US Women’s 800 Free Relay Breaks American Record in Silver Medal Swim

2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

A streak of 4 consecutive World Championships in the women’s 800 free relay came to an end on Thursday for thee American women, in spite of swimming under the World Record. Their 7:41.87 lost out to Australia’s 7:41.50, with both going under the old World Record of 7:42.08 set in 2009 by China.

The old American Record was set in 2009 by the team of Dana VollmerLacey NymeyerArianna Kukors, and Allison Schmitt.

The fastest split for the 2019 American Record relay was done by Katie Ledecky in 1:54.61. Under other circumstances, that would not be significant, as Ledecky is currently the country’s top 200 freestyler. Given that she had to scratch the individual 200 free prelims and the 1500 free finals just a few days ago, and only returned to the water this morning, that she had the 3rd-fastest split of the field is momentous. It’s not quite a “Michael Jordan flu game” moment, but it is still can maybe the emotional lift that the Americans need to finish strong at a meet of disappointments.

Comparative Splits, American Records:

2019 American Record 2009 American Record
Simone Manuel 1:56.09 Dana Vollmer 1:55.29
Katie Ledecky 1:54.61 Lacey Nymeyer 1:57.88
Melanie Margalis 1:55.81 Ariana Kukors 1:55.18
Katie McLaughlin 1:55.36 Allison Schmitt 1:54.21
Total Time 7:41.87 Total Time 7:42.56

Other splits of significance for the Americans: Simone Manuel swam a best time and is now the 7th-fastest American in history in the event: her previous fastest was 1:57.01 on a flat start. Further, Melanie Margalis was 6-tenths faster than she swam in this relay final at the 2017 World Championships, and Katie McLaughlin‘s swim was 1.12 seconds better than her flat-start lifetime best. In a week where the Americans have had lots of challenges, all 4 swimmers in this race had good swims by their own standards.

It looked like the current American wave was losing out on its best chance to break this record, with the ‘super relay’ that was to include Missy Franklin (retired) and Allison Schmitt (moving past her athletic prime) never putting the full relay together. But with a gutsy performance from a sick Katie Ledecky, with Katie McLaughlin returning from a serious injury to her previous trajectory, with Simone Manuel being able to do just enough to extend her range from the 100 free, and with Melanie Margalis continuing to be a rock of versatility for the Americans, the American Record and silver comes away as a consolation prize.

In This Story

39
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
39 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Verram
2 years ago

I don’t agree it’s a meet of disappointments.. the Americans are leading the medal tally

VA Steve
Reply to  Verram
2 years ago

Agree. The swimmers there have done well by and large–the selection process is for another day. Australia is having a good meet this time and we shouldn’t let our arrogance get in the way of a fair analysis of how the team is doing.

jim
Reply to  Verram
2 years ago

I was debating this myself…I think it ‘appears’ to be disappointing because you don’t have Americans making the finals in every event, let alone 2 Americans, let alone 2 Americans on the podium. That’s not necessarily to say that USA is having a TERRIBLE meet. I do think the loss of Ledecky in the 400, perhaps lack of any medals in some events is a result of some ‘off’ swims…but when you are breaking American records here or there, or getting close to world records whether in victory or defeat, AND for someone like Kathleen Baker who was seeded 1st in 50 back only to get 6th, but the fact her time was literally .3-.4 seconds away from winning, that’s… Read more »

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Verram
2 years ago

And better than 2015 for sure

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

indeed , much better ( no fluke 400 free relay for example )

Baker-King-Worrell-Manuel
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

Oh really?

2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships
USA Swimming
Women’s Team
5 G, 4 S, 2 B

Baker-King-Worrell-Manuel
Reply to  Verram
2 years ago

Baker? Dahlia? Schmitt? Sumrall?

Not to mention King’s disqualification in the women’s 200 m breaststroke.

If there is one tournament to sacrifice it’s the Pan Pacs not the FINA World Aquatics Championships.

