A recent Instagram story from Olympian Ryan Held posited that no other “name group” could beat an “all-Ryan” relay and while he has a strong case, let’s look a little closer and see what name would generate the most competition.
By “name group”, we mean a relay consisting of four swimmers who share the same first name. Held’s post referred to a 4×100 medley so we’ll first look at that race. Check out the team that Held drew up, followed by the four strongest contingents we could think of: Team Michael, Team James, Team Matt/Matthew, and Team Adam.
- Backstroke: Ryan Murphy (USA)
- Breaststroke: Ryan Lochte (USA)
- Butterfly: Ryan Hoffer (USA)
- Freestyle: Ryan Held (USA)
- Backstroke: Michael Phelps (USA)
- Breaststroke: Michael Andrew (USA)
- Butterfly: Milorad “Mike” Cavic (SRB)
- Freestyle: Michael Klim (AUS)
- Backstroke: James Goddard (GBR)
- Breaststroke: James Wilby (GBR)
- Butterfly: James Guy (GBR)
- Freestyle: James Magnussen (AUS)
- Backstroke: Matt Grevers (USA)
- Breaststroke: Matthew Wilson (AUS)
- Butterfly: Matt Biondi (USA)
- Freestyle: Matthew Richards (GBR)
- Backstroke: Adam Telegdy (HUN)
- Breaststroke: Adam Peaty (GBR)
- Butterfly: Adam Barrett (GBR)
- Freestyle: Adam Chaney (USA)
The twelve swimmers that make up these teams include some of the shining stars of the past few decades and several Olympic gold medalists. Based on best times alone, take a look at how each team would fare:
|Team Ryan||Team Michael||Team James||Team Matthew||Team Adam|
|Backstroke||51.85 – Murphy||53.01 – Phelps||54.90 – Goddard||52.08 – Grevers||53.72 – Telegdy|
|Breaststroke||1:00.97* – Lochte||58.14 – Andrew||58.46 – Wilby||59.17 – Wilson||56.88 – Peaty|
|Butterfly||52.89 – Hoffer||49.95 – Cavic||50.67 – Guy||53.01 – Biondi||51.80 – Barrett|
|Freestyle||47.39 – Held||48.18 – Klim||47.10 – Magnussen||48.23 – Richards||48.81 – Chaney|
*Converted from short course meters PB of 58.98
There are two caveats to consider here and even though they have the quickest add-ups, Team Michael may not have the strongest case.
First, these times are the quickest swims that each man has swum from a flat start, not with a relay takeover. Some get more of an advantage than others from that takeover momentum, meaning the relay format could shake things up a bit.
Second, it’s possible that Michael Phelps never swam a fully tapered, fully shaved 100 backstroke during the peak of his career. The same goes for Ryan Lochte in the 100 breast and Ryan Hoffer in the 100 butterfly. Their entries in this relay represent off events for those three (at least in long course), meaning that if this was a real situation and each man was in their prime, perhaps the times would look different.
From legends like Matt Biondi, Michael Phelps, Matt Grevers, and Ryan Lochte to current stars like Ryan Murphy, James Guy, Matt Richards, and Ryan Held, this hypothetical lineup of men would surely make for a great race. While many members of some teams are retired at this point, it’s not something we’ll ever see happen, but it’s interesting to consider what the best medley relay of 4 currently active men would be the fastest.
Notably, the only team that consists of 4 currently active swimmers is Team Adam. Considering Adam Barrett‘s recent return to elite competition when he raced for Energy Standard during ISL season 3, it looks like Team Adam would have the best shot at a race like this today.
In addition to the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay, we put together 2 more potential squads of swimmers with the same name in the women’s 4×200 freestyle and the men’s 4×100 freestyle. There tends to be more variation in women’s names, as is such in both casesbelow, but for the sake of the exercise, we’ll squint and let that go.
Team Kate/Katie – 4×200 Freestyle
Let us know in the comments which team, if all 4 swimmers were in their prime, you’d like to see swim most, and if there are any other names with 4 standout swimmers that you think would throw together an impressive time.