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FINA adds mixed-gender swimming relays; which countries would fare best?

Jul 25, 2013, 5:42 PM EDT

Missy Frankin, Ryan Lochte AP

Swimming’s world governing body approved mixed-gender relay events Thursday. They will be in place for a major international meet for the first time at the 2014 short-course world championships, according to reports.

That would presumably mean relays with two men and two women per country could be on the program at the following world championships in 2015 in Kazan, Russia. FINA has said mixed relays could be added to the Olympics at some point, but that step has not been taken yet.

We’ve already seen mixed relays at World Cup events, the Youth Olympics and, famously, at the Duel in the Pool meet between the U.S. and international stars.

Australian Olympic champion Libby Trickett went faster than the women’s 100-meter freestyle world record in the leadoff leg of the 4×100 free relay at the 2007 Duel in the Pool, but it didn’t go into the record books because she did it swimming against Michael Phelps.

So, if mixed relays were held, say, at next week’s world championships, which countries would be favored? Let’s do some math.

Based on FINA’s world leaders for this year (which have been known to miss a top time or two in the past), here’s how everybody would add up with flat times with two men and two women per relay.

4×100 free relay
Gold: Australia (3:22.15) — Cate Campbell (52.83), Bronte Campbell (53.72), James Magnussen (47.53), Cameron McEvoy (48.07).

Silver: USA (3:23.58) — Missy Franklin (53.43), Shannon Vreeland (53.83), Nathan Adrian (48.08), Jimmy Feigen (48.24).

Bronze: Russia (3:24.5) — Veronika Popova (54.12), Maria Baklakova (54.78), Vladimir Morozov (47.62), Andrey Grechin (47.08).

4×200 free relay
Gold: France (7:23.92) — Camille Muffat (1:55.48), Charlotte Bonnet (1:56.66), Yannick Agnel (1:45.48), Jeremy Stravius (1:45.61).

Silver: Australia (7:24.53) — Bronte Barratt (1:56.05), Kylie Palmer (1:56.66), Thomas Fraser-Holmes (1:45.79), Cameron McEvoy (1:46.03).

Bronze: USA (7:24.71) — Missy Franklin (1:55.56), Katie Ledecky (1:56.93), Ryan Lochte (1:45.97), Conor Dwyer (1:46.25).

4×100 medley relay
Gold: Australia (3:42.93) — Emily Seebohm (59.17), Christian Sprenger (59.05), Alicia Coutts (57.18), James Magnussen (47.53).

Silver: USA (3:44.05) — David Plummer (53.10), Kevin Cordes (59.99), Dana Vollmer (57.53), Missy Franklin (53.43).

Bronze: Russia (3:44.46) — Anastasia Zