British, Americans, Russians Post Top 3 Times in Men’s 800 Freestyle Relay

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports


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In this morning’s 800 freestyle relay prelims not every team was using their top four swimmers. Regardless, Great Britain took the top spot for tonight’s final with Stephen Milne (1:46.70), Robbie Renwick (1:48.17), Dan Wallace (1:46.39), and Duncan Scott (1:45.05) posting a 7:06.31.

The British won the World title in the event last year, edging the United States to end a decade-long American winning streak, and they figure to add reigning World Champion James Guy to their squad tonight. Guy took fourth in the individual 200 free Monday night in 1:45.49.

In the first heat, Clark Smith (1:47.20), Jack Conger (1:45.73), Gunnar Bentz (1:48.01), and Ryan Lochte (1:45.80) combined for a 7:06.74 to earn the second seed for the USA.

All four were making their Rio debuts, and it was the first-ever Olympic swim for Smith, Conger and Bentz. Lochte typically swims a full program of events at big international meets, but after a disappointing U.S. Olympic Trials last month, he ended up having to wait around three days before competing.

“I wasn’t used to that,” Lochte said. “Just watching Team USA, everything they did—especially last night—got me going, and I can speak for these guys that we were definitely pumped up for this morning.”

Conor Dwyer and Townley Haas, who finished third and fifth, respectively, in the 200 free, will be added to the finals squad, along with—most likely—Michael Phelps. Expect either Lochte or Conger to join them.

“I had every sort of emotion going on for me,” Conger said. “I really just had to lean on the veterans and ask, ‘Am I supposed to be feeling this, pre-race jitters and all that?’ I just had to take the punches and roll with them.”

Russia’s Mikhail Dovgalyuk (1:46.91), Viacheslav Andrusenko (1:47.50), Nikita Lobintsev (1:46.42), and Aleksandr Krasnykh (1:45.98) return third in 7:06.81.

Germany will be fourth tonight in 7:07.66, just .02 ahead of the Japanese in 7:07.68. After finishing fifth in the second heat, the Australians will be the sixth seed in 7:07.98. Belgium (7:08.72) and the Netherlands (7:09.20) also snuck into tonight’s final.