Emma McKeon, Ariarne Titmus, Brianna Throssell & Madison Wilson Break 4×200 Free Shiny-Suit World Record For Australia

Team Australia celebrates after winning in the women's 4x200m Freestyle Relay Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 25 July 2019.
Brianna Throssell, left, Ariarne Titmus and Madison Wilson congratulate Emma McKeon after she delivers 4x200m gold in world-record time in Gwangju - Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Editorial content for the 2019 World Championships coverage is sponsored by FORM Swim Goggles. See full event coverage. Follow FORM on Instagram at @FORMSwim #swimwithform FORM Swim-Logo

FINA World Swimming Championships

Gwangju 2019

Day Five Finals (Women’s 4×200 Free Relay)

It was a back and forth race for 800 meters as Australia and the United States battled to the last stroke in the women’s 4×200 free relay. Australia won the gold medal with a 7:41.50 while the United States was second at 7:41.87. The team of Ariarne Titmus (1:54.27), Madison Wilson (1:56.73), Brianna Throssell (1:55.60) and Emma McKeon (1:54.90) broke the world record of 7:42.08 set by China at the 2009 World Championships. Both teams were under the world record as there are now only two world records on the women’s side left from 2009 – the 200 fly and 200 free.

“As Emma was coming to the wall, I was just screaming with all my energy that I had left saying ‘come on, you can do it’ – nothing describes the moment when Em touched the wall,” Wilson said.

The Americans were second and broke the American record. The team of Simone Manuel (1:56.09), Katie Ledecky (1:54.61), Melanie Margalis (1:55.81) and Katie McLaughlin (1:55.36) won the silver medal in a valiant effort. The team lowered the 7:42.56 AR set at the 2009 Worlds.

“I think we always want to win every time we dive in the water. That’s what makes us so great I believe,” Manuel said. “That’s the best swim that a set of four Americans have done and it took (Australia) – and us – to break the world record to get that result. I think we are really happy because we all swam our best and had fun and we got to represent Team USA.”

Despite not finishing first, the Americans were not disappointed with the silver medal.

“I experienced this before in 2013 where I broke the world record (in the 1500) and Lotte (Friis) also did,” Ledecky said. “I know how happy she was and it’s cool whenever you break a world record. I know we swam one of the fastest times ever so it’s pretty crazy.”

It was a race that was heavily hyped up coming into the meet and was amongst the chatter of media members of what Ledecky was going to do. Ledecky had withdrawn from the 200 free heats and 1500 free final because she wasn’t feeling well. She was a favorite to win golds in both the 200 and 1500 but after an uncharacteristic loss to Titmus in the 400 on night one, and then a subpar 1500 heat the next day, many questioned if Ledecky was ok.

She pulled out of her races in order to ensure she was 100% for the relay and the 800 free later in the meet.

“We don’t know exactly what caused this all,” Ledecky said. “Just feeling the effects of dehydration, loss of appetite, light-headedness, a lot of different things. It just created the perfect storm that pulled me out and I wouldn’t have pulled out if it was serious or if I was concerned and scared. It’s just one of those things where you have to put your health first in that time and put my trust in our great medical staff that just did a tremendous job of doing everything they could to help me and get me back on a path to try to resurrect the second half of the meet.”

The US coaches wanted to take extra precaution with Ledecky’s health and put her on the second leg rather than the usual anchor spot, electing to put McLaughlin in that fourth spot.

Ledecky had shown signs earlier in the week that she wasn’t herself and those thoughts were solidified when she limped to the finish line in her 1500 prelims swim.

“So I got to the 1100 of the 1500 and I almost stopped and got out,” Ledecky said. “You can look at the splits and I split 1:05’s and 1:06 the rest of the way and it’s pretty hard for me to split 1:06 so I just kind of blanked out the rest of the race and tried to finish it, which I did. I got over to the coaches and medical staff and told them ‘I’m not myself and we need to figure this out.’ I got my heart rate down and just spent the next two days sleeping and getting as much rest and hydration as I could.”

While she was at the hotel trying to rest and recover for later swims, Ledecky got a text from the one and only Michael Phelps, who asked if she was doing ok.

“That meant a lot,” she said.

After the 1500 prelims on Monday morning, she didn’t swim again until Wednesday night and kept it really easy, with the coaches checking her heart rate “almost every 50, just making sure it was normal.”

“Doctors and coaches felt I was good to go if I felt that way. I slept on it and woke up and was feeling good enough to get that race.”

Ledecky is still feeling slightly under the weather but said she felt good in her race tonight. Her next event is the 800 free which is tomorrow morning.

“I’d say 95% sure I’ll swim tomorrow but I’ll go back and re-evaluate,” she said.

The Australians were in control early in the race thanks to Titmus, who swam a 1:54.27 leading off the relay, which was quicker than what she did to win the silver medal last night. Titmus helped Australia win its first World title in this event as they won in 2001 but were controversially disqualified. It is the first world record for Australia in this event since they broke it in 2008 to win the Olympic gold medal in Beijing. Third leg Brianna Throssell said it was “the most thrilling moment of her career so far.” It was her first world title and world record.

Team Australia celebrates after winning in the women's 4x200m Freestyle Relay Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 25 July 2019.

Brianna Throssell, left, Ariarne Titmus and Madison Wilson celebrate Emma McKeon’s arrival as world record falls in the 4x200m free in Gwangju – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Australia has now won two of the three women’s relays and three of the four relays thus far at this meet. The Aussies also hold both freestyle relay world records.

Canada won the bronze medal at 7:44.35 as they broke the Canadian record. The team of Kayla Sanchez (1:57.32), Taylor Ruck (1:56.41), Emily Overholt (1:56.26) and Penny Oleksiak (1:54.36) swam four incredible legs. Oleksiak had the sixth fastest split (performers) in history with her anchor swim. She is tied for tenth all-time in relay splits in terms of all times.

China finished in fourth place at 7:46.22 as they were battling with Canada for the bronze medal throughout the whole race.

The fastest splits outside the medalists came from China’s Li Bingjie (1:56.29), China’s Yang Junxuaun (1:56.41), Russia’s Anastasia Guzhenkova (1:56.43) and China’s Wang Jianjiahe (1:56.52).

Russia (7:48.25), Hungary (7:54.57), Germany (7:55.63) and Japan (7:56.31) also swam in the final. Russia also broke its national record.

4×200 Free Relay World Record Results

  1. Australia, 7:41.50 WR
    1. Ariarne Titmus, 1:54.27
    2. Madison Wilson, 1:56.73
    3. Brianna Throssell, 1:55.60
    4. Emma McKeon, 1:54.90
  2. United States, 7:41.87 AR
    1. Simone Manuel, 1:56.09
    2. Katie Ledecky, 1:54.61
    3. Melanie Margalis, 1:55.81
    4. Katie McLaughlin, 1:55.36
  3. Canada, 7:44.35
    1. Kayla Sanchez, 1:57.32
    2. Taylor Ruck, 1:56.41
    3. Emily Overholt, 1:56.26
    4. Penny Oleksiak, 1:54.36
  4. China, 7:46.22
    1. Yang Junxuan, 1:56.41
    2. Wang Jianjiahe, 1:56.52
    3. Li Bingjie, 1:56.29
    4. Zhang Yuhan, 1:57.00
  5. Russia, 7:48.25
    1. Anna Egorova, 1:58.19
    2. Anastasia Guzhenkova, 1:56.43
    3. Valeriia Salamatina, 1:56.93
    4. Veronika Andrusenko, 1:56.70
  6. Hungary, 7:54.57
    1. Ajna Kesely, 1:59.60
    2. Evelyn Verraszto, 1:59.74
    3. Zsuzsanna Jakabos, 1:57.63
    4. Katinka Hosszu, 1:57.60
  7. Germany, 7:55.63
    1. Reva Foos, 1:59.81
    2. Isabel Gose, 1:57.99
    3. Marie Pietruschka, 1:59.04
    4. Annika Bruhn, 1:58.79
  8. Japan, 7:56.31
    1. Rio Shirai, 1:59.88
    2. Chihiro Igarashi, 1:58.81
    3. Tomomi Aoki, 1:58.32
    4. Nagisa Ikemoto, 1:59.30

Top 10 Relay Splits:

  1. 1:53.45, Federica Pellegrini, ITA
  2. 1:53.64, Sarah Sjostrom, SWE
  3. 1:53.74, Katie Ledecky, USA
  4. 1:53.84, Katie Ledecky, USA
  5. 1:54.02, Katie Ledecky, USA
  6. 1:54.09, Allison Schmitt, USA
  7. 1:54.21, Allison Schmitt, USA
  8. 1:54.27, Missy Franklin, USA
  9. 1:54.31, Sarah Sjostrom, SWE
  10. 1:54.36, Penny Oleksiak, CAN
  11. 1:54.36, Katie Ledecky, USA

Top 10 Relays (Best Times)

  1. 7:41.50, Australia (2019)
  2. 7:41.87, United States (2019)
  3. 7:42.08, China (2009)
  4. 7:44.35, Canada (2019)
  5. 7:45.51, Great Britain (2009)
  6. 7:46.57, Italy (2009)
  7. 7:47.49, France (2012)
  8. 7:48.04, Hungary (2009)
  9. 7:48.25, Russia (2019)
  10. 7:48.96, Japan (2018)

6 comments

  1. Shabnam Dege

    And what a race it was….congratulations girls

  2. Nancy Pulham

    Great race for Canada! 🇨🇦

  3. avatar
    Nathan

    So I take it Katie is not going to admit she was not actually sick and the reason she lost the 400 was because the better swimmer won?

  4. Felicity Cook

    Aussie women on Fire!
    World Record and Gold…
    🇦🇺🇦🇺🥇🥇🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️🔥🔥