2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- All sports: Friday, July 12 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
- Pool swimming: Sunday, July 21 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
- The Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center, Gwangju, Korea
- Meet site
- Competition Schedule
- FinaTV Live Stream
- Entry Lists
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 Vollmer, Lacey Nymeyer, Arianna 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.