U.S. Opting to Use Margalis in 400 MR Prelims Pays Off with Field-Leading Split


The United States announced before the final day of prelims at the 2019 FINA World Championships that it would opt to use Melanie Margalis in prelims of the women’s 4×100 medley relay, leaving Micah Sumrall, who competed in the event individually, off the team.

Sumrall was 1:07.81 in prelims of the 100 breast and 1:07.94 in the second semifinal, finishing 16th overall. Her best this season was 1:07.40, from April, and her lifetime best 1:06.34 from the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships.

Margalis’ lifetime best came in March at 1:07.20, after three years of stagnation in the event, and she split 1:06.40 on the relay. Earlier in the meet, she swam on both the prelims and finals team of the U.S. women’s silver medal 4×200 free relay, splitting 1:55.81 in finals (her flat start best is 1:56.58). Thursday, placed fourth overall in the 200 IM final, nearly hitting her lifetime best at 2:08.91.

With the world record holder Lilly King a lock for the final, the U.S.’s use of Margalis here signals a willingness to play the “hot hand,” even in a scenario when it did not really matter. The American team is the top seed by nearly three seconds, and the coaching staff could have used Sumrall and still safely gotten the relay into the final but opted to put forth the best option.

Olivia Smoliga led off the prelims swim in 58.79, Katie McLaughlin went 57.15 on the fly leg, and Mallory Comerford anchored in 53.05. In the final session Sunday night, Regan Smith – fresh off a monster 200 back world record – will sub in on leadoff, King will swim breast, Kelsi Dahlia is expected to swim fly, and Simone Manuel is the presumed anchor.

That lineup, of course, leaves 100 back world record holder Kathleen Baker on the bench. Baker was 59.03 in semis of the 100 back earlier in the meet, but 59.56 in the final. Smith took out the first 100 of her gold medal 200 back Saturday night in 59.45.

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Teddy Murphey
1 year ago

Would be helpful if you told us the split ¿

Reply to  Teddy Murphey
1 year ago

It’s under Results. 1:06:40. Margalis rocks.

Hawaiian Reeves
Reply to  Teddy Murphey
1 year ago

I completely agree with you that the article is missing essential information. Per the live results recap, she went 1:06:40

Dan Abery
Reply to  Torrey Hart
1 year ago

Jordan and Yianni love this

Reply to  Teddy Murphey
1 year ago

There are more 100 back times in this article than Margalis’ split….

1 year ago

I really hope she can make a huge drop next year instead of being stuck at 2:08.9, she is too talented not to!

1 year ago

I’m not sure Sumrall is 100% healthy and that might’ve had something to do with Margalis getting the prelims swim.

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
1 year ago

I hope 2020 is Margalis breakout year

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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