Click here to see all of our Tokyo 2020 Olympic Previews.
TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES 2020
MEN’S RELAY 4 × 100 FREE
- World Record: United States (Phelps, Weber-Gale, Jones, Lezak) – 3: 08.24 (2008)
- Olympic record: United States (Phelps, Weber-Gale, Jones, Lezak) – 3: 08.24 (2008)
- Junior World Record: USA (Magahey, Urlando, Chaney, Foster) – 3: 15.80 (2019)
- 2016 Olympic Champion: United States (Dressel, Phelps, Held, Adrian) – 3: 09.92
* For the cumulative times of our few best nations below, the first column (Season-Best) is the cumulative of the best flat start times of each stage between September 2020 and June 2021, without taking into account relay starts. The second column is a bit more predictive, but also a bit more rose-colored glasses, shooting the best or split time (which we could find) for this athlete since the summer of 2018 – the alleged swimmer from each relay is listed first. . , with their best flat start.
A legacy of showstoppers
Arguably the most prestigious relay of the Olympic Games, the classic 4 × 100 freestyle relay has always produced some of the most spectacular races in Olympic history. And this is not an exaggeration.
In 2000, Gary Hall Jr. predicted that the Americans (who until then had never lost a men’s 4 × 100 Olympic freestyle relay) “would crush [the Australians] like guitars. The race ended with Ian thorpe fending off Hall and the Australians celebrating a world record by conspicuously playing aerial guitars at Hall’s expense.
In 2004, South Africa won a historic upheaval, shattering the peloton in a world record for the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in men’s swimming.
In 2008, Jason lezak checked in Michael phelps‘quest for 8 gold medals in 8 events with a France from another world. Lezak parted at 46.0, still the fastest ever and considered one of the best strokes in the history of the sport.
In 2012, France returned the favor with Yannick Agnel come out with his own iconic glimpse of Americans and Ryan Lochte.
And in 2016, a veteran Phelps made his way to this relay via a training camp time trial, eventually parting with 47.1 en route to his record 19 Olympic gold medals. in career. (He would end those Olympics and his career with 23.)
Suffice to say that this race never fails to bring fireworks. This happens straight away on Night 2, when teams haven’t yet had a chance to find out who swims well and who, well, isn’t. The best stars are completely fresh, rookies are still working on those first Olympic butterflies in their stomachs, and it all adds up to the utter chaos.
2021 shouldn’t be any different.
Russia has the best depth in the world in this event – which features 4 men in the top 12 of the world rankings for 2021, and a madman eight men under 48.41 from a flat start in 2021 alone. What this really means is that Russia – more than any other country – can alternate swimming in the morning heats to keep their stars fresh, or even allow its last swimmers to qualify for the final places.
Strategic decisions will strongly revolve around bibs Kliment Kolesnikov and Evgeny rylov, owners of the two fastest Russian relays since 2018. Both will likely have the 100 backstroke semi-finals in the same session, with only the women’s 100 backstroke semi-finals in between. Still, they’re incredibly valuable for this relay and probably also have the ability to end their backstroke semifinals if they place ahead.
Although Kolesnikov has the best flat start time in the country, Russia generally used him as an anchor – it would also allow him to rest a bit more (around two minutes) after his 100 backstroke semi-final. When Russia crushed the Euro field for a second, they used flyers Andrei Minakov in the lead (he was 48.1 there but has been 47.57 since a flat start this season) with Vladislav Grinev (47.4) and Alexander Shchegolev (47.6) in the middle. But Rylov (47.0 split at the 2019 Worlds) could also be in the mix, with Vladimir Morozov (48.00 on a flat start this year and 47.6 on a relay at the 2019 Worlds).
Russia’s depth will face its toughest test thanks to three other nations whose more fragile depth is covered by the 100 Great Free Talent of All Time.
Super star Caeleb Dressel should start for Team USA – he has the best flat start in the world and generally doesn’t see the same kind of increase in relay start times as the others. Zach Apple is a vet who divided 46.8 at the 2019 Worlds, and Blake pieroni is another Olympic veteran who can probably hit the 47-lows. The rookie of the platoon is Brooks Curry, a free-falling LSU star who shocked the field at the Olympic trials after shocking the field at the SEC a year earlier.
The American men won this race at the 2019 Worlds with Dressel, Pieroni and Apple all in the team. How Curry (or solitary foreplay alternates Bowe Becker) The fare in place of the legendary Nathan Adrian will really determine the performance of this relay, especially when the biggest hitter in the relay is not swimming on the anchor leg for any sort of Lezakian heroism.
Australia has traditionally done the opposite with its order – Kyle chalmers is considered one of the best closers in 100 freestyle history, and he tends to anchor that stint. Chalmers has been as quick as 46.6 from a blazing start and is as good a candidate as any to do something game-changing in the final two laps of this stint.
However, each strategy has its drawbacks. While the Americans can’t count on their best swimmer in the final high pressure stage, Australia is really going to need a top stage to step up, or they’ll spend the entire race swimming despite some of the more brutal. chop the Olympic pool will see. At the 2019 Worlds, Australia lost almost a second behind the leaders with a score of 48.4 Cameron McEvoy in the lead, 6th out of 8 teams. McEvoy is a long way from his 47-day low – in fact, he hasn’t broken 48 since the summer of 2017. His 48.2 above is a flat starting time for the 2019 Worlds, and 48-low is probably a good baseline if he goes away.
Prospectus Temple of Matthew was a more recent student in this event and did not swim this relay at the Worlds, Pan Pacs or Commonwealth Games. His time stated above is his best flat start time, so it’s fair to assume he’ll go faster than that with a flying relay start in Tokyo. Australia is without Jack cartwright (47.7 distributed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games) and Clyde Lewis (47.6 shared at the 2019 Worlds), they will therefore probably go to 48.5 flat start Zac Uncertain or 200 freestyler Alexandre graham, who split 48.1 at the 2019 Worlds. Graham is a relay swimmer only in the 200, so he won’t have a doubles with the individual 200 freestyle in this session.
that of Great Britain Duncan Scott should also have the 200 free semi-finals to kick off the session, but there is a fair amount of rest between the two events. Scott torched the 2019 Worlds peloton in the medley relay, splitting 46.1 and nearly matching Lezak’s fastest all-time split. It’s probably unrealistic to expect Scott to fit into this incredible split, but he’s also quite capable of coming off at 46 and scaring the pitch.
A young and up-and-coming British group took silver behind Russia at Euro this summer, with an 18-year-old Matthieu richards fractionation 48.1. Richards and 16 years old Jacob Whittle (48.4 spread in the preliminaries of this competition) are probably the future of this relay for the Brits, but it is perhaps more likely that there are 200 freestylers Tom dean and Jacques Guy on this relay at the moment. Scott and Dean are expected to swim the semi-finals in the 200 freestyle earlier in this session, so it’s possible Whittle will spell Dean on this throw if he swims well enough in the prelims.
Italy joins Russia as the only stint where the four stages have divided 47s. They finished third at the Euro this spring with the two Thomas ceccon and Manual Fridge reach the best split times listed below in the final and Lorenzo Zazzeri sharing his best time in the preliminaries. National record holder Alexandre miressi led this relay, although it is often anchored in the past years.
|Swimmer||To divide||Swimmer||To divide|
|Alexandre miressi||47.45||Alexandre miressi||47.45|
|Thomas ceccon||48.50||Thomas ceccon||47.98|
|Manual Fridge||48.83||Manual Fridge||47.85|
|Lorenzo Zazzeri||48.59||Lorenzo Zazzeri||47.98|
|TOTAL:||3: 13.37||3: 11.26|
Since winning bronze at the 2019 Worlds, Hungary has never put everything in place at the right time. However, they were clean shaven, narrowly missing out on medals with 4th places in the Euros in 2018 and 2020. They have the ability to beat the last teams for bronze in Tokyo, but that probably depends on a swimmer or two. – maybe a 21-year-old 200 fly superstar Kristof Milak or 21-year-old freestyler Nandor Nemeth – take a big step in the 47-bas.
A few other teams to note: Brazil should have four good legs, including Pedro Spajari, who split 46.9, anchoring that relay to a DQ assisted victory at the 2018 Pan Pacs. The fastest 100 freestyle at their Olympic trials, Andre Souza, was ruled out of the Olympic squad after a doping violation.
France could be hunting, with Maxime Grousset from 48.5 to 47.8 after a flat start this year. Yes Mehdy Metella can return to its form divided into 47.8 from the 2019 Worlds, this relay will have solid bookends.
Keep an eye on Canada, where 18 years old Joshua Liendo has a huge year. The host country of Japan has a potential of 47 seconds for Katsumi nakamura.
The 8 best choices
At the end of the day, we’ll be using Russia’s depth, even with two of their fastest legs in the 100m backstroke. The schedule favors the United States, but this race almost always comes down to last-leg exploits, and we’re not sure that an American team that has likely used Dressel before can fend off anyone who sticks on Russia’s leg. anchoring.
We’ll narrowly take Australia over Great Britain for third place – the big difference there is that potentially half of the British relay (Scott and Dean) will likely come out of the 200 freestyle semifinals, which is a race difficult to recover. Australia, meanwhile, have made this stint a top priority, with Chalmers dropping their 200 individual free spot to stay fresh for what could be a game-changing anchoring stage.