Tokyo Relay Splits: Chelsea Hodges Brings The Heat With 1:05.57 Breast Leg



The Australian women capped off their Tokyo tour with one final gold medal performance in the 4×100 medley relay. The contingent of Kaylee McKeown, Chelsea Hodges, Emma McKeon, and Cate Campbell produced a new Olympic record in the event of 3:51.60. That was enough to out-touch the Americans who came in with a 3:51.73 for silver and the Canadians who has a 3:52.60 for bronze.

Canada got off to a quick start as Kylie Masse hit a 57.90 in the prelims, making her the only sub-58 woman in the field. That time for Masse was her second-fastest time in history behind her 57.70 Canadian record from Olympic Trials and the 57.72 she posted to take Olympic silver. The leading trio was rounded out by Kaylee McKeown and Regan Smith who swam a 58.01 and 58.05, respectively. Both have been roughly a half-second faster and hold PBs of 57.45 and 57.57, respectively.

Smith left a wide margin between herself and 4th fastest backstroker Peng Xuwei of China. That swim for Xuwei was her quickest swim of the meet, improving upon the 59.78 she swam in the heats and the 59.98 she swam in semis for 12th place overall.

100 Backstroke Splits

Swimmer Country Back Split
Kylie Masse Canada 57.90
Kaylee McKeown Australia 58.01
Regan Smith USA 58.05
Peng Xuwei China 59.63
Michelle Coleman Sweden 59.75
Anna Konishi Japan 59.92
Mariia Kameneva ROC 59.95
Margherita Panziera Italy 1:00.03

Lydia Jacoby was a touch faster here than the 1:05.09 she swam without goggles during the mixed medley relay earlier on in Tokyo. Her 1:05.03 was notably slower, however than the 1:04.95 she produced to win Olympic gold. The big performer here, however, was Australia’s Chelsea Hodges who threw down a 1:05.57 split which was actually more than a second faster than both the 1:06.70 she swam in the prelims of the individual race and her 1:06.60 in semis. She beat 3 swimmers here who qualified for the individual final in Carraro, Chikunova, and Hansson.

This was Canada’s weakest leg and the only one that didn’t place within the top 2. Sydney Pickrem was a 1:07.17 here which was a bit slower than the 1:06.42 she hit during the 2019 World Championships medley relay. She was also slightly faster during the prelims of the event where she hit a 1:07.03.

100 Breaststroke Splits

Swimmer Country Breast Split
Lydia Jacoby USA 1:05.03
Chelsea Hodges Australia 1:05.57
Martina Carraro Italy 1:05.88
Evgenia Chikunova ROC 1:05.99
Tang Qianting China 1:06.09
Kanako Watanabe Japan 1:06.61
Sophie Hansson Sweden 1:06.67
Sydney Pickrem Canada 1:07.17

The top 3 splits on the butterfly leg reflect the same order that these 3 women finished in the individual 100 fly. Maggie MacNeil and Zhang Yufei swam a 55.27 and 55.39 which was quicker than their respective finals times in the individual event of 55.59 and 55.64, while Emma McKeon‘s 55.91 was a bit slower than the 55.72 she produced for bronze in the 100 fly. This was the weak leg for the American team and the only one to not place top 3 as Torri Huske hit a 56.16 to trail her individual performance of 55.73 which got her 4th place in the 100 butterfly.

100 Butterfly Splits

Swimmer Country Fly Split
Maggie MacNeil Canada 55.27
Zhang Yufei China 55.39
Emma McKeon Australia 55.91
Louise Hansson Sweden 56.12
Torri Huske USA 56.16
Svetlana Chimrova ROC 56.7
Elena di Liddo Italy 56.96
Rikako Ikee Japan 57.92

En route to her 4th Olympic gold medal, Cate Campbell anchored for the Australians and managed to lay down a 52.11 which would rank as her 3rd fastest time from a flat start in history while sitting a little bit above the 51.97 freestyle leg she contributed to Australia’s gold medal-winning swim in 2016.

