Women’s Medley Relay Line-Up Predications: USA’s Line-Up Unclear with No Easy Solution


Women’s 4×100 Medley RELAY — PRELIMS

  • World Record: United States – 3:50.40 (2019)
  • Championship Record: United States – 3:50.40 (2019)
  • World Junior Record: Canada – 3:58.38 (2017)
  • 2022 Winning Time: United States – 3:53.78
  • 2022 Top 8 Time: 4:01.45

Top 8 from prelims:

  1. Canada – 3:55.93
  2. United States – 3:56.31
  3. Sweden – 3:57.49
  4. Australia – 3:57.74
  5. Netherlands – 3:57.81
  6. China – 3:58.13
  7. France – 3:58.54
  8. Japan – 3:58.58

Let’s try to keep things happy and peaceful, at least for now…

SwimSwam picked seven of the eight teams to make this final correctly. Japan finished .44 ahead of Great Britain, who we chose to finish in 8th. The key difference leg that elevated Japan to the final was Reona Aoki’s 1:06.57, which was second best among the teams moving to the final.


Surprise top seed Canada had some great swims, particularly from what has been their Achilles’ Heel for years, the breaststroke. Yet Sophie Angus, who finished just 22nd in the prelims of the 100 breast in a time of 1:07.34, dropped over a second to post the fastest split of the eight teams in the final. Maggie MacNeil will stay, obviously. Ingrid Wilm swam a swift 59.11 but will be swapped out for Kylie Masse.

This is the part of the story where the easy pickings start to disappear, and everything becomes a little less obvious: predicting who the Canadians should swim in the freestyle.

  • Option 1 – Stick with Mary-Sophie Harvey: she split 53.99 in the prelims, 54.00 in the mixed free, and 53.99 (prelims) and 54.57 (finals) in the women’s 4×100 free
  • Option 2 – Sub in Taylor Ruck: Ruck split 53.99 (finals) and 54.16 (prelims) in the women’s 4×100 free and 54.16 in the prelims of the mixed free relay. Unlike Harvey, she did not swim any individuals and did not swim this morning, so she should be more rested.
  • Option 3 – Use Summer McIntosh: I know I didn’t think highly of it either when another SwimSwam writer brought it up (hint his name rhymes with “Pencer Sendland”), but I have warmed to it. On day 1, McIntosh swam a poor 400 free and then led off the 4×100 free in 54.99 but has since improved, progressively getting better each and every day. On day 4, she earned bronze in the 200 free, in a new junior world record time of 1:53.65 (with a 100 split less than a second off her 100 free relay lead-off). On day 5, she defended her title in the 200 fly and lowered the WJR; later that session, she swam another 1:53 200 free in the 4×200 relay. Yes, she will have the 400 IM finals earlier in the session, but with the improvement curve she has shown this week, don’t rule it out.

Final Projected Roster for Canada: Masse, Angus, MacNeil, (leaning toward Harvey)


Ok, take some deep breaths and get ready for some out-of-the-box thinking.

USA medley relay: Katharine Berkoff, Kate Douglass, Regan Smith, Abbey Weitzeil

Maybe you say I need to come back a little closer to the outside of the box, but when throwing around ideas, “Anyayay Elshawpay” (using Pig Latin here) said, and I quote, “I do not hate [it] either.”

Douglass has a personal best of 1:07.07 from May of this year. Her 100-breast split in her silver medal-winning 200-breast was 1:08.48. Both Lilly King and Lydia Jacoby have looked off form, and King has the finals of the 50 breast before the relay. Smith has a personal best of 56.60 in the 100 fly, which is faster than what Huske won bronze in.

But, like the French Revolution, I may be getting a little too carried away here, and I like my head attached to my torso, so I’ll reign it in.

Giving credit where credit is do, a SwimSwam writer who is so nice you say their name twice (too corny?) beat me in typing out the idea of the USA using the team of Berkoff, King, Smith, and Douglass.

Using Regan Smith in the fly may seem out of place; she didn’t even compete in the event at Nationals, and her personal best is slower than what both Torri Huske and Gretchen Walsh swam in the 100-fly event. Huske did earn a bronze medal in the 100 with a time of 56.61 but swam an unimpressive 57.42 this morning.

The swimmer in me would have loved to have swum a 57.42 butterfly in my lifetime, let alone a 57.42 freestyle (my claim to fame is going out too hard in the 100m fly once and having a 19-second differential between my 50 splits). The coach and analyst in me, though, says when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, you need to use the best four swimmers that you have and can rely on previous bests.

Walsh did have a rough start to the meet but has rebounded a little by winning the bronze medal in the 50 fly, so she could get the nod to swim the fly but has yet to break 57 in the fly this meet.

Three likely options

Fastest time of meet (if available) Fastest time of meet (if available) Fastest time of meet (if available)
Smith 57.78 (Ind, Final) Berkhoff 58.25 (Ind. Final) Smith 57.78 (Ind, Final)
King 1:05.45 (Ind. Semi) King 1:05.45 (Ind. Semi) King 1:05.45 (Ind. Semi)
Huske 56.61 (Ind. Final)/ Smith 56.60 (PB) Douglass 56.43 (PB)
Douglass 51.79 (X Med Final) Douglass 51.79 (X Med Final) Weitzeil 52.40 (X Med Prelim)
3:51.63 3:52.09 3:52.06

I like math and charts, but what this one is lacking is context. The line-up on the far left is the traditional line-up of the winners of each individual event at trials, but it fails to show that Jacoby medalled in the 100 Breast (1:05.94) and King didn’t. It also doesn’t show that Huske swam 58.19 in the mixed medley and 57.42 this morning. The line-up in the middle forces Smith into a 100 fly when she has been training for the 200 exclusively since Nationals. The far-right line-up pushes Douglass into the fly, who, while she did swim fly in the 200 IM, has not trained for the 100.

