This Australian Relay SHATTERED The World Record… and They Could Have Gone Faster


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?

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Ronald Sekops
4 months ago

Very interesting to see if Emma McKeon will want to swim in next year’s Olympics in the 800 relay?

Reply to  Ronald Sekops
4 months ago

Hasnt trained for it since tokyo, so i doubt she would start now

4 months ago

Mollie also had the 100 free semis earlier in the session.

Personal Best
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

Yeah, that’s just stupid scheduling.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Personal Best
4 months ago

Agreed. Two of the biggest events that have very common crossover swimmers

Pretty sure in Paris the relay is the day after 100 free has finished though

Last edited 4 months ago by Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Alison England
4 months ago

Tom Dean was the same after he won the 2free at Tokyo.

4 months ago

Them breaking that record by such a big margin is crazy! Interesting how close the margin is between the relay time and Sam short’s individual 800. The women were 0.26 seconds faster.

4 months ago

In Fukuoka’s aquatic domain,
A record shattered, a feat arcane,
Australia’s relay, a stunning display,
By two seconds, they led the way,
Yet more speed could they obtain.

Mollie O’Callaghan, a star aglow,
Her world record, a feat to show,
Leading the charge with brilliance rare,
In 200 free, a time to compare,
But in the relay, a bit slower, we know.

A trend in history, we’ve seen,
The 200 free, a taxing routine,
Before the 800 relay takes its place,
Fatigue sets in, a slower pace,
Could a change in schedule make it keen?

Imagine the relay on Day 1’s morn,
Before the 200 free is… Read more »

4 months ago

Quite anticipated result by places on the podium, but American team was expected after trials and was pretty much capable of being 2.8 sec faster when all 4 relay legs are under 1:55. It wouldn’t change the outcome of the race but there will be much more drama in the pool when leaders could change several time during the race because Australian record setting team had no swimmers who swam 1:54.
That is a general problem of American team when with a few exception swimmers are swimming slower than in-season results promised it to be.

Reply to  Yozhik
4 months ago

The same could be said about the Aussie, with Jack, Pallister & Wilson swimming slower than their in season results.

4 months ago

Only if you break the record at WCs

Reply to  dude
4 months ago

So show up next January and do it again : )

4 months ago

I would say 7.34+

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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