2022 JUNIOR PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS
- August 24-27, 2022
- Mark Takai Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center
- Honolulu, Hawaii (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time)
- Prelims 9:00 AM / Finals 5:00 PM (GMT-10)
- LCM (50m)
- Meet Central
- Psych Sheets
- Live Results
- Live Streaming
- Five main story lines – boys
- Five main story lines – girls
GIRLS 4×200 METER FREESTYLE RELAY – TIMED FINALS
- Jr World: 7:51.47 – Canada (Sanchez, Oleksiak, Smith, Ruck) (2017)
Jr Pan Pac: 7:57.93 – USA (Tuggle, Ivey, Walsh, Nordmann) (2018)
- United States (Kayla Wilson, Jillian Cox, Cavan Gormsen, Erin Gemmell) – 7:54.70
- Australia (Jamie Perkins, Amelia Weber, Olivia Winsch, Milla Jansen) – 7:55.85
- Japan (Hinata Umeki, Misa Okuzono, Karin Ninomiya, Ruka Takezawa) – 8:01.38
American 17-year-old Erin Gemmell put on a show in the girls 4×200 free relay tonight at the 2022 Junior Pan Pacs in Honolulu. Facing a seemingly insurmountable Australian lead, Gemmell dove in for the anchor, rocketing to a stunning 1:54.86 split to carry the U.S. to victory and a new Championship Record. The performance comes after Gemmell won the individual girls 200 free last night in 1:56.15 shattering the Championship Record in that event. That wasn’t Gemmell’s personal best in the 200 free, however, as she swam a 1:56.14 at U.S. Nationals last month, taking 2nd to none other than Katie Ledecky.
With a pair of flat-start 1:56.1s and now her 1:54.86 split all in the last month, it’s safe to say Gemmell is cementing herself as one of the USA’s current top female 200 freestylers. Her times from Nationals and Jr Pan Pacs would have put her on the U.S. World Champs roster in the individual 200 free as well as the relay.
We know that 1:54.86 is of course a fast relay split, but how exactly does it stack up in the context of an elite senior international meet? Well, the short answer is that it stacks up very well. Let’s take the two most recent worldwide major championships: the 2022 World Champs and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which of course, took place in July of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the 2022 World Championships just 2 months ago, only 4 swimmers in the final split faster than Gemmell did tonight. Here is the breakdown of those splits:
- Katie Ledecky (USA) – 1:53.67
- Yang Junxuan (CHN) – 1:54.18
- Bella Sims (USA) – 1:54.60
- Summer McIntosh (CAN) – 1:54.79
Incredibly, Gemmell’s swim tonight actually compares more favorably against the splits from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic final. Only 3 swimmers in that field swam faster than Gemmell did tonight:
As for other major international competitions that have taken place this summer, Gemmell would have fared quite well in those meets too. At the Commonwealth Games, only Australians Ariarne Titmus (1:52.82) and Mollie O’Callaghan (1:54.80) split faster than Gemmell. Gemmell’s split tonight would have been the fastest at the European Championships, which took place just over a week ago.
So, what does this mean for the USA’s prospects in the women’s 4×200 free relay going forward? Well, it’s obviously a positive development. Of course, Katie Ledecky can be counted on to provide a sub-1:55 split at any major meet, and more often than not, it’s a sub-1:54. Fellow teenager Bella Sims splitting 1:54.60 at World Champs this summer is a huge as well, since now that she can be paired with Gemmell, the U.S. has 2 young girls who have proven to be able to split 1:55 on a relay. 15-year-old Claire Weinstein, Sims’ teammate on the Sandpipers of Nevada, also led Team USA off at the World Championships in 1:56.71. Given how young Weinstein is, she provides another bright spot for the Americans in terms of potentially being able to get down to that 1:55 range.
After the top 3 teams at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last summer all broke the World Record, Australia lowered that mark again this summer at the Commonwealth Games, bringing the record mark under 7:40 for the first time ever. That’s why 1:55 is suddenly such an important mark for the women’s 4×200 free relay, as the World Record stands at 7:39.29, which is an average split of 1:54.82.
For the USA’s purposes, we know that Ledecky can reliably be under that mark on the biggest stages. In fact, she can even be counted on to lead off in that time or faster on a fairly consistent basis. That’s not to say we should expect to see Ledecky leading off the relay, since she’s proven at recent meets to be a very effective anchor. Simply for the math purposes though, with Ledecky’s consistency on the table, every swimmer who has proven to be able to split under 1:55, (Gemmell and Sims) increases the chances the U.S. has to break the World Record.
The women’s 4×200 free relay has suddenly become one of the most competitive events out there currently. Australia set the World Record just a month ago, and China set the previous record last summer in Tokyo. The U.S. was just 0.40 seconds behind China at the Olympics last summer, and now they’re looking stronger than ever in the event. It’s sort of hard to believe, but it now looks like either at the 2023 World Championships or the 2024 Olympics in Paris, we could see 3 teams all under 7:40 in the event at the same time, which would truly be an incredible race to watch.