2023 WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- July 23 to 30, 2023
- Fukuoka, Japan
- Marine Messe Fukuoka
- LCM (50m)
- WORLD CHAMPS WATCH PARTY – DAILY
- Meet Central
- SwimSwam Preview Index
- Entry Book
- Live Results (Omega)
- Day 1 Prelims Live Recap | Day 1 Finals Live Recap
- Day 2 Prelims Live Recap | Day 2 Finals Live Recap
- Day 3 Prelims Live Recap | Day 3 Finals Live Recap
- Day 4 Prelims Live Recap | Day 4 Finals Live Recap
- Day 5 Prelims Live Recap | Day 5 Finals Live Recap
Let’s start with this: I’m not calling the Australian 800 free relay that broke the world record by nearly two seconds a bad swim – quite the opposite. I’m amazed that the Australian women put together such a seemingly perfect swim. And yet, some of them didn’t even swim their best times, meaning that in theory, that world record could be even faster in the very near future.
Notably, Mollie O’Callaghan broke the world record last night in the 200 free (1:52.85). Tonight, she led off the AUS relay in 1:53.66, a sensational swim in itself (slotting in at the #9 performance all-time). But that’s .81 difference. Interestingly, this seems to be a trend in the women’s 800 free relay at major international meets.
For at least the last 15 or so years, the women’s 200 free has come before the women’s 800 free relay in world championship and Olympic lineups, often seeing the 200 free final coming the night before the 800 free relay. As such, we often see many of the top performers in that 200 free final swim slower times in the 800 free relay. It’s not rocket science. It’s just hard to swim multiple high-level 200 freestyles in succession, an event that is right in the middle of aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.
At the 2022 Commonwealth Games where Australia broke the world record in 7:39.29, the 200 free was on Day 1 of the meet while the 800 free relay was on Day 3. I think it would be really interesting to see Australia swim the women’s 800 free relay on Day 1 or 2 of a meet, before the 200 free is swam. We saw how this impacted the 800 free relay at the NCAA level with new NCAA records on the men’s side nearly every year and consistently faster results on the women’s side (women’s record has been the same since 2018 because Stanford went videogame mode).
What do we think AUS (or any other team) could go if this relay was earlier in the meet?