The Wild Splitting That Led to the World Record Tie in the Men’s 400 Medley Relay


A race for the ages: the men’s 400 medley relay final capped the most exciting Short Course World Championship meet in recent memory on Sunday evening in Melbourne, Australia.

Team Australia, Team USA, and Italy battled down to the wire. An all-time split from Australian anchor Kyle Chalmers dragged them back into a race against the Italians and Americans, who led most of the way.

But he wasn’t the only come-from-behind World Record swimmer in that race: Kieran Smith, primarily a middle-distance freestyler internationally, also had to chase down the Italian anchor. Not because Alessandro Miressi, who was 3rd in the individual 100 free, was ahead when he hit the water, but because Miressi got off the blocks like a shot. He actually had a dreadful reaction time (.56 seconds), but his first 75 split of 33.19 pulled him well ahead of the American Smith. Smith wasn’t done, though, and he outsplit Miressi by three-tenths over the final 25 meters to get his hand on the wall with Chalmers.

Chalmers’ closing 25 and 50 splits were even wilder.

Freestyle leg split comparisons:

25m 50m 75m 100m
Chalmers 9.86 11.36 (21.22) 11.65 (32.87) 11.76 (44.63)
Miressi 10.06 11.35 (21.41) 11.78 (33.19) 12.37 (45.56)
Smith 10.09 11.69 (21.78) 12.13 (33.91) 12.04 (45.95)

Smith swam the race like a University of Florida middle-distance swimmer swims the 100 free, and it worked.

Chalmers’ swim is, we believe, the fastest 100 short course meter freestyle split in history. Cesar Cielo split 44.67 at the 2014 Short Course World Championships and Matt Grevers split 44.68 at the 2009 Duel in the Pool.

Flourish comparison:

Race Video:

Fastest Splits on Each Leg of the Relay


Back Country Split
Ryan Murphy USA 48.96
Isaac Cooper Australia 49.46
Lorenzo Mora Italy 49.48
Ryosuke Irie Japan 49.98
Finlay Knox Canada 50.46
Tomas Franta Czech Republic 50.48
Ole Braunschweig Germany 50.68
Gukailai Wang China 51.54


Breast Country Split
Nic Fink USA 54.88
Nicolo Martinenghi Italy 55.52
Yuya Hinomoto Japan 56.27
Joshua Young Australia 56.55
Lucas Matzerath Germany 56.96
Javier Acevedo Canada 57.21
Qin Haiyang China 57.36
Matej Zaobjnik Czech Republic 57.49


Fly Country Split
Matthew Temple Australia 48.34
Matteo Rivolta Italy 48.5
Marius Kusch Germany 48.72
Trenton Julian USA 49.19
Ilya Kharun Canada 49.54
Yuya Sakamoto Japan 50.06
Chen Juner China 50.16
Jan Sefl Czech Republic 50.78


Free Country Split
Kyle Chalmers Australia 44.63
Alessandro Miressi Italy 45.56
Kieran Smith USA 45.95
Pan Zhanle China 46.09
Ruslan Gaziev Canada 46.23
Katsuhiro Matsumoto Japan 46.39
Josha Salchow Germany 46.68
Daniel Gracik Czech Republic 47.62

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fraser Thorpe
3 months ago

Speaking of splits – was Emma the first woman to also dip under 54 seconds in fly?

3 months ago

Great article. I love the split comparisons.

3 months ago

Not to take anything away from Aussies and Americans, but the truth is that Miressi’s relay exchange was lethargic to say the least and it cost Italy gold and WR.

Reply to  Luigi
3 months ago

Can’t spell Italy without an L

Reply to  SWIMDOG
3 months ago

especially when it comes to football lately

3 months ago

4×50 mixed free relay lead off Kyle Chalmers 20.97. Michael Andrew 20.81

4×50 medley relay anchor Kyle Chalmers 20.48. Michael Andrew 20.39

Michael Andrew beat Kyle Chalmers twice

Reply to  Anonymous
3 months ago

World SC championship 50 metres Free Kyle Chalmers 7th.
World SC championship 100 metres Free Kyle Chalmers 1st.

Reply to  Robbos
3 months ago

MA beat Kyle Chalmers in the heats of the 50 free but pulled out of the 50 event to concentrate on the 100 IM.

Reply to  anonymous
3 months ago

Lucky for Chalmers, he would’ve ended 8th otherwise.

3 months ago

How many times has Kyle Chalmers carried Australian relays on his back, from behind, to a podium finish (of whatever color)? Simply tremendous.

Reply to  FlaneurHawaii
3 months ago

Yes he is the Alpha Dog of any Aussie relay team but his strength is also his ability to get his teammates to raise their standards out of respect for what he does time and time again. Every country needs one just like him. 🙌👑

Fraser Thorpe
Reply to  SHRKB8
3 months ago

And we’ve had 3 over these last few years – C1 , Emma and The King

3 months ago

If only Australia’s changeovers were more precise. Their fly starts slow in comparison. But amazing swims from all the boys. For a nation that doesn’t prioritize SC we did exceptionally well this week. Looking forward to the next few years leading into Paris.

Boxall's Railing
3 months ago

Great race! Would have been even cooler if both teams had their full-fledged A teams (US would have been 2 sec faster). Guess we have to wait for LCM for that though..

Reply to  Boxall's Railing
3 months ago

How can there objectively be any down votes on this.

It was a great race!. Chalmers anchor was the fastest SCM rolling start 100 Meters in history.

Julian and Smith both swam great in relation to their best times, but the PBs of the still active American A-listers would be over 3 1/3 seconds improvement.

Julian flat start PB 100 SCM Fly :49.75
Dressel flat start PB 100 SCM Fly :47.78 – 1.97 second differential

Smith flat start PB 100 Free :47.04
Held flat start PB 100 Free :45.63 – 1.41 second differential

1.97 sec. + 1.41 second differential = 3.28 second differential

Don’t down vote objective comments. It is not an insult to the… Read more »

Reply to  dscott
3 months ago

The downvotes are because they were not there. We don’t keep saying Winnington or Titmus weren’t there.. why wasn’t Curtiss used for example?

Reply to  Joel
3 months ago

Exactly!!!! It’s embarrassing to say that if so & so were here the result would have been different.
You could say that for just about every race in the championship.
No Aussie was saying Campbell instead of Harris, the Aussies would’ve won the women’s 4X100 med.

Reply to  Joel
3 months ago

You can only swim against who is present, but that doesn’t change the fact that not everyone was there. There can be all sorts of reasons (illness, injury, training status, traning plans for next focus, not fast enough in selection meet, don’t want to travel that distance, and many other etc.s) I had even noted in an earlier post that Winnington, Titmus and Stubblety-Cook were swimming well a few miles up the Australian East coast.

They did use Curtiss quite a bit, actually. He is just markedly better in the 50 than the 100 distance. (SCM :21.16 – :48.07 (both from Melbourne); LCM :21.76 – :50.57); The US picked its team based on LCM swims (:21.76 is hugely better… Read more »

Aussie Crawl
3 months ago

The King getting it done…👑

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »