SwimSwam Pulse: 64% Think Australia Outperforms U.S. Women In Relays At Worlds

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers who would win more women’s relays at the 2023 World Championships: the U.S. or Australia? (Or neither?)

Question: Which nation will win the most women’s relays at the 2023 World Championships?


  • Australia – 64.0%
  • USA – 28.0%
  • Three win 1 apiece – 8.0%

The United States has had the upper hand over Australia in the women’s relays at the World Championships over the last decade, though the momentum has been shifting the Aussies’ way in recent years.

The U.S. women swept the relays at both the 2013 and 2017 World Championships, and won two of the three events last summer in Budapest.

But last year’s performance was a rebound of sorts after the Americans only won one female relay between the 2019 World Championships and Tokyo Olympic Games.

In Tokyo, the U.S. was surprisingly locked out of relay gold medals on the women’s side for the first time since 2008, as the Aussies took them out in the medley relay and China shocked everyone by winning the 800 free relay in world record fashion.

And despite the fact that the Americans won two relays at Worlds last summer, that comes with the caveat that Australia was missing some of its biggest stars, namely Emma McKeon and Ariarne Titmus, the reigning Olympic champions in the 100 and 200 free, respectively.

After we saw some sensational swims at the Australian World Championship Trials earlier this month, the strength of the Aussie women came back into the forefront.

They now have the #1 and #3 swimmers in the world this season in the 200 free, Mollie O’Callaghan and Titmus, and three of the top four in the 100 free (O’Callaghan, McKeon and Shayna Jack).

Outside of the 2017 World Championships, Australia has really dominated the 400 free relay since 2015, and in the 800 free relay, while things figure to be close once again, the Commonwealth Games squad of Madison Wilson, Kiah Melverton, O’Callaghan and Titmus broke the world record after Titmus was absent at Worlds.

On top of that, the Aussies had six swimmers 1:56.8 or better at World Trials, making them the odds-on favorites to reclaim the 800 free relay world title.

In the medley relay, despite missing two of their top breaststrokers from recent years, Australia could end up having three individual world champions in Kaylee McKeown, McKeon and O’Callaghan on back, fly and free entering the event on the final night of racing in Fukuoka.

On the U.S. side, there’s everything to be determined, with the National Championships set to kick off on Tuesday in Indianapolis where the Worlds team will be selected.

The Americans might well have a leg up in the medley relay, but the Aussies seem to be clear favorites in the free events.

Nearly two-thirds of SwimSwam readers believe that to be the case, with 64 percent predicting the Aussies to win the majority (at least two) female relays in Fukuoka, while the U.S. earned 28 percent of votes.

The Americans certainly have a case to be made in the 800 free relay, having won the world title last summer by more than two seconds in Championship Record time, and in the medley relay they would have to be considered favorites.

Eight percent of votes went to the third option, which is that three different countries will each win a relay. This happed in Tokyo, when China won the 4×200 free, and that would seemingly be the most likely scenario if this ended up being the case, especially with Canada shorthanded given the absence of Penny Oleksiak and Taylor Ruck.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Who is the new favorite for gold in the men’s 200 fly this year?

With Milak's withdrawal, who is your pick for gold in the men's 200 fly at the World Championships?

View Results

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.

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9 months ago

Since 2004, Australia has outperformed the US at the Olympics in the Womens relays by some margin….

Reply to  Torchbearer
9 months ago

Since 2004:

Aus 14 medals: 8 Gold 4 Silver 2 Bronze
USA 15 medals: 5 Gold 7 Silver 3 Bronze

The difference is such that the US could sweep in Paris with Aus in second for all relays and the US would only be ahead by a single bronze.

For those curious the relay Aus failed to medal in was the 4×200 in Athens where Aus came 4th missing bronze by 0.05s.

9 months ago

It basically comes down to the 200 relay. Australia is winning the 100 relay barring a DQ, and US is heavily favoured for the medley.

9 months ago

Last paragraph has an error – three different countries did not win gold in the women’s relays in Tokyo. Australia won two of them.

9 months ago

For the new poll: while Marchand’s has had an incredible year so far, his fly hasn’t seemed to have individually taken the massive leap he has in his other strokes. Of course we haven’t seen him rested and tapered yet, but Honda has meanwhile been a tear, obliterating the 200m fly SCM WR and getting under 1:53 already in LCM. While Milak is / was head and shoulders above anyone else, I thought there was a decent consensus that if anybody could / would challenge him, it would probably be Honda. I expect Marchand to have an awesome world champs, but I think Honda might be getting in Milak/Phelps territory of the low 1:52s, and I don’t think we’ve seen… Read more »

Reply to  IM FAN
9 months ago

Exactly, Honda has hit huge PBs this year in both SC and LCM.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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