The 3rd-seeded Russians have made wholesale 4-for-4 changes to their mixed medley relay for Monday’s final, while most of the other contenders have carried forward at least one swimmer from prelims to the evening session.
Russia, who went M-M-F-F in prelims, will swap in their 3 global superstars for finals and swim M-F-F-M. That includes a leadoff from World Record holding backstroker Kliment Kolesnikov, handing off to World Champion breaststroker Yulia Efimova, with the hot-handed Svetlana Chimrova on the butterfly leg and sprinter supreme Vlad Morozov on the anchor leg.
That lineup should improve their time by at least four seconds from the 3:46.45 that they swam in prelims. The lifetime bests of the group put Russia within reach of the European Record, without accounting for the further drops that should come from relay starts. At half-a-second drop per start, that ER is easily within Russian reach.
But they’re not the only relay that had a few aces up their sleeves for finals. Great Britain, the European Record holders (from last year’s World Championships), swam 3:47.44 in prelims – but between a casual 58.49 from Adam Peaty (who has been 57.1 at this meet on a flat start) and their 3 changes for finals, are still the favorites.
They’ve swapped in Georgia Davies on the backstroke leg, who will be on a double in the session with the 100 back semis (as will most of the women who lead off their mixed relays). She then hands off to Peaty, who gives GB a monster advantage over everyone. That leaves Britain with James Guy on the fly leg, and Freya Anderson on the freestyle anchor. She split 54.55 in prelims.
This race should highlight the potential of this mixed medley in terms of pure entertainment value. While Russia will enter a M-F-F-M relay, Great Britain will enter a F-M-M-F relay. That means we’ll see wild swings on nearly every leg of the race, before eventually Morozov tries to run down basically the entire field: the only other country with a male anchor is Italy.
The Dutch, who had the fastest time in the morning heats, made the smallest change: they’ve inserted their best backstroker, Kira Toussaint, in for Maaike De Waard. That could give them as much of a second drop, down to a 3:45-low, but they’ll still need a special anchor from Kromowidjojo to hold of Russia or Great Britain.
Sweden has left Sarah Sjostrom off this relay, which was their best bet to stand on a podium (she alone could have taken as much as 3 seconds off their time). They’ve subbed in Ida Lindborg on the anchor, which picks them up a second or a second-and-a-half.
Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com.
He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming.
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