Olympics, Swimming: France Sets Olympic Record in Women's 800 Freestyle Relay to Close Session -- August 13, 2008

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 13. MAYBE the United States will have its hands full after all in the women's 800 freestyle relay. Racing in the first of the two preliminary heats, France established an Olympic record and scared the world mark with a clocking of 7:50.37. And that time was clocked without the services of Laure Manaudou.

The French relied on the foursome of Alena Popchanka (1:58.27), Celine Couderc (1:58.92), Camille Muffat (1:57.32) and Coralie Balmy (1:55.86) for their Olympic standard. In the championship final, it's likely that France will substitute in the abilities of Manaudou and Ophelie-Cyrielle Etienne. Manaudou, however, has been struggling through the first half of the competition.

The United States grabbed the second spot by winning their heat in 7:52.43. The Americans went with Caroline Burckle (1:57.86), Christine Marshall (1:58.58), Kim Vandenberg (1:58.31) and Julia Smit (1:57.68). Burckle is the likely pick to join Natalie Coughlin, Katie Hoff and Allison Schmitt in the championship final.

Italy was third in 7:53.38, with Federica Pellegrini anchoring in 1:56.09. China followed in fourth in 7:53.77 and fifth went to Sweden in 7:53.83. Rounding out the field for the final were Australia in 7:55.10, Hungary in 7:55.26 and Japan in 7:55.63. Great Britain was ninth and missed the final, an inexplicable development. With the miss, it missed out on a strong chance at a medal and the chance to use Caitlin McClatchey and Rebecca Adlington in the final.

Results: 2008 Olympic Games - Swimming

Premium Members - Search More About: Coralie Balmy

Reaction Time Comments

August 13, 2008 Did the French DQ?
The results page shows this:
"MUFFAT Camille -0.03"
It does not mention a DQ and I don't see it any place else either.
Submitted by: House
August 13, 2008 I can't remember right off the top, but I believe there's a buffer in the negative range where it is still a official-first decision.

So, a negative isn't automatically a DQ.

That's if I remember correctly.
Submitted by: Jason Marsteller
August 13, 2008 Thanks for the info.
By the way, New Zealand got the DQ for a -.04 and Crocker also was -.04 at Worlds last year. Maybe that is the line.
I'm glad they are in the finals. I hate seeing prelim relays DQ'd for a tiny jump that has no impact on the outcome.
Submitted by: House
August 13, 2008 I looked there and the New Zealand team were DQd with a
-0.04 reaction whereas the French weren't DQd with a -0.03. An electronic result is evidence enough I would have thought. Surely subjective judgement is neither required nor allowed in this type of situation. Could somebody please tell me what the rule actually is? Surely the permitted reaction doesn't just happen to be -0.03.....
Submitted by: calisurfin
August 13, 2008 What I believe is the case is that there is a certain leeway for negatives where it is official only decision.

For instance, the official on the -.04 might have declared a DQ, while the official for a -.03 did not.

But, let's say the buffer is -.05 for the sake of conversation. Anything -.05 and closer to .00 would be completely based on the official. Anything -.05 and more negative would automatically be a DQ - no matter what the official sees. Not saying it is -.05 for sure.

Stanford women had a DQ happen that should not have due to the track relay start.
Submitted by: Jason Marsteller
August 13, 2008 The limit is indeed -0.03.
Submitted by: SwimDER94
Reaction Time responses do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Swimming World Magazine or
Reaction Time is provided as a service to our readers.

Free Download:
Download Free Olympic Issue Now!