Danjohnrob
2 years ago

Nicely written, Braden! Thanks for all your hard work during this meet!

mediocre-ly
2 years ago

hopefully next year it’ll be a good race with jack & a healthier ledecky

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  mediocre-ly
2 years ago

+ Regan Smith

Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

Glad that Ledecky has fully recovered from whatever that afflicted her

Dunc1952
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

Wouldn’t assert Ledecky is “fully recovered” as her time, though a valiant effort, was nearly a second slower from a rolling start than her best flat start swim.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Dunc1952
2 years ago

Her best flat start swim was done two years ago. She never got anywhere near that since.

That would be like saying McEvoy is not fully recovered because he is swimming nowhere near what he swam two years ago

Baker-King-Worrell-Manuel
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

2018 Pan Pacs
Ledecky’s split
2018 – 1:53.84

Hardly recovered.

Baker-King-Worrell-Manuel
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

2017 FINA World Aquatics Championship
Ledecky’s split
2017 – 1:54.02

Hardly recovered.

William Charles Alexander
2 years ago

Would leah smith have been better than Manuel to lead off? Her PB in 200m free is in the 1:55’s iirc 🤔

Caleb
Reply to  William Charles Alexander
2 years ago

Her all time PB is only .12 faster so no reason to think the coaches picked wrong.

Wahooswimfan
Reply to  William Charles Alexander
2 years ago

Leah Smith’s best time is faster than Simone went, and she is swimming well, having won bronze in the 400. Strange than Meehan opted for Simone (who has always lost to Leah in trials); but I guess its coach’s favoritism of his own college swimmer. Would she have done faster? No one knows, because the best time difference is so small, but it is strange that Meehan went with 3 of his own Stanford swimmers over a swimmer who beat two of them in the trials.

VASwammer
Reply to  Wahooswimfan
2 years ago

I’m a huge Leah Smith fan. Respectfully she had her opportunity to earn her spot at night with her prelims swim. She went 1.57.49.

SWIMBOY
2 years ago

Simone and Katie both looked really upset on the medal podium

Breezeway
2 years ago

So Simone is #7 all time US in the 200m free. Interesting. Let’s not let facts get in the way of the hate.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Breezeway
2 years ago

It’s nice that she was able to draft Titmus

It’s unfortunate she won’t be able to draft Sarah or Cate tomorrow.

Justin Thompson
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

I believe you already covered this once before, but hey go ahead and throw it out there again.😂😅

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Justin Thompson
2 years ago

Did you never watch any of her races at world championships or Olympics?

Was I wrong in my analyses?

Breezeway
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

Draft? Does that mean “pressure bust pipes”? I don’t recall Simone being beside C1 in the Rio 50 when C1 was damn near last. As great as you say Cate is, she’s come up real small in Worlds/Olympics individually. But she’s a great relay swimmer. I like Sarah, she comes to swim and has no excuses win or lose

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Breezeway
2 years ago

“she’s come up real small in Worlds/Olympics individually”

You mean from the fact that she has World Championship individual gold medal and also Olympics medal.

Just admit you hate Cate and go somewhere else.

“I like Sarah, she comes to swim and has no excuses win or lose”

Same here. I like Sarah too.

No excuses like “illness”, “swam 100 free semis” etc just to undermine that they got beat by someone else. Amirite

BSD
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

Just admit you hate Simone and go somewhere else

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  BSD
2 years ago

Wrong. I don’t hate Simone just because I wrote some facts about her swimming strategy, which is actually very sound and smart.

Swimfan
2 years ago

They should of had Katie gone second and had Ledecky anchor!! Ledecky could of chased down for the gold

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Swimfan
2 years ago

They tried that strategy last year at Pan Pacs and it didn’t work, remember?

Baker-King-Worrell-Manuel
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

Allison Schmitt was absolutely wretched in the lead-off leg at the 2018 Pan Pacs.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »