FINA World Championships Predictions: Women’s 400 Medley Relay

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It would take some major development during the eight days of competition at the FINA World Championships for the U.S. women not to enter the final event, the 400 medley relay, heavily favored for gold.

The American women’s squad won gold in Rio by a full two-second margin, and the second-fastest time of the meet actually came from the U.S. women’s prelims squad, which was buoyed by Katie Meili’s 1:04.93 breaststroke split.

It’s breaststroke that should be the deciding leg for the U.S. this time: Aside from Russia’s Yulia Efimova, no one in the field can keep pace with Lilly King on that leg, and Russia does not have three other swimmers quick enough to put that team in the medal hunt.

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 Medley Relay

Current Records:

World Record: United States — Franklin, Soni, Vollmer, Schmitt (2012) — 3:52.05
Championship Record: China — Zhao, Chen, Jiao, Li (2009) — 3:52.19
American Record: Franklin, Soni, Vollmer, Schmitt (2012) — 3:52.05

2015 World Champion: China — Fu, Shi, Lu, Duo– 3:54.41
2016 Olympic Gold Medalist: United States — Baker, King, Vollmer, Manuel — 3:53.13

Swimming World Predictions

David Rieder’s Picks:

Gold: United States
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Canada

John Lohn’s Picks:

Gold: United States
Silver: Australia
Bronze: China

Andy Ross’ Picks:

Gold: United States
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Sweden

Previous Events

Day One:

Day Two:

Day Three:

Day Four:

Day Five:

Day Six:

Day Seven:

Day Eight:

1 Comment

1 comment

  1. avatar
    commonwombat

    USA would realistically have to break, or miss the bus to the pool, not to win this one with consumate ease. Every one else are carrying at least one leg that is either debateable or glaringly uncompetitive; end of story.

    With due respect to the SW pundits, whom I do personally hold in regard, they are still wearing some 2015 or Rio tinged lenses when it comes to AUS relays ….. sorry but this is probably the weakest AUS swim team to be sent to a Worlds in the past 25 years ! The only mildly secure medal bet is the w4x100.

    Whilst Seebohm 2017 is much healthier than the 2016 moidel, she is merely “good Seebohm” not the “superb Seebohm” of 2015. At best she will leave AUS within reach at first change but then it’s likely to fall apart. McKeown has a history of “falling to pieces” on this relay (Kazan/Rio) & Hansen is a debutant (best case scenario would be a 1.06low split but just as likely to be north of 1.07flat). McKeon, for all her talent, has an equivocal record on this relay so they may not bring much if at all. People are also fixed on the C2 of 2015 who was anchor splitting close to 51mid ….. but that is not the C2 of 2017 who is still hampered by shoulder issues. It would be surprising if she could split much below 52.5. The heroic medal rescue mission will most likely fall short unless the brs/fly hold it together sufficiently that she is within 1sec hitting the water.

    CHN look fairly solid bets for a medal, most likely silver, due to being even across the squad …. albeit probably lacking a gamechanger that can break open the race on any leg and their anchor may come back to the field.

    CAN ?? Whilst I can forsee them becoming one of the peak challengers to USA leading into Tokyo; I’m sceptical this will be the year given the slightly weakened team. Masse should see them at or near the lead but with BRS may see them haemorrage major time (ala AUS). The issue then is whether they employ Oleksiak on fly or anchor. Oleksiak on form and Ruck present would make this an easier call but that is not an available option. I feel that CAN may outpoint AUS this time round but I’m not sure that it may be enough for a medal.

    SWE ?? A very real factor for a minor medal …… but most likely will be completely overlooked by TV commentators fixated on “their team(s)”. They DO have the major weakness of not possessing a quality backstroker but whilst this will see them maybe 2.5sec+ back at the first change, this could managed to then have 3 very strong legs to finish.

    They have traditionally been employing Coleman on back (thus taking out of play a very viable/competitive anchor option), Instead I would employ Nilson who would not be appreciably worse. On BRS, Johannson can probably split sub 1,06 and that will see them bringing back ground (and around 1sec) against all other teams bar USA & RUS (not a likely medal shot). Switch over to SS and you will see her taking 1.5 sec against all other bronze candidates. You then throw in Coleman on anchor and she will most probably match up quite well against a sub-par C2 and outmatch a non Oleksiak CAN anchor

Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is the host of Swimming World TV and a staff writer for Swimming World. A contributor to the magazine and website since 2009, he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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