2022 World Championships: analysis of the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay


Women’s 4×100 freestyle relay

  • World record: 3:29.69, Australia – 2021 Olympics
  • Championship record: 3:30.21, Australia – 2019 World Championships
  • 2021 Olympic Champion: Australia, 3:29.69
  • 2019 World Champion: Australia, 3:30.21
  1. Australia, 3:30.95
  2. Canada, 3:32.15
  3. United States, 3:32.58
  4. China, 3:35.25
  5. Great Britain, 3:35.43
  6. Brazil, 3:38.10
  7. Netherlands, 3:38.18
  8. Hungary, 3:38.20

The Aussies proved they could still dominate in the absence of Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell, winning the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay by over a second. However, Canada and the United States had many of their swimmers going above and beyond to make this race a lot closer than we thought.

Leadoff Splits, ranked:

Country Swimmer Time
Australia Mollie O’Callaghan 52.70
United States Torri Huske 52.96
Netherlands Marrit Steenbergen 53.41
Canada Kayla Sanchez 53.45
Britain Anna Hopkins 53.70
Brazil Ana Caroline Viera 54.78
China Zhang Yufei 54.81
Hungary Nicolette Padar 55.16

As the fastest woman in the world this year, most expected Mollie O’Callaghan to be ahead of the rest of the field when she started. She clocked a time of 52.70 which was the fastest start in the field, but was nowhere near her best time of 52.49. This could perhaps be attributed to the fact that she focused on her front half this time around rather than her stronger back half, splitting 25.67/27.03. When she set her PB she was clocking 25.92/26.57, almost half a second faster on her second 50 than she was today.

Arriving just 0.26 seconds behind O’Callaghan, the American Torri Huske, which set a new best time of 52.96. With that time, she becomes the third fastest American woman of all time in the 100 freestyle behind Simone Manuel (52.04) and Mallory Comerford (52.59) and the fourth American in less than 53 seconds. Huske’s performances slightly ease the fears of many Americans, who feared the Americans would not have decent sprinters following Manuel’s absence. If Huske continues to improve, she could be the future of American women’s sprinting.

Zhang Yufei led the China relay in 54.81, significantly slower than her best time of 52.90. After falling well short of his fastest in the 100m butterfly, we could see a very “off” encounter for Zhang and many other Chinese swimmers (such as Li Bingjie, who missed the 400m freestyle final after winning Olympic bronze last year). His underperformance is yet another sign that the training of Chinese swimmers has been heavily disrupted by recent COVID-19 restrictions.

Rolling Splits, Ranked:

Country Swimmer Time
Canada Penny Oleksiak 52.51
Australia Madi Wilson 52.60
Australia Shayna Jack 52.65
Britain Freya Anderson 52.70
UNITED STATES Claire Curzan 52.71
China Yang Junxuan 52.79
Canada Taylor Ruck 52.92
Australia Meg Harris 53.00
China Cheng Yujie 53.18
Canada Maggie McNeil 53.27
UNITED STATES Erika Brown 53.30
UNITED STATES kate douglas 53.61
Brazil Stephanie Balduccini 53.97
Britain Lucy Hope 54.00
Hungary Dora Molnar 54.01
Brazil Giovanna Diamante 54.09
Hungary Fanni Gyruinovics 54.15
China Zhu Menghui 54.47
Netherlands Tessa Giele 54.49
Netherlands Valerie van Roon 54.81
Hungary Petra Senanszky 54.88
Britain Abbie Wood 55.03
Brazil Giovana Medeiros 55.26
Netherlands Kim Busch 55.47

The Australians made two of the fastest three splits with Madi Wilson and Shayna Jack to be at their best, but that was Canada Penny Oleksiak who had the best time. Her anchor leg of 52.51 was fast enough to propel her country into silver medal position behind Australia, and bodes well for her 100 individual freestyle.

Aside from the top three, many other swimmers went below the 53 mark. One of them was Taylor Ruck, who pulled off his fastest split in many years. Her 52.92 was not on par with her 51.72 from 2018, but it was much faster than the 54.16 she achieved at the Olympics last year. That being said, Ruck has spent the past season recovering from an eating disorder that has hampered his performance for the past few years. His improvements this year are a step forward in his journey of redemption.

Claire CurzanThe 52.71 anchor leg puts her in the conversation about “the future of America’s women’s sprint” alongside Huske, while Yang JunxuanThe 52.79 was a minor sign of hope in China’s otherwise disappointing performance at the world championships so far. Great Britain Freya Anderson anchored in 52.70, the fourth fastest of all split times, which shouldn’t be worth anything either.

#World #Championships #analysis #womens #4x100m #freestyle #relay

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