Smoliga Leads Off Mixed Medley Faster Than Her 50 Back American Record


  • Tuesday, December 11th – Sunday, December 16th
  • Hangzhou, China
  • Tennis Centre, Hangzhou Olympic & International Expo Center
  • SCM (25m)
  • Prelims: 9:30 am local, 8:30 pm ET / Finals: 7:00 pm* local, 6:00* am ET
  • *The final night of finals will be one hour earlier, starting at 6:00 pm local and 5:00 am ET
  • Live Results (Omega)

Just like Ryan Murphy did in the prelims of the mixed 4×50 medley relayOlivia Smoliga led off the U.S. team in the final by going faster than the American Record 50 back record.

Smoliga officially set the American Record leading off the women’s medley relay in 25.97, and then was just over a tenth quicker here with an opening split of 25.85. While there has been plenty of controversy whether or not a lead-off leg on a mixed relay should officially count for a record like it would in a regular men’s or women’s event, there isn’t much argument that a woman leading off alongside men could give her a potential advantage by catching a draft. Of course, conversely she could also run into a male swimmer’s wake and it could be a hindrance.

Had Smoliga done this time in a non-mixed event, her 25.85 would rank her 5th all-time in the event. Currently, her 25.97 has her 7th.

The U.S. team ended up winning gold and breaking the world record in a time of 1:36.40, with a scintillating freestyle anchor leg from Caeleb Dressel (20.09), and Smoliga was also apart of a world record on that women’s medley relay.

Through three days of competition, the 24-year-old already has five gold medals, winning the 100 back individually (also an American Record), the women’s 4×100 free, and the mixed 4×50 free along with the two medley relays.

Smoliga will potentially have three more opportunities to bring her American Record down in the individual event, which gets underway tomorrow morning in Hangzhou.

Miyuki Takemura also notably led off Japan’s Asian Record setting relay in 26.03, under their National mark of 26.05, but of course that won’t officially count either.

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Congratulations Olivia. Go Dawgs!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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