Penny Oleksiak did what was needed for Canada with a 52.26 to get her hand on the wall for 3rd place, marking her 7th Olympic medal which makes her the most decorated Olympian in Canadian history. Abbey Weiteil was 3rd here with a 52.49 and while it was enough for Olympic silver, wasn’t quick enough to catch an on-fire Campbell. Sarah Sjostrom also got under 53 seconds with a 52.73 to get Sweden 5th overall in national record-time of 3:54.27.

100 freestyle Splits

Swimmer Country Free Split
Cate Campbell Australia 52.11
Penny Oleksiak Canada 52.26
Abbey Weitzeil USA 52.49
Sarah Sjostrom Sweden 52.73
Yang Junxuan China 53.02
Chihiro Igarashi Japan 53.67
Federica Pellegrini Italy 53.81
Arina Surkova ROC 54.29

In addition to their overall victory in the event, Australia also had the best aggregate reaction time of 0.49 seconds. The USA notably had the weakest showing in this field and produced a reaction time add-up which was more than double that of the Australians with a 1.09. They were 1 of 2 teams with an add-up of over 1 second as China’s team had a 1.05. Japan’s squad (0.64) were 2nd to the Australians reaction time-wise despite their 8th place finish in the heat, closely followed by Canada who had the 3rd quickest average turnovers at 0.66.

Reaction Time Aggregates

Aggregate Exchanges
Australia 0.49
USA 1.09
Canada 0.66
China 1.05
Sweden 0.94
Italy 0.87
Russia 0.80
Japan 0.64

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Steve Nolan
5 months ago

Crazy to me that Sweden had a faster fly/free combo than China’s, because those are China’s mixed medley relay legs that were on some pretty solid relays!

Sweden’s men’s team really gotta step it up, is what I’m saying.

5 months ago

Sophie Hansson split is wrong

5 months ago

That reaction time added up for the US women is on the coaches in my opinion. They have two newcomers to international relays in this type of situation and those reaction times were horrible all the way around. It cost them the gold. Sure Regan could have swum faster but that’s not where the race was lost. The coaches had the responsibility to ensure that those exchanges were seamless.

Max Hardie
5 months ago

As a general comment, because there are exceptions (e.g. Finke, Jacoby), the US swimmers tend to be run down. In my opinion this has to do with the fact that they swim a lot of 25-yard pools, where it’s mostly walls and underwaters, but not a lot of swimming above the water.

NCA should switch from SCY to SCM just to start, but also hold LCM races. This ways swimmers will improve their over the water technique and endurance.

I’m also a bit of surprise about biotype, Aussies tend to be tall and lean whereas Americans not that tall and more muscular. Again, this is on general terms.

Reply to  Max Hardie
5 months ago

I would add Ledecky particularly in the women’s 4 x 200 relay to that list. She closed incredibly well there.

Reply to  Max Hardie
5 months ago

They are not going to change the course of NCAA swimming. How many colleges have SCM pools? That would require ADs to invest more money into swim facilities, and that’s not going to happen on a nation-wide scale (although it would be a dream come true if swimming ever became a priority for college ADs).

Last edited 5 months ago by Coach
Remember Me?
5 months ago

The aggregate take off times is painful to look at.

Reply to  Remember Me?
5 months ago

Not really, it’s all part of swimming.

Dressel’s start was .06 faster then Chalmers & that was margin at the end.

Reply to  Robbos
5 months ago

He means that Australians were quicker at each changeover

ACC fan
5 months ago

Incorrect headline, it should say women’s medley not men’s

5 months ago

What’s the fastest 100 Fly split ever?

Reply to  Jackman
5 months ago

I found this:

It looks like MacNeil is now #2 all-time behind Sjostrom.

5 months ago

If this was Cate Campbell’s last swim (she’s still undecided on whether she’s going to go on) then what a way to go out.