What SHOULD the Mixed Medley Relays do in Finals?

by Spencer Penland 18

July 23rd, 2019 News


  • 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
  • FinaTV Live Stream
  • Live results


  • World Record: 3:38.56, USA (Grevers/King/Dressel/Manuel), 2017
  • World Championships Record: 3:38.56, USA (Grevers/King/Dressel/Manuel), 2017
  • Defending 2017 World Champion: 3:38.56, USA (Grevers/King/Dressel/Manuel)

We have compiled a list of the fastest relay orders for the major medal contenders in the mixed medley relay, using top times from the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons. We’re keeping it to that timeframe just for the sake of simplicity and to keep it more even in terms of the context of the times. Here is a link to our mixed medley preview, which goes more in-depth and includes more countries. This post is just simply to show what the fastest combination is on paper for each of the likely medal contending relays.

Disclaimer: these are just the fastest times for each of these 4 countries added up based on times from the past two seasons. The context of who is swimming well at the meet right now, and who is focused on other events is still very much in play, and could absolutely have an effect on these lineups.

When it comes to the mixed medley relays, the most widely used strategy is to frontload the two male swimmers, having them do back and breast, and using the two female swimmers on the end, for fly and free. This strategy has become the standard because each country usually wants the best shot at getting out in front, in order to give their back half swimmers still water to swim through.


M Ryan Murphy 51.94
W Lilly King 1:04.93
M Caeleb Dressel 50.36
W Simone Manuel 52.54

The United States, also our pick as the favorite for Gold, is a case where they don’t usually stick to the standard strategy. The Americans have lots of options when it comes to this relay, but the opportunity to use Lilly King on breaststroke is too good to pass up, especially considering breaststroke is likely the slowest stroke for American men currently. The US currently has both the men’s and women’s 100 back world record holders, Ryan Murhpy and Kathleen Baker. So under normal circumstances, the Americans could consider having Baker lead-off, leaving the fly and free spots for the male swimmers. However, Baker is battling injury and not in top form right now.

Caeleb Dressel is the best pick for the fly leg. Firstly, because his both his best mark from the 2017-2018/2018-2019 seasons and his lifetime best (49.86) are faster than any flyer in the world. That leaves Simone Manuel, the US women’s go-to anchor, as the anchor for this relay as well. Manuel already split 51.9 anchoring the women’s 4×100 free relay in Gwangju.


W Georgia Davies 59.12
M Adam Peaty 56.88
M James Guy 51.31
W Freya Anderson 53.61

Great Britain is also a case where they stray from the conventional male front half, although in contrast to the Americans, who have many options for the order, the Brits need to use Adam Peaty on the breaststroke leg. Peaty is not only the only swimmer to ever crack 57 seconds in the 100 breast, he’s the only to ever crack 58 seconds. He will, without a doubt, outsplit any breaststroker in the field massively. While James Guy could swim free instead, Great Britain doesn’t have a female flyer that could take his place to make a fair trade.


M Mitch Larkin 52.38
M Matthew Wilson 59.17
W Emma McKeon 56.54
W Cate Campbell 52.03

The Aussies could definitely take this Gold medal, especially the way they’ve swum thus far at this meet. Mitch Larkin beat American Ryan Murphy in the final of the men’s 100 back just at last night’s finals, and Matthew Wilson, took half a second off his season best in the prelims of the men’s 100 breast. Couple that with Emma McKeon, one of the fastest female flyers out there right now, and Cate Campbell, one of the greateast female anchors ever, and you’re in business. However, McKeon did scratch out of the 200 free yesterday due to illness, so her status is still up in the air.


M Xu Jiayu 52.17
M Yan Zibei 58.63
W Zhou Yilin 57.41
W Zhu Menghui 53.4

China has at least two very postive pieces heading into this relay – Xu Jiayu won Gold in the men’s 100 back last night, and breaststroker Yan Zibei is dropping time literally every time he races. That front half is definitely China’s best on paper, and is the fastest front half of any team on paper.


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1 year ago

Seems like Russia will contend for a medal as well (I DID read the fine print at the top of the page), probably less flexibility with the lineup than the other nations above.

1 year ago

Emma Mckeon, one of the fatest female flyers.. 🤣

Reply to  anon
1 year ago

Australia won gold. Yeah,…jokes on you Anon

1 year ago

sorry got distracted by all the typos 🙂

did you call emma McKeon fat?

Reply to  Verram
1 year ago

Nope. They meant to say: Emma McKeon is PHAT.