Olympics: Australia Cruises to Top Seed in 800 Freestyle Relay; Ready To Take Down World Record

Jul 28, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Australia relay team react after finishing first in their women's 4x200m freestyle relay heat during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

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Olympics: Australia Cruises to Top Seed in 800 Freestyle Relay; Ready To Take Down World Record

When Australia captured gold earlier in the 400-meter freestyle relay at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, it accomplished the feat in style. The Aussies put together a world-record performance and easily dispatched the competition. In the final of the 800 freestyle relay, which will unfold on Thursday morning, the Dolphins will be even bigger favorites.

Fueled by the squad of Mollie O’Callaghan, Meg Harris, Brianna Throssell and Tamsin Cook, Australia earned the top seed with a time of 7:44.61. That effort was nearly three seconds quicker than the effort produced by the United States, which touched in 7:47.57, and Australia has its big guns to come. In the final, Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon and Madison Wilson are expected to be added to the lineup, meaning the world record of 7:41.50 is in its final hours.

O’Callaghan was splendid in the prelims, clocking a leadoff leg of 1:55.11 (which would have placed fifth in the individual 200 free final), but she still may not get the chance to swim in the final because the Aussies must also use Leah Neale, on the Olympic team as a relay-only swimmer, meaning she must compete in something. Meanwhile, Titmus has already collected Olympic gold in the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle, with McKeon the favorite for gold in the 100 freestyle and Wilson looking strong. A sub-7:40 performance seems to be a formality.

The United States advanced as the second seed behind the team of Bella Sims, Paige Madden, Katie McLaughlin and Brooke Forde. Madden had the best split, going 1:55.96, slightly quicker than the 1:56.02 of McLaughlin. Katie Ledecky and Allison Schmitt will join the Team USA lineup for the final.

China (7:48.98) qualified third and Canada (7:51.52) was fourth. The Canadians figure to be much faster in the final when Penny Oleksiak and Summer McIntosh see action.


Women’s 800 Freestyle Relay

World Record: Australia (Titmus, Wilson, Throssel, McKeon) 7:41.50 (2019)
Olympic Record: United States (Franklin, Vollmer, Vreeland, Schmitt) 7:42.92 (2012)


1. Australia, 7:44.61
2. United States, 7:47.57
3. China, 7:48.98
4. Canada, 7:51.52
5. Russia, 7:52.04
6. Germany, 7:52.06
7. France, 7:55.05
8. Hungary, 7:56.16


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Johnny Jay
10 months ago

Looks like the heavy favorites choked.