Lineups Out for Women’s 800 Free Relay Final; Katie Ledecky Anchoring for USA

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Womens-800-free-relay.pdfRelay lineups are out for the women’s 800 free relay final at the Olympic Games, and the United States has chosen to leave off Missy Franklin after disappointing swims in the 200 free and in the relays preliminaries. Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky will anchor that squad, and she will be joined by Allison Schmitt, the 2012 gold medalist in the 200 free, on the leadoff leg, and 400 free bronze medalist Leah Smith going second.

Maya DiRado will swim the third leg tonight. DiRado did not even compete in the 200 free at U.S. Olympic Trials, but she has been swimming well so far in Rio, winning a silver in the 400 IM and bronze in the 200 IM.

The second-seeded Australians could challenge through 600 meters, as they will have Emma McKeon swimming the third leg behind Leah Neale and Bronte Barratt, but it’s tough to imagine Tasmin Cook keeping pace with Ledecky on the anchor leg.

Australia previously won this race at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but the Americans have won gold every other time it’s been contested at the Olympics (it was first raced at the 1996 Games in Atlanta).

Talented Chinese freestyler Shen Duo leads things off for her country after she scratched out of the 100 free semis, and Veronika Popova goes first for Russia. Noteworthy anchor legs include Penny Oleksiak for Canada and Katinka Hosszu for Hungary.

Sweden did put two swimmers in the 200 free final, with Michelle Coleman (leading off) and Sarah Sjostrom (going third), but that team will swim in lane eight and is unlikely to finish on the podium.

Click here to view the full start list.

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