Zach Apple Scorches 46.8 Split as USA Swims Fastest Textile 400 FR Relay Ever

2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

The USA men came through with a new Championship Record in the 400 Free Relay on the first night of finals at the 2019 FINA World Championships. Caeleb Dressel, who first broke the American Record as the leadoff member of this relay in 2017, swam his fastest time since the last Worlds meet with a 47.63 to start. He handed off to Blake Pieroni, who held the lead in 47.49.

Their 3rd leg man, however, really brought the thunder. Zach Apple pulled the Americans further ahead with a huge 46.86 split. Nathan Adrian, the anchor staple of this relay over the last several years, then sealed the deal with a 47.08 split.

American Relay Splits:

Their 3:09.06 cleared the USA’s former mark of 3:09.24 from 2009 Worlds and is within a second of the World Record. It’s also the fastest textile suit relay in history.

Apple’s split brings up an interesting possibility of whether he may be considered for the anchor position on the medley relay. With Dressel likely swimming the fly leg, he could be used on the prelims or finals relay in that spot. Pieroni is the other man slated to swim the individual 100 free here.

The coaches will have several men to choose from, as Adrian is also a possibility. He’s been consistently reliable as the USA’s anchor leg and was nearly sub-47 himself tonight. Apple, however, was over 6 tenths faster than Pieroni and had the fastest split of any man in the Worlds field tonight.

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Philip Johnson
2 years ago

I would put Apple on the medley relay. Nothing personal, but 46.8 is too good.

iLikePsych
Reply to  Philip Johnson
2 years ago

I’d say Adrian in prelims and Apple in finals unless Pieroni throws down something big individually. Sure maybe both of them might not be able to replicate those with their second taper/recovery respectively, but the split difference over Pieroni is worth the risk.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Philip Johnson
2 years ago

He’s on fire no doubt. But Adrian is the master of the hold-em-off swim. That’s a totally different strategy than the we’re really close, or come from behind, and not necessarily the best for the fastest split. Plus, the psychological advantage to the team as a stabilizing force (Wilson a novice, Dressel erratic so far), and to psyche out opponents is immense. If you’re an anchor on another relay going up against Adrian, somewhere in your mind, you’re saying it’s over. If you’re going up against Zapple, you’re saying “Who?” and “I’ve got a chance.” Zapple is going to be insane come OTs.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

He went 47.9 unshaved a month ago and “he’s a big taper swimmer.” You’re right. I should’ve said “consistent” with his post-2017 free.

Swimmer
2 years ago

Training with Coley has made a huge difference He has really ramped it up this past year.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago

Training with Pieroni is the difference. It’s why he’s staying there.

BSD
Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago

He doesn’t train with Coley, he trains with Mike Westphal

Jjran
Reply to  BSD
2 years ago

Why Mike is a distance coach? Dosent Mike coach Zane? So Zach trains with Zane? Coley is at Bama.

Zanna
Reply to  Jjran
2 years ago

And Perioni

Charge
2 years ago

With all respect to Adrian, and unless Blake goes 47.2 individually I think you have to reward that swim by Apple. It is a week later, the medley, that’s a long time with no racing on a re-taper. Unless he wasn’t fully tapered in Naples.

If you play the “what if” game, the Americans can absolutely challenge the WR here next summer. You have Dressel who I still think has a 47.0 or faster lead off in him and then Apple and Adrian have been sub 47 rolling, then Farris was 47.08 in Naples and there’s a bunch of other guys that can go 47-mid to high and have another year to train.

But a Dressel/Apple/Farris/Adrian relay that goes 47.1/46.9/47.1/47.1… Read more »

dude
2 years ago

Adrian, 10 years later and still on the relay. Incredible.

Walter
Reply to  dude
2 years ago

And cancer.

Father Adrian
Reply to  dude
2 years ago

If his anchor leg and gold medal here doesn’t tug at your heart strings you aren’t a true swimming fan.

Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

This is why the WC selection is too early. He clearly should have gotten the 100 individual spot over Dressel. lol

PVSFree
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

Relax, Jesus Christ, it’s been one day

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  PVSFree
2 years ago

Quite the compliment.

Charge
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

I get your take here, it’s in jest obviously, but I’m not opposed to what they did in terms of giving athletes two years of preparation where you know your schedule and what the plan is.

But I’d really think they would rather do that for the 1st cycle with worlds and panpacs and then give swimmers the year before Olympics a trials/worlds practice cycle.

I wonder how much swimmer/coach input they got on this.

IM FAN
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

Ok 47.6 was disappointing because his 50 fly time gave the indication that he was in even better shape them Budapest, where he went 47.2 leading off. 47.6 would still beat any other American, including zapple…

A.L.V
2 years ago

Great swim for Apple. But did anyone else think Dressel was going to lead off in a 46?

Charge
Reply to  A.L.V
2 years ago

After that 50 Fly I was certain.

He just didn’t look explosive, out in 22.8 home in 24.8. Had the back half but not the front half speed.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  A.L.V
2 years ago

I didn’t, and I’m probably the only one on this site. He did look explosive in the 50 fly. I don’t think he’s rediscovered his 2017 level sprint free.

SHEEN
Reply to  Ol’ Longhorn
2 years ago

Are you going to spam every comment mentioning Dressel with your smug takes every time he doesn’t break a WR in a swim?

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  SHEEN
2 years ago

Pretty much. You don’t have to read them. It’s hilarious how this is the only pro sport for which disappointing swims of an overhyped pro have to be handled with age grouper kid gloves. Get over it.

SHEEN
Reply to  Ol’ Longhorn
2 years ago

lol. the fact that you classify a 47.6 leadoff as disappointing just shows how high the expectations are of him and how hard you want to hate him. get over yourself.

Woke Stasi
2 years ago

Speaking of relays, which two male Americans do you put on the 4×100 MIXED FREE RELAY? Dressel and whom? With C1, C2, and Chalmers, the Aussies are going to be a very tough challenge in that event.

DEAN IS GOD
Reply to  Woke Stasi
2 years ago

Dressel and Adrian in the mixed free

Dressel fly Apple free in medley

Seems good

Dcswim
2 years ago

Wasn’t Zapple a WKU commit before all of that went down?

Dcswim
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Wild to think how far he’s come given his circumstances. Like you said, Braden, “his potential is mouth-watering,” but now his times/splits are too!

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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