Tokyo Relay Splits: GBR Dominates Men’s 4×200 Free with 3 of the 6 Fastest Legs

2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games

Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay

The relay of Tom Dean, James Guy, Matthew Richards, and Duncan Scott combined for 6:58.58 to win Great Britain’s first-ever gold medal in the men’s 800 free relay. They downed the European Record and narrowly missed the World and Olympic Records by a mere several hundredths of a second. Dean and Scott had earned gold and silver in the 200 free individual event on Day 3 with 1:44.22 and 1:44.26 and the expectations were high for their chances with the relay.

Yet it was USA’s Kieran Smith with the fastest leadoff time. Smith went 1:44.74, his best time by 33 hundredths, to put the Americans out front on the first leg. Smith was in the 200 free final with Dean and Scott, but he came in sixth with 1:45.12. With his first sub-1:45, he moved to #3 all-time for U.S. performers.

Martin Malyutin of the Russian Olympic Committee notched the second-fastest leadoff, going 1:45.69 to put ROC in second place and .03 ahead of Great Britain’s Dean (1:45.72) going into the first exchange.

Lead-off Splits

Swimmer Country Split
Kieran Smith United States 1:44.74
Martin Malyutin Russian Olympic Committee 1:45.69
Tom Dean Great Britain 1:45.72
Stefano Ballo Italy 1:45.77
Antonio Djakovic Switzerland 1:45.77
Fernando Scheffer Brazil 1:45.93
Alexander Graham Australia 1:46.00
Lukas Martens Germany 1:46.68

Dean handed off to Guy, whose 1:44.40 was the fastest split among second swimmers by nearly a full second. Australia’s Kyle Chalmers (1:45.35) and USA’s Drew Kibler (1:45.51) were the next-fastest splits in the second position. Guy pulled Great Britain into the lead, where they stayed for the next 16 laps.

Britain’s Richards was the quickest third leg with 1:45.01. Russia’s Evgeny Rylov (1:45.26) and Italy’s Filippo Megli (1:45.33) were next, followed by Australia’s Zac Incerti (1:45.75).

Scott produced by far and away the fastest anchor, going 1:43.45. Thomas Neill powered Australia home in 1:44.74, earning the bronze medal and nearly catching Russia for the silver. Townley Haas of the United States threw down a solid 1:44.87 but it wasn’t enough to catch Neill for a spot on the podium. Russia’s Mikhail Dovgalyuk went 1:45.23, which turned out to be just enough to keep Neill at bay.

Flying Splits

Swimmer Position Country Split
Duncan Scott 4 Great Britain 1:43.45
James Guy 2 Great Britain 1:44.40
Thomas Neill 4 Australia 1:44.74
Townley Haas 4 United States 1:44.87
Matthew Richards 3 Great Britain 1:45.01
Mikhail Dovgalyuk 4 Russian Olympic Committee 1:45.23
Evgeny Rylov 3 Russian Olympic Committee 1:45.26
Filippo Megli 3 Italy 1:45.33
Kyle Chalmers 2 Australia 1:45.35
Jacob Heidtmann 4 Germany 1:45.49
Drew Kibler 2 United States 1:45.51
Ivan Girev 2 Russian Olympic Committee 1:45.63
Roman Mityukov 4 Switzerland 1:45.68
Zac Incerti 3 Australia 1:45.75
Matteo Ciampi 2 Italy 1:45.88
Murilo Setin Sartori 2 Brazil 1:46.09
Stefano di Cola 4 Italy 1:46.26
Poul Zellmann 2 Germany 1:46.30
Noe Ponti 3 Switzerland 1:46.93
Zach Apple 3 United States 1:47.31
Nils Liess 2 Switzerland 1:47.74
Henning Bennet Muhlleitner 3 Germany 1:48.04
Luiz Altamir Melo 4 Brazil 1:48.09
Breno Correia 3 Brazil 1:48.11

Overall, Great Britain registered the #1, #2, #6, and #16 splits of the morning. The two fastest splits overall belonged to anchor Scott (1:43.45) and #2 swimmer Guy (1:44.40).

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Bobo Gigi
1 month ago

Times don’t matter at olympics but I’m sure they must be a little bit pissed off to miss the world record by only 0.02s.
It’s just a matter of months. Next year at worlds they will break it. It was Dean’s grandfather in the water to lead-off that relay. With the real Dean they will go 6.57.

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 month ago

Zach apple should be ashamed to split behind dean’s grandfather and also is the main reason why usa is out of the podium finish.

Reply to  Johan
1 month ago

I mean you can blame Zack but really the coaches deserve just as much blame. Dressel or basically any other prelims swimmer instead of Zach and they medal

Reply to  Johan
1 month ago

To be fair wasn’t a pretty smart decision to put a sprinter in that relay when he already had a 100 free in the session. Coaches lost that for the US

Reply to  Sam
1 month ago


Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 month ago

Don’t want to knock Dean, who’s been fantastic – but I don’t want to see him on lead-off again in future.

He also lead off at Euros with a time a second slower than his individual time. I can buy that the emotion etc. meant he wasn’t at his best for this leg, but he was a long, long way off in by far his worst swim of the week.

But, that said, brilliant from the four guys!

Reply to  Iain
1 month ago

It’s hard to not put him as lead off since he did win the 200 free gold though

Daeleb Creseel
Reply to  TeamDressel
1 month ago

with the help of Hwang

1 month ago

Did anyone notice how bad Scott’s takeover was – 0.64. Record would’ve gone with an ok takeover. – having said that he had the fastest exchange of all of 4th swimmer Scott .64, Dovgalyuk .68, Neill 0.75, Haas 0.68, di Cola 0.65, Mityukov 0.66, Heidtmann 0.68, Melo 0.66. Eat your heart out Rowdy.

Reply to  Craig
1 month ago

Lol you can’t blame Scott. No sense in risking a DQ for a quicker exchange and he had the 5th fastest split ever even with a slow exchange. Blame the gold medalist who added over a second if you feel the need to blame anyone

Reply to  Craig
1 month ago

no it’s actually a mistake, you’ll notice that those exchanges are the same as the lead offs reaction time

Reply to  Nick
1 month ago

The correct reaction times can be found in the PDFs under official reports.

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

got them – thanks.

Reply to  Nick
1 month ago

Thanks – thought I was going more bonkers than I actually am

David s
1 month ago

Tom Dean should’ve gone sub 1.45

Reply to  David s
1 month ago

i can see why he did poorly. such an overwhelming 24 hours for someone with limited experience on the world stage. i think GB will break the record in the next two year

Daeleb Creseel
Reply to  acd
1 month ago

Dean’s always been slower on relays than individual swims

1 month ago

Kieran Smith having a Wonderful Olympics so far
He is only 21 and an improve further
Maybe US mid distance isn’t as bad as it seems

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  anonymous
1 month ago

One swallow does not a summer make

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
1 month ago

People predicting a repeat of the 4×1 free relay in Beijing need to understand that you can’t bank on a miracle happening every time. It is precisely for that reason that eg the Beijing relay is so so special.

More often than not, miracles don’t happen. That’s what makes it so awesome when they do. If you are predicting a miracle US swim every time, you are inherently undervaluing how special things like Lezak’s 46.06, Klete Keller holding off Thorpe, the US women beating the East Germans in 76 etc are.

GB just had way too much margin for error in this race. Their individual Olympic champion dropped a stinker (by his standards) on the first leg, and yet it… Read more »

1 month ago

I will patiently wait for the world record to break, any world record…… please.

Reply to  Khachaturian
1 month ago

Ikr, thought there would have been a few by now, but only one…

1 month ago

What Peaty and Guy have done for British Swimming unreal they put us back on the world stage after team GB had a poor showing in our own home Olympics in London. After his agonising 4th place in Rio in the 200m freestyle to see his joy for his countrymen and friends to go 1-2 4 years later was beyond beautiful. And then to drop two 1:44s to ensure his team their first relay gold in 113 years remarkable nothing but love for our Jim bob.

Bill G
1 month ago

Apple was out-split by all lead-off swimmers and all but four other swimmers (two Brazailians, 1 Swiss swimmer and 1 German swimmer).

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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