the old standard this morning. France (1:33.10), the United States (1:33.25), and Brazil (1:33.48) were all under the old record as well. With numerous substitutions likely to take effect before the finals of this race tonight, we may see plenty of teams clearing the new standard once again.