Watch USA Women Win 4×200 Free Gold in Budapest (Race Video)


The United States won a tighter-than-expected 4×200 free relay on Thursday night in Budapest. Leah Smith led off with her first sub-1:56 to put the Americans out front, but China’s middle two legs kept even with USA’s Mallory Comerford and Melanie Margalis. Anchor Katie Ledecky held off a 1:55-mid anchor from China’s Li Bingjie and the US claimed the gold. China took silver, and Australia snuck past Russia for the bronze.

Watch the entire race, courtesy of NBC Sports, below:

Write-up by Lauren Neidigh:


  • World Record: China, 7:42.08, 2009
  • Championship Record: China, 7:42.08, 2009
  • Junior World Record: Australia, 7:56.68, 2015
  1. GOLD: USA – 7:43.39
  2. SILVER: CHN – 7:44.96
  3. BRONZE: AUS – 7:48.51

Leah Smith led off for the Americans in a personal best 1:55.97, making her the 6th American women ever to break the 1:56-barrier. Mallory Comerford (1:56.92) and Melanie Margalis (1:56.48) took over the middle legs of the relay as they battled down the stretch with China and Russia. It was a very tight race with China going into the final leg, but Katie Ledecky took off with a 1:54.02 split to help the Americans strike gold again.

China wound up with silver as Li Bingjie anchored in 1:55.46. The Russians got off to a great start with Veronika Popova’s 1:55.95 leadoff split, but the Australians were able to run them down for bronze with Emma McKeon (1:56.26) and Ariarne Titmus (1:56.61) giving them a pair of 1:56s on the 2nd and 4th legs respectively.

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Comparative splits for several of the fastest relays ever:

World record from Rome 2009: China 7:42.08
Yang Yu – 1:55.47
Zhu Qianwei – 1:55.79
Liu Jing – 1:56.09
Pang Jiaying – 1:54.73

Olympic and American record from London 2012: USA 7:42.92
Missy Franklin – 1:55.96
Dana Vollmer – 1:56.02
Shannon Vreeland – 1:56.85
Allison Schmitt – 1:54.09

USA from Rio 2016: 7:43.03
Allison Schmitt – 1:56.21
Leah Smith – 1:56.69
Maya DiRado – 1:56.39
Katie Ledecky – 1:53.74

USA here in Budapest 2017: 7:43.39
Leah Smith – 1:55.97
Mallory Comerford – 1:56.92
Melanie Margalis – 1:56.48
Katie Ledecky – 1:54.02


Leah Smith
Women’s 4 × 200 meter freestyle relay
Relay splits (final)
2013 Barcelona – not applicable
2014 Gold Coast – 1:58.03
2015 Kazan – 1:56.86
2016 Rio – 1:56.69
2017 Budapest – 1:55.97

Katie Ledecky
Women’s 4 × 200 meter freestyle relay
Relay splits (final)
2013 Barcelona – 1:56.32
2014 Gold Coast – 1:54.36
2015 Kazan – 1:55.64
2016 Rio – 1:53.74
2017 Budapest – 1:54.02

Stat man

I thought that the American record was set in Rome 2009 at the height of the tech suit era


Watch the russian woman after they touch 4th, they look absolutely destroyed… poor girls, first two legs did all they could


I would’ve been pissed too, .08!


Not true. Poplar was almost one second slower than she was yesterday. That cost Russian team medals.




It is easy to determine who is the leader in the team and who are invited by looking at reaction time. For those who are not decisive factor the last thing they want is to DQ. Let’s leaders to win.
Margalis – 0.50 sec ; Comerford – 0.45. Amefican team was extremely careful. They have to learn to swim relay from Japanese team.
Reaction time.
Japan: 0.67-0.20-0.11-0.22. Total – 1.20 sec
American: 0.71-0.45-0.50-0.28. Total – 1.94 sec


what place were japanese? what place was USA?


Japanese team was fifth. American team was first. Does it help you to understand that the exchange is the essential part of relay race? Good. Should American do it with higher quality the result would be better than the one Olympic team had and could possibly be an American record.
You may don’t care as far it is gold medal. It’s ok. But I prefer to see Peaty winning with astonishing world record but not to win being almost two seconds slower.


USA men’s 4 x 100 m medley relay was disqualified at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships.


You just support my point. The exchange element of relay has to be mastered as any other parts of swimming: stroke, turns, underwater etc.
In the 4×50 and even in 4×100 relays the poorly performed exchange has the same consequences as DQ – losing the race.


The aforementioned poster does not remember the USA men’s 4 x 100 m medley relay disqualification at the 2013 FINA World Championships.


If you aren’t yet lost the ability to learn then I would recommend you to learn how to conduct the discussion from AWSI DOOGER. No joking. Great example.


Well done. I came to this thread to emphasize the same thing: the Americans were so careful it made the race considerably closer than it needed to be. The only surprise in those numbers is that Margalis was slower than Comerford. Mallory waited so long I thought she might insist on a hand touch like schoolyard relays. The Asian teams are focusing on this aspect and stealing vital tenths all over the place. Not merely in swimming. The same applies to track relays. Note Japan’s silver behind Jamaica in Rio’s 4 x 100 track relay. No way that should happen but every exchange looks like amazing precision. American teams go to their little camps and pretend they are doing all… Read more »

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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