Maddie Groves Holds Off Katie Ledecky; Australia Seals 4×200 Free Relay Gold

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia Ltd.

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Australia got off to a fast start. The United States did not. At the halfway point, the Australians were under world record pace and the Americans were in last. It was slightly misleading because Canada and Japan put their best swimmers in the second spot while Australians led off with their best two, leaving the Americans with their best swimmer on the anchor leg.

Australia’s Ariarne Titmus (1:55.27) and Emma McKeon (1:55.66) put Australia in great position up front, leaving the rest of the field to try and catch up. The Americans almost did with Katie Ledecky charging home at 1:53.84, but it was not enough as anchor leg Maddie Groves (1:56.47) held on to give Australia its third gold medal of the night at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo.

Ledecky has been faster in a relay, going 1:53.74 to anchor Team USA in Rio two years ago. It is still one of the fastest splits of all-time, not far behind the quickest ever in Federica Pellegrini’s 1:53.45 from 2009.

Titmus, McKeon, Mikkayla Sheridan (1:56.72) and Groves took home the gold medal at 7:44.12, breaking the meet record from 2014 set by the Americans.

The United States was second with Allison Schmitt (1:58.62), Leah Smith (1:56.44), Katie McLaughlin (1:55.47) and Ledecky at 7:44.37. This is also the first time the Americans have been beaten in this relay since the 2009 World Championships when they were second.

Canada’s Kayla Sanchez (1:58.37), Taylor Ruck (1:54.08), Rebecca Smith (1:58.08) and Mackenzie Padington (1:56.75) finished with the bronze at 7:47.28.

Japan put up a good fight for fourth at 7:48.96 for a new Japanese record, lowering their 7:50.43 from last year’s Worlds. Rikako Ikee notably split a 1:54.69 on their relay.

The top four teams would have finished well ahead of everyone at the European Championships earlier this week as Great Britain won that title with a 7:51.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Australia, 7:44.12
  2. United States, 7:44.37
  3. Canada, 7:47.28
  4. Japan, 7:48.96
  5. Great Britain, 7:51.65
  6. Russia, 7:52.87
  7. Germany, 7:53.76
  8. France, 7:53.86

Photo Courtesy:



  1. avatar
    michael maloney

    At least Katie will win her 6th Golden Goggle award for Female athlete of the year…3 gold 1 silver 1 bronze…no one can touch that…not the way the Aussie women are killing it in most other female races….just saying… keep showing instagrams of you “girls” stuffing your faces with Ramen..and dancing around….and yes you know who you are…

  2. avatar
    Greg Tucker

    Allison. ouch.

  3. Brett Davies

    Something seems to be awefully wrong with the preparations of this American team. They also slmost lost the 4*200 mens relay. Alison Scmidt was 2 full seconds slower than her best here and that left Ledecky with a little too much to do.

    • Paul Griffin

      Definitely underperforming. At least the time split for Ledecky was more her usual standard after her poor swim in the individual. Even Baker in the backstroke was well off her recent WR time. Dressel was over a second slower than his time in last year’s Worlds for his 100 freestyle win.

  4. Betty Dodd

    Well done ladies really enjoying seeing the results go Aussies. 🐟🦈🦋