The 200 Medley Relay American Record Quandary


Editor’s note: this list was compiled by hand. If we missed someone, please let us know in the comments below

200 medley relay

  • NCAA Record: Texas (2017): 1:21.54
  • NCAA Meet Record: Texas (2017): 1:21.54
  • American Record: Cal (2018): 1:21.88
  • US Open Record: Texas (2017): 1:21.54
  • Pool Record: Louisville (2022): 1:21.84

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Florida- 1:21.13
  2. Texas- 1:21.36
  3. Cal/NC State- 1:21.69
  4. —-
  5. Alabama- 1:22.04
  6. Arizona State- 1:22.25
  7. Louisville- 1:22.29
  8. Stanford- 1:22.41

While the 200 medley relay tonight was without a doubt the fastest field ever in this relay, with four of the five fastest times ever coming tonight, an interesting quirk remains: nobody was close to breaking Cal’s 2018 American Record.

As a reminder, in order to be eligible to break an American Record in a relay, all four swimmers must be US citizens and hold US Sporting Citizenship.

Of the top 16 teams this evening, only three, Arizona State, Virginia and Auburn were eligible to break the American Record. Arizona State was the top finisher of that trio, coming in 6th in 1:22.25.

Of the four teams that came in under Cal’s American Record, all of them had international swimmers on their team. NCAA champ Florida had Germany’s Eric Friese split a crucial 19.3 on the fly leg, Texas breaststroker Caspar Corbeau represents The Netherlands internationally, Cal backstroker Bjoern Seeliger, the newly-minted fastest 50 backstroker of all time, hails from Sweden and NC State’s first three legs included Poland’s Kacper Stokowski and Rafal Kusto as well as Dutchman Nyls Korstanje.

Beyond the top four, 7 of the 8 podium relays also included international swimmers with Alabama, Louisville and Stanford all including swimmers that do not represent the United States internationally. For a full list of international swimmer in tonight’s 200 medley relay, check out the table below.

It raises an interesting question: why is this relay so dominated by non-American swimmers?

One likely explanation is that the 50s of stroke continue to be held in high regard internationally through senior-level swimming, while most American meets do not include the 50s of stroke past the age of 12. USA Swimming’s own selection criteria for stroke 50s at the World Championships often does not account for swimmers who are 50 “specialists” and oftentimes places at least one of the 100 individual qualifiers into the 50.

Internationally, however, swim stars can make careers out of the stroke 50s. The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo has long been a 50 butterfly specialist that does not venture much into the 100 fly. So are swimmers like Brazil’s Nicholas Santos, who specializes in the 50 fly and Italy’s Benedetta Pilato, who specializes in the 50 breast.

With the advent of the ISL in recent years, some American swimmers have begun to specialize in the stroke 50s, though after their NCAA careers ended. Madeline Banic, a former Tennessee Lady Volunteer who now swims for Energy Standard in the ISL, has carved out a niche for herself as one of the top SCM sprint butterfly swimmers on the planet.

For the time being, however, we all get to enjoy some fast swimming, regardless of country of origin.

Florida Eric Friese – Germany
Texas Caspar Corbeau – Netherlands
NC State Kacper Stokowski– Poland Rafal Kusto– Poland Nyls Korstanje– Netherlands
Cal Bjorn Seeliger – Sweden
Alabama Jonathan Berneburg – Germany
Arizona State
Louisville Evgenii Somov – Russia
Stanford Andrei Minakov – Russia Ron Polonsky – Israel
Harvard Umitcan Gures – Turkey Raphael Marcoux – Canada
VT Samuel Tornqvist – Sweden Carles Coll Marti – Spain Antani Ivanov – Bulgaria Youssef Ramadan – Egypt
Ohio State Alex Quach – Australia Sem Andreis – Italy
Michigan Nadav Aaronson – Israel Gal Cohen Groumi – Israel
Indiana Gabriel Fantoni – Brazil Tomer Frankel – Israel Bruno Blaskovic – Croatia
Utah Andrei Ungur – Romania
Tennessee Bjoern Kammann – Germany Michael Houlie – South Africa Jordan Crooks – Cayman Islands
Notre Dame
USC Vaggelis Makrygiannis – Greece Alexei Sancov – Moldova Nikola Miljenic – Croatia
Florida State Izaak Bastian – Bahamas Max McCusker – UK Peter Varjasi – Germany
Penn State Lachland Byrne – Australia Daniel Raisanen – Sweden Victor Baganha – Brazil
Georgia Wesley Ng – Hong Kong
Northwestern Manuel Martos Bacarizo – Spain
Texas A&M Andrew Puente – Mexico Koko Bratanov – Bulgaria
Georgia Tech Berke Saka – Turkey Caio Pumputis – Brazil Christian Ferraro – Italy
Purdue Nikola Acin – Serbia
Arizona Ogjen Maric – Croatia Marin Ercegovic – Croatia

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Tea rex
10 months ago

Burdisso at Northwestern -ITA

10 months ago

No one close? A bit of hyperbole, .37 for ASU is not that far. Try hitting that on your stop watch, it’s approx less than just 1 freestyle stroke.

10 months ago

MacAlister of Stanford is Australian

Reply to  PNW
10 months ago

Was just about to say this too

10 months ago

Nyls is the flying dutchman confirmed

Hint of Lime
10 months ago

Thanks SwimSwam for such fast reporting! Interesting to see exactly who hails from where and crazy to see how many relays in the top 16 have international students when you put it together in one table like this.

10 months ago

How is this relay dominated by international swimmers. All you need is one international swimmer on the relay to not qualify for the American record. Also, the rest of the world is much bigger than the US.

Reply to  Swimmer
10 months ago

Yeah – it’s not exactly inconceivable that “rest of world” might produce someone who’s faster over 50m than Americans of a similar age, and I don’t think it’s because rest of world get to race 50s.

10 months ago

Ranomi is a poor example of a swimmer “making a career out of the stroke 50s”. Gold in the 50 and 100 free at the Olympics, WR in the SCM 50 free, she was a freestyle specialist.

eye guy
10 months ago

Agreed. Kromo was a poor example. If you win Olympic gold in the 100 Free (and 50 Free!), you are no limited to only being able to swim a 50 Fly, like this article makes it seem.

DC swim fan
10 months ago

I would think that in the future the 50s of stroke will become more commonplace at American meets. IMO they are much more exciting to watch and swim than some other events

College swimmer
Reply to  DC swim fan
10 months ago

I agree about them becoming more commonplace. You already see them contested at some larger meets: Sectionals, some (junior) national meets (like NCSAs).

Reply to  DC swim fan
10 months ago

Australia has neglected them too but this year has introduced them at age championships.