#Tokyo2020 Mixed Medley Relay: Brutal Lineup Decisions Loom For USA, Australia

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

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

Prelims Substitutions
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
3:38.76

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

Prelims Substitutions
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)
3:41.02

Lots of tough calls for Team USA here. It pretty much all revolves around Caeleb Dresselwho 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:

Swimmer Split
Ryan Murphy 52.19
Michael Andrew 58.62
Torri Huske 55.73
Abbey Weitzeil 52.99
TOTAL: 3:39.53
Swimmer Split
Regan Smith 57.64
Michael Andrew 58.62
Caeleb Dressel 50.39
Abbey Weitzeil 52.99
TOTAL: 3:39.64
Swimmer Split
Ryan Murphy 52.19
Lydia Jacoby 1:04.95
Torri Huske 55.73
Caeleb Dressel 47.02
TOTAL: 3:39.89
Swimmer Split
Ryan Murphy 52.19
Lydia Jacoby 1:04.95
Caeleb Dressel 50.39
Abbey Weitzeil 52.99
TOTAL: 3:40.52
Swimmer Split
Regan Smith 57.64
Lydia Jacoby 1:04.95
Caeleb Dressel 50.39
Zach Apple 48.04
TOTAL: 3:41.02

China – #3 qualifiers

Prelims Substitutions
Xu Jiayu – 52.67 none
Yan Zibei – 58.61
Zhang Yufei – 57.37
Yang Junxuan – 53.64
3:42.29

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

Prelims Substitutions
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)
Emma McKeon – 52.13 (51.35 split)
Cate Campbell – 52.71 (52.24 split)
3:42.35

In a vacuum, it would probably make the most sense for Australia to use Kaylee McKeown, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Emma McKeon and Kyle ChalmersIt’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

Prelims Substitutions
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
3:42.65

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 Martinenghiso we wouldn’t bet on it.

Netherlands – #6 qualifiers

Prelims Substitutions
Kira Toussaint – 1:00.12
Arno Kamminga – 58.15
Nyls Korstanje – 51.86
Ranomi Kromowidjojo – 53.12
Femke Heemskerk – 52.93 (51.90 split)
3:43.25

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

Prelims Substitutions
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
3:43.73

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

Prelims Substitutions
Anastasia Gorbenko – 59.59
Itay Goldfaden – 59.65
Gal Cohen Groumi – 51.06 Tomer Frankel – 51.99
Andi Murez – 53.64
3:43.94

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.

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eagleswim
1 month ago

so tough to call… dressel has handled this triple pretty well at worlds before though, right? I think he can handle it and it’s the last really hard night of his schedule, with just 50 and medley coming after… regan andrew torri caeleb? I don’t know I don’t really like that order but I can’t think of another one that i like either

Jack
1 month ago

Am Praying that Anna Hopkin drops the 50 free. She showed in the ISL and the free relay at euros that shes not the best at handling more than 1 race a session, if she rests and splits a 52 mid/ low it could be all GB

Boomer
Reply to  Jack
1 month ago

Knowing GB she’ll probably drop it

Jamie5678
Reply to  Jack
1 month ago

I’d be amazed if Hopkin swam the 50 semi.

MichaelTran
1 month ago

whatever US coaches do, they will lose, Only way to win is that DQ from GB. Dressel needs to drop it

Philip Johnson
Reply to  MichaelTran
1 month ago

Anything is possible! I heard the Australian women would dominate the 800 free relay, and they placed third.

MichaelTran
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

But every member from British seems will go all for it & they have their best option

JVW
Reply to  MichaelTran
1 month ago

Remember how the Brits were going to be a gold medal contender in the men’s 400 free relay?

Shah
Reply to  JVW
1 month ago

I mean no tbh I don’t remember that

Ghost
Reply to  MichaelTran
1 month ago

Guy dropped his only individual event to be all in

Ratio
Reply to  MichaelTran
1 month ago

Do the math. If both teams go their best times, the US wins.

Pags
Reply to  Ratio
1 month ago

But the US isn’t going “best times” with two of their swimmers having a total of 3 previous swims in the short session.

Jojo
1 month ago

why isnt swimswam considering nic fink?

swimapologist
Reply to  Jojo
1 month ago

Why would anyone consider Nic Fink? I don’t think 2:07.9 in the 200 breast is enough to convince anyone that he should bump MA. That’s slower than he was at Trials.

If you think Nic Fink should take the spot, then fine. Swap Nic Fink’s name in wherever you currently see Michael Andrew’s name. At best, it’s a wash. Doesn’t change the decision-making process.

For the US to make that move, there would have to be substantial evidence for it – like Regan Smith’s World Record in the 200 back at Worlds in 2019 leading them to stick her in the 100 back. Just a “ehhhh maybe we think it could possibly shave a tenth off of Michael” won’t be… Read more »

MichaelTran
Reply to  swimapologist
1 month ago

Nick Fink 200m only 0.4s slower
MA so far is just bad & bad.
Just saying

Jack
Reply to  MichaelTran
1 month ago

Nic Fink 0.4 slower than his 100 breast PB is slower than what Andrew has swam in Tokyo.

anonymous
Reply to  MichaelTran
1 month ago

Nic Fink did not beat his OT time. He is a back halfer but faded badly.

Spectatorn
Reply to  anonymous
1 month ago

Just to be fair in using your logic for relay consideration, if you are saying Fink did not beat his OT time means bad, the same would apply for Andrew.

anonymous
Reply to  Spectatorn
1 month ago

No I am using the combination that he did not do anything better than his OT time and he faded badly when his race strategy is to have a monster last lap. Also let’s not forget that MA beat Nic 3 times at OT.

sscommentor
Reply to  anonymous
1 month ago

defending michael andrew by saying another swimmer faded at the end of their race is a banaland move.

is this a kevin durant-twitter burner situation?

anonymous
Reply to  MichaelTran
1 month ago

MA is in 2 finals out of 2 events. That is NOT bad

Boomer
Reply to  Jojo
1 month ago

Doesn’t matter if SS considers Nic Fink – is the US coaching staff considering Nic Fink? Makes sense to me – he can probably drop a 58 low to mid, similar.to what MA could do (or better, if MA is slower due to the double or just being off), and that would avoid a double for MA.

Gaby
Reply to  Boomer
1 month ago

What about a rested Andrew Wilson? Has been high 58s flat start four times in the last month. Only lost to MA by one-tenth in 100BR three nights ago and again, is rested. With relay start, almost a certain 58.4 or so.

anonymous
Reply to  Boomer
1 month ago

OMG Nic has never done a 58 low. He did a 58 mid in semis at OT drafting off of MA.

anonymous
Reply to  Jojo
1 month ago

Nic Fink did not go faster here than he did at Trials.

Spectatorn
Reply to  Jojo
1 month ago

Fink or keeping Wilson sounds like good options. I can see triple for Dressel is a concern. But everyone seems to think Andrew will do better with 30min turnaround than a fresh leg from either Fink or Wilson. The relay final atmosphere could push either Fink or Wilson to swim as well as a tired Andrew.

If all goes well, both Dressel and Andrew will be in the 50 final and there is still the Men’s Medley at the end of that session. Coaches probably have to keep that in mind for the overall picture and gauge when and where to push for double (or triple).

Last edited 1 month ago by Spectatorn
anonymous
Reply to  Spectatorn
1 month ago

Nic and Wilson have not shown the coaches anything better than MA

sscommentor
Reply to  anonymous
1 month ago

I’d take fresh legs/NCAA relay experience over MA attempting a triple when he looked absolutely GASSED after his semi-final 2IM when it’s the potential difference of .75 seconds

B1G Daddy
1 month ago

Groumi is going to be an incredibly versatile piece for Michigan.

Swimmer
Reply to  B1G Daddy
1 month ago

Yep 1:59.4 in the 200 IM and 2 great splits on relays: 51.0 on fly and 1.46.4 200 free

Go with it
1 month ago

Smith/Jacoby/Andrew/Apple

Pags
Reply to  Go with it
1 month ago

Mandrew can certainly swim a helluva a 100 fly, but there’s NO WAY I want him swimming it in an Olympic relay final ~30 minutes after he swims a 50 free semifinal.

Go with it
Reply to  Pags
1 month ago

You’ve obviously never swum at an elite level

Meghan
Reply to  Go with it
1 month ago

That’s cruel lmao

MichaelTran
1 month ago

Nick Fink is doing just fine. 0.4s slower
But Michael Andrew is just bad.
Nick Fink deserves some chance.

anonymous
Reply to  MichaelTran
1 month ago

MA has made 2 finals out of 2 events. He was fourth in the 100 breast. That is not bad. Nic Fink did not qualify for the 100 breast. Nick Fink faded badly in the 200 breast considering his swim strategy is to back half and come home faster. He did not equal his OT times.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

I say punt the event.

Regan Smith, Lydia Jacoby, Torri Huske, Abbey Weitzeil need to worry about the women’s 4 x 100 meter medley relay. Abbey Weitzeil is scheduled to swim the final of the women’s 100 meter freestyle.

Murphy – Andrew – Huske – Manuel

Caeleb Dressel has enough on his plate to worry about.

Ratio
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

What does he have to worry about? It’s not like anybody is particularly close to challenging him in either the 50 free or 100 fly…

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Ratio
1 month ago

Kristof Milak, for starters.

Jeff
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

Maybe in a 100 fly pull

Pags
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

I’m not putting Andrew, Manuel, or Weitzel on that relay in the same short session as the 50 semi-finals. I’m not asking Dressel to swim a triple on the night before he’s likely to shooting for a 3rd individual gold.

Lets go with 4 rested swimmers, and hope for some “they swam out of their minds for the TEAM!” magic.

Murphy-Wilson-Huske-Hinds

Spectatorn
Reply to  Pags
1 month ago

that is a new idea!

JVW
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

The U.S. men also have a medley relay that they need to worry about.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  JVW
1 month ago

I mean at least going by the username, I don’t think that guy cares.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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