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BARCELONA, Spain, August 4. THE United States women are looking for a rare relay sweep, and are in position to do so after leading qualifying in the women’s 400-meter medley relay this morning at the FINA World Championships.
Only two nations have managed to accomplish a relay sweep since all three relays began being offered in 1986, and both have had questions regarding doping. The East Germans accomplished the sweep in 1986, while China won all three golds in 1994.
This morning, Elizabeth Pelton (1:00.83), Breeja Larson (1:05.68), Claire Donahue (58.67) and Shannon Vreeland (53.48) turned in the top time with a 3:58.66. Not only did that swim set up the sweep this evening, but also clean starts and transitions guaranteed Missy Franklin a shot at her record-breaking sixth gold medal.
Australia’s Emily Seebohm (58.79), Samantha Marshall (1:07.71), Alicia Coutts (57.22) and Emma McKeon (55.01) produced a second-seeded time of 3:58.73, but will have a tough time fielding an A squad capable of competing with the team the U.S. will bring to bear.
China’s Fu Yuanhui (59.57), Sun Ye (1:07.81), Lu Ying (58.17) and Tang Yi (53.84) wound up third in 3:59.39 as the only other sub-4:00 squad of the morning.
Great Britain (4:00.04), Japan (4:00.18), Canada (4:00.34), Russia (4:00.69) and Germany (4:01.30) rounded out the championship heat. Notably, it took a scorching 53.04 anchor leg from Britta Steffen to capture the eighth-and-final spot in finals.
AUS’s Emily Seebohm (58.79)
USA’s Breeja Larson (1:05.68)
AUS’s Alicia Coutts (57.22)
GER’s Britta Steffen (53.04)