Olympics: Men’s 800 Free Relay Finals Lineups Released; Americans Go With Smith, Kibler, Apple & Haas

tom dean, duncan scott, olympics
After finishing 1-2 in the 200 free, Tom Dean and Duncan Scott will attempt to lead Great Britain to gold in the 800 free relay -- Photo Courtesy: Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports

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Olympics: Men’s 800 Free Relay Finals Lineups Released; Americans Go With Smith, Kibler, Apple & Haas

The lineups for the final of the men’s 800 free relay have been posted, and Great Britain will go into the final as the big favorite for gold after Tom Dean and Duncan Scott finished 1-2 in Tuesday’s men’s 200 freestyle final. The Brits will have Dean lead off followed by James Guy, the 2015 world champion in the 200 free and an excellent relay swimmer throughout his career. Matt Richards earned the nod for the third leg over Calum Jarvis, and Scott will anchor. Great Britain won two straight world titles in the event before finishing a surprising fifth at the 2019 meet, and they earned silver at the 2016 Olympics.

The United States has won four straight gold medals in this event at the Olympics, but Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte were a part of all those squads. This time, Kieran Smith will lead off after claimign a surprise bronze medal in the 400 free final on day one and then finishing sixth in a fast 200 free final. Smith will be followed by Drew Kibler, Zach Apple and Townley Haas.

Kibler led off the U.S. relay in prelims in 1:46.12 and has swum as quick as 1:45.92 when he finished third at Olympic Trials, while Apple finished fifth in the 200 free at Olympic Trials. He did not swim the prelims relay due to a double with the 100 free prelims, but after Apple split 46.69 on the anchor leg of the U.S. men’s 800 free relay, the U.S. coaches decided to go with him in the linger rely. Haas, meanwhile, is the only returning swimmer from the 2016 gold medal relay, and while he did not qualify for the 200 free final, he has a history of impressive relay splits. His 1:44.14 split on the 2016 relay was the fastest in the entire field.

The Americans chose not to swim Caeleb Dressel on this relay, ensuring that Dressel will swim a maximum of six events at the Olympics. Dressel threw his name into the hat with a 1:46.56 swim in the 200 free prelims at Olympic Trials, but the U.S. coaches decided they would rather have him sit this one out and not risk wearing himself out for a busy back half of the meet.

Australia, the reigning world champions in the event, will swim a team of Alexander GrahamKyle ChalmersZac Incerti and Tommy Neill. Neill was a finalist in the 200 free while Chalmers is the defending Olympic gold medalist in the 100 free. Graham and Incerti return from the prelims relay, while Elijah Winnington was dropped as his disappointing Olympics continue.

The Russian Olympic Committee is going with a surprising lineup of Martin MalyutinIvan GirevMikhail Dovgalyuk and Evgeny Rylov. They are skipping over Aleksandr Shchegolev, who did not swim the prelims relay, either. Shchegolev has been as quick as 1:45.82 this year, but his only swim in Tokyo so far has been on the 400 free relay prelims squad, when he anchored in a disappointing 49.13 that almost resulted in Russia missing the final.

Italy, the third seed after prelims, will insert 200 free semifinalist Stefano Ballo on the leadoff leg, and Matteo CiampiFilippo Megli and Stefano di Cola will all return from the prelims group.

The full lineups for each team are available here.

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