FINA World Championships Predictions: Women’s 400 Free Relay

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Australia’s recent dominance in the women’s 400 free relay could come under fire at this summer’s FINA World Championships. That’s because the Aussies will be missing the the world record-holder in the women’s 100 free, Cate Campbell, who decided to take the summer off from going to Worlds.

Australia still counters with an impressive lineup led by reigning 100 free World Champion Bronte Campbell (Cate’s younger sister) and 200 free Olympic bronze medalist Emma McKeon, but the Americans will be hot on their heels.

Whereas no American had ever broken 53 in the 100 free prior to last year’s Olympics, the Americans will arrive in Budapest with two women having done so in the last year: Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel and surprising national champion Mallory Comerford.

Read below to see what Swimming World’s trio of experts think will happen in Budapest. David RiederJohn Lohn and Andy Ross will each offer their predictions for who will finish on the podium.

Women’s 400 Free Relay

Current Records:

World Record: Australia — McKeon, Elmslie, B. Campbell, C. Campbell (2016) — 3:30.65
Championship Record: Australia – Seebohm, McKeon, B. Campbell, C. Campbell (2016) — 3:31.48
American Record: Manuel, Weitzeil, Vollmer, Ledecky (2016) — 3:31.89

2015 World Champion: Australia — 3:31.48
2016 Olympic Gold Medalist: Australia — 3:30.65

Swimming World Predictions

David Rieder’s Picks:

Gold: Australia
Silver: United States
Bronze: Canada

John Lohn’s Picks:

Gold: United States
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Canada

Andy Ross’ Picks:

Gold: United States
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Netherlands

Previous Events

Men’s 400 Free
Women’s 400 Free


  1. avatar

    If AUS is to be knocked off it’s perch in this relay then chances will not come much better than this.

    Taking away the fact that C1 won’t be there, C2 is still nursing the same shoulder issues that hampered her in 2016 and is unlikely to be near her best. McKeon must still be respected but the remainder of the line-up have their question marks. Jack had a break-out domestic season and her 53.40 cannot be ignored but she hasn’t raced since Trials and there has to be a question mark as to whether she can/will back this up in Budapest. If Elmslie was in the same form and condition as she was in Rio, then I might still have AUS as favourites but she was poor at Trials and little better at Mare Nostrum. The most likely alternate is Wilson who is a 53high PB.

    USA’s top seeds have most certainly stepped up a notch, the issue will be whether the lower seeds can/will outperform their (now vulnerable) AUS counterparts. At this point, I suspect they will

    Whilst I expect CAN to become major players in this relay as this Olympic cycle progresses and quite probably supercede AUS as USA’s peak rival; I’m not sure 2017 will be their year. Oleksiak has yet to show the form of 2016, Ruck missed the team and the other seeds are 53high swimmers.

    NED cannot be discounted but that lack of a 4th swimmer who can split sub54 renders them unlikely to contend for anything higher than bronze.

    USA/AUS … tossup for bronze

    • avatar
      David Rieder

      I am still going back-and-forth on this one between USA and AUS. And one other team that can’t be counted out: Sweden.

      • avatar

        SWE certainly have quality in SS & Coleman and Hansson has been swimming quite well but their 4th swimmer is probably a 54high split at best. Unless either/both USA & AUS self destruct, such a fall-away is likely to see SWE a couple of steps off the podium.

      • avatar

        We’re really struggling with our fourth girl, it’s looking worse than previous years which is saying something. I’m not saying our 4th(one of the Lindborg sisters) can’t be 54 high but that just doesn’t seem to cut it against Canada and Netherlands. This relay has really tightened up, a top heavy team isn’t enough anymore. Of course you can always go for the suicide tactic, Coleman-Sjostrom-Hansson-Lindborg. Coleman and SJostrom almost guarantees Hansson will jump first into the pool and get free water. She’s good enough to hang on but you need to hope other teams try to rush thing instead of trusting that their regular race will get it done.

  2. Brett Davies

    Gold to U.S.A definitely don’t forget Ledecky’s split from Rio 52.75 and I reckon she can go even faster now.