Regardless of whatever line-up the USA uses, I am sure that it will be what the coaches think is in the best interests of the team and not some desire to stick to past precedence.

I’ll steal a quote from another contributor (anonymously this time), and I want to be sure to get across that this was said in a tongue-in-cheek manner and by no means is an endorsement but,

“Just put the names on a dartboard and throw to figure it out idk.”

Personally, I’d go with divining rods and see who they point to. But in all seriousness, we (writers and readers) know the importance of this relay. With the USA’s 2024 Worlds selection process unknown as of yet, it is vital to secure a guaranteed Paris 2024 berth in this relay now.

Final Projected Roster for USA:  Berkoff, King, Smith, Douglass or Smith, King, Huske, Douglass seem most likely


The Swedes had a great swim to place 3rd into the final. The only weak leg was the 1:01.51 posted by Michelle Coleman in the backstroke. Expect Hanna Rosvall, who swam 1:00.46 in the prelims of the 100 back, to enter the relay. With Sarah Sjostrom eschewing the 100-fly individual over the past two World Champs, she is unlikely to move to the fly to make room for Coleman on the free, but it is not outside of the realm of possibilities.

Final Projected Roster for Sweden: Rosvall, Hansson S., Hansson L., Sjostrom


The Aussie will bring in their two powerhouses, Kaylee McKeown and Mollie O’Callaghan, to swim the back and free, respectively. Abbey Harkin split 1:07.66 this morning but did post a time of 1:06.86 in the prelims of the 100 breast, so the convoluted (but possible) idea of using O’Callaghan on the back, McKeown on the breast and Shayna Jack on the free seems to be unlikely. Emma McKeon seems the obvious answer to swim the fly.

Final Projected Roster for Australia: McKeown, Harkin, McKeon, O’Callaghan


Of the remaining four teams, China seems the most likely to make a substitution that will pay out dividends. It would not surprise me if the Chinese do a full swap, but I think they might keep Wu Qingfeng as the anchor.

Wan Letian will most likely replace Wang Xueer in the backstroke. Wang swam 1:00.42 this morning, and Wan has a meet-best of 59.49. China put no breaststroker into the semifinals, but Tang Qianting was faster than Yang Chang in the preliminaries. Gold medal winner Zhang Yufei is an obvious choice for the butterfly.

Wu has been as fast as 52.64 (relay split) this meet which is faster than both Cheng Yujie and Yang Junxuan have been on the relays, but Yang did qualify for the individual 100 final, albeit finishing 8th.

Final Projected Roster for China: Wan, Tang, Zhang, Wu. 

Netherlands, France & Japan

The Dutch could bring in Maaike de Waard for either Kira Toussaint or Kim Busch. De Waard was faster than Toussaint in the individual 100 back and faster than Busch in the 50 fly.

The French will keep Pauline Mahieu and Charlotte Bonnet on the back and breast, as both are the national record holders. Marie Wattel is the fastest 100 flyer and freestyle but will stay in the fly, and Beryl Gastaldello will most likely take over the anchor leg.

The Japanese will most likely bring in Satomi Suzuki to replace Aoki, despite Aoki’s great split.  Ai Soma has been their faster flyer this meet, and Rikako Ikee their fastest freestyler, but they could slide Ikee to the fly and use Nagisa Ikemoto on the free, as she has had multiple sub 54 splits.

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2 months ago

A scenario where Lily king does not swim BR?

That’s not “outside the box”, that’s lighting the box on fire.. 😉

2 months ago

Lilly King is not that off. Still a competitive Breastroke candidate. But Huske should be ruled out.
three options.

Reply to  Dai
2 months ago

I sorta wish they’d done Smith-King-KD-Weitzeil.

2 months ago

With Hanna Rosvall on back, I thought Sweden might be the slight favorites over Canada and China for bronze. Now I’m not so sure who is favorite for bronze. Gonna be a tough fight.

Alison England
2 months ago

USA men
AUS women

2 months ago

Sweden using Coleman on back over Rosvall despite going 1:01.5. Thought maybe Sjostrom would slide onto fly after L.Hansson not breaking 57 individually…

Reply to  Splash
2 months ago

Maybe Rosvall is not well? Otherwise it doesn’t make much sense. Hansson Hansson Sjostrom Coleman might’ve been better than using Coleman on back.

2 months ago

Smith, king, Walsh, Douglass for the US and Australia has gone for the predicted lineup

Reply to  Steph
2 months ago

This is in box choice

Alison England
2 months ago

Don’t expose Regan to more vitriol. Mind you, if you don’t, Huske is exposed similarly.

Reply to  Alison England
2 months ago

So we should say, everybody is doing a good job….?

Alison England
Reply to  Dai
2 months ago

Not at all, but some really awful things have been said about them. It’s not as though they chose to swim less well than they had hoped, or were expected to.
Jacob Whittle’s mistake cost GB a Gold medal in the 4 x 1 free relay. Only a few comments were made (including mine). He will learn from it.

2 months ago

Really feel for Huske, I hope she’s able to pick herself back up after this meet. She’s got the 55 point in her

Reply to  swimmer
2 months ago

Not today