Allison Schmitt Leads Americans to Top of 800 Freestyle Relay Standings

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher- USA TODAY Sports


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Allison Schmitt led the United States out to an early lead in this morning’s 800 freestyle relay with a 1:55.95. She was followed by Missy Franklin (1:57.03), before Melanie Margalis (1:57.04) had a back and forth race with China’s Jie Dong (1:57.45). In the anchor leg Cierra Runge split a 1:57.75, and the Americans will return to finals in  first with a 7:47.77.

The U.S. coaches chose to rest Leah Smith along with Katie Ledecky in prelims and give Franklin another chance to prove she belongs on the finals squad. Franklin finished outside of the final in the 200 free Monday night, and she admitted that it was not easy to bounce back.

“We had a couple dance parties. We had some dark chocolate,” Franklin said. “It was a lot of relaxing. We went to the training pool—I didn’t go to the competition pool, just reset. I called my mom—you’re never too old to talk to your mom and cry and ask her for advice. She talked to me for a while. There’s no one that’s a better therapist than your mom.”

Schmitt seems poised to join Ledecky and Smith on the finals squad, and it will come down to Franklin, Margalis or Maya DiRado for the final spot. But Franklin was fired up to even get a chance on the morning relay.

“Every time I can be on a relay, it means the absolute world to me,” she said. “We got out there, and we did our job this morning. We needed to get them a good lane for tonight, and then our coaches are going to make the decision, put our best foot forward.”

Australia’s Leah Neale (1:57.06), Bronte Barratt (1:56.85), Tasmin Cook (1:57.35), and Jessica Ashwood (1:57.98) combined for a 7:49.24 to win heat one and take the second seed overall.

The Chinese team of Yanhan Al (1:57.20), Yuhan Zhang (1:56.38), Dong (1:57.45), and Shijia Wang (1:58.55) will be third in 7:49.58.

On the Australians’ tail was the Russian squad of Viktoriia Andreeva (1:57.82), Arina Openysheva (1:57.67), Daria Mullakaeva (1:57.85), and Veronika Popova (1:57.18) in 7:50.52. They will be fourth.

Hungary, anchored by Katinka Hosszu in 1:55.66 will be fifth. Canada (7:51.99), Japan (7:52.50), an dSweden (7:53.43) will complete tonight’s final.

Full preliminary results can be found here