2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES
- When: Pool swimming: Saturday, July 24 – Sunday, August 1, 2021
- Open Water swimming: Wednesday, August 4 – Thursday, August 5, 2021
- Where: Olympic Aquatics Centre / Tokyo, Japan
- Heats: 7 PM / Semifinals & Finals: 10:30 AM (Local time)
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- Full mixed medley relay prelims results
Olympic coaches will have a full day to make their lineup decisions for the first-ever mixed 4×100 medley relay final – and they’ll need the time, because almost every major nation has some big choices ahead.
Today’s prelims results set up a lot of tough decisions – we dig through some of the notable ones below. The final will take place on Saturday morning local time, or Friday night U.S. time, during Day 7 Finals.
Great Britain – #1 qualifiers
|Kathleen Dawson – 58.50||Luke Greenbank – 53.79|
|Adam Peaty – 57.08|
|James Guy – 50.58|
|Freya Anderson – 52.59||Anna Hopkin – 52.75 (52.65 split)||Duncan Scott – NT|
The simplest option for Great Britain would be to flip Freya Anderson for Anna Hopkin on the anchor leg. Anderson actually split better today than Hopkin’s 4×100 free relay split, but Hopkin has been consistently faster than Anderson so far this week in both the individual event and in both of their 4×100 free relay splits.
It has to be tempting to get Duncan Scott onto this relay. He hasn’t swum a 100 free yet this week after the men’s 4×100 free relay missed the final and he scratched the individual 100 free to focus on the 4×200 free relay. Scott, of course, has that legendary 46.1 split from 2019 Worlds on his resume, plus a 1:43.4 split on the 4×200 this week, so it’s safe to say he’d be blisteringly fast anchoring this relay.
One reason Scott will probably not join the squad though: it would probably require swapping out James Guy on fly. He’s been a relay dominator for the Brits so far and there’s really no great option for a female flyer. Harriet Jones was 58.7 in the women’s 100 fly this week.
USA – #2 qualifiers
|Regan Smith – 57.64||Ryan Murphy – 52.19|
|Andrew Wilson – 59.09||Lydia Jacoby – 1:04.95||Michael Andrew – 58.62|
|Tom Shields – 50.87||Caeleb Dressel – 50.39||Torri Huske – 55.73|
|Abbey Weitzeil – 53.42||Caeleb Dressel – 47.02
Zach Apple (46.69 split)
Lots of tough calls for Team USA here. It pretty much all revolves around Caeleb Dressel, who would be a game-changing fly or free leg. But Dressel will swim the 100 fly final and the 50 free semifinals in that session. Here’s what his timeline would look like, based on expected start times for each event:
- 10:30 AM: 100 fly final
- 11:11 AM: 50 free semifinals
- 11:43 AM: mixed medley relay final
It’s hard to say exactly which lineup would be fastest in a vacuum. If Dressel can handle the triple, the best options are probably Smith/Jacoby/Dressel/Apple or Murphy/Jacoby/Dressel/Weitzeil. If they choose to sit Dressel out, the relay probably goes Murphy/Andrew/Huske/Weitzeil and banks on getting clean water early and holding off the field.
With the complexity of these lineup options, here’s a good visual look at the 5 main lineup options being tossed around by most observers. It’s worth noting that every time listed below is a flat-start time – there are no relay exchanges factored in, to keep the comparisons as consistent as possible. The big margins for error are that (1) Caeleb Dressel hasn’t swum his 100 fly semifinals or final yet, (2) Abbey Weitzeil hasn’t swum her 100 free final yet, (3) Zach Apple was much faster from a flying start [46.6] than his flat-start time would suggest, and (4) Andrew, Dressel, and Weitzeil will all likely have the 50 free semifinals before this relay:
China – #3 qualifiers
|Xu Jiayu – 52.67||none|
|Yan Zibei – 58.61|
|Zhang Yufei – 57.37|
|Yang Junxuan – 53.64|
The complete opposite of Team USA, China’s lineup is extremely straightforward. They’ve got top-notch men in back and breast with no great women’s options. Then it reverses with outstanding women’s fly and free swimmers and no great men in those events.
This is the same foursome that broke the world record back in October. Expect them to swim much faster when Zhang Yufei gets some rest and gets back to her 55.3 speed from that world record relay.
Australia – #4 qualifiers
|Isaac Cooper – 53.55||Kaylee McKeown – 57.47||Mitch Larkin – 52.76|
|Zac Stubblety-Cook – 58.80||Chelsea Hodges – 1:06.60|
|Brianna Throssell – 57.62||Emma McKeon – 55.72||Matthew Temple – 51.39|
|Bronte Campbell – 52.38||Kyle Chalmers – 47.08 (46.44 split)|
In a vacuum, it would probably make the most sense for Australia to use Kaylee McKeown, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers. It’s possible they want to take advantage of McKeon’s 51.3 flying-start speed on the anchor, which would probably bump Temple into the lineup.
Three big wrinkles: the womens’ 50 free semis come just 10 minutes before this relay, and both McKeon and Cate Campbell are expected to swim in those semis. Kaylee McKeown should be swimming in the 200 back final about an hour before this relay goes off. And Matthew Temple might be swimming the 100 fly final about 75 minutes out from this relay. Of those four, Temple is the only one who isn’t a top medal contender, so he could scratch out for this relay.
All that is to say it seems likely that a rested Kyle Chalmers anchors this relay. Then it just depends whether McKeown, McKeon, or both swim doubles.
Italy – #5 qualifiers
|Simone Sabbioni – 53.96||Thomas Ceccon – 52.30|
|Nicolo Martinenghi – 58.38||Martina Carraro – 1:05.85|
|Elena di Liddo – 57.29||Federico Burdisso – 51.82|
|Federica Pellegrini – 53.02||Alessandro Miressi – 47.46|
Italy has a relatively easier choice. Thomas Ceccon would be an easy sub-in on backstroke, and would improve this relay up to a second and a half from Sabbioni’s prelims leg.
It’s tempting to get Miressi into the mix, but it would require swapping out bronze medal-winning breaststroker Nicolo Martinenghi, so we wouldn’t bet on it.
Netherlands – #6 qualifiers
|Kira Toussaint – 1:00.12|
|Arno Kamminga – 58.15|
|Nyls Korstanje – 51.86|
|Ranomi Kromowidjojo – 53.12||
Femke Heemskerk – 52.93 (51.90 split)
Another relatively simple one. Femke Heemskerk would give the Netherlands another second or more on the free leg, based on her 4×100 free relay split. Toussaint is also likely to be much faster than in heats; she was 59.09 in the individual 100 back.
Russian Olympic Committee – #7 qualifiers
|Grigory Tarasevich – 52.99||Evgeny Rylov – 51.98|
|Kirill Prigoda – 59.33||Anton Chupkov – 59.55||Evgeniia Chikunova – 1:05.90|
|Arina Surkova – 57.47||Svetlana Chimrova – 57.54||Andrei Minakov – 51.00|
|Mariia Kameneva – 53.94||Kliment Kolesnikov – 47.11|
Evgeny Rylov will almost definitely take over the backstroke leg, giving a second or more to the relay over prelims. If Russia sticks with a female flyer, it’ll probably be Svetlana Chimrova, who was faster than Surkova in the individual event.
Our best bet would be that Kliment Kolesnikov takes over the free leg and Evgeniia Chikunova swims breaststroke. The wrinkle is that Kolesnikov is entered in the men’s 50, and has clearly struggled with multi-event sessions in the past. Look no further than his 48.4 anchor leg on the 4×100 free relay coming off of the 100 back, compared to a 47.1 flat start time individually this week.
The other option is to stick with the prelims pairing of Prigoda on breast and Kameneva on free, but that would probably force Kameneva to swim a really tight double between the 50 free and this relay. Our guess? Kolesnikov scratches out of the 50 free to focus on this relay. He’s not really a top medal contender in the 50 anyway.
Israel – #8 qualifiers
|Anastasia Gorbenko – 59.59|
|Itay Goldfaden – 59.65|
|Gal Cohen Groumi – 51.06||Tomer Frankel – 51.99|
|Andi Murez – 53.64|
Only one choice to make, but a tough one for Israel. Tomer Frankel is the national record-holder in the 100 fly. But after a 51.99 in heats, it’s hard to project Frankel splitting faster than the 51.06 that Gal Cohen Groumi hit today on the prelims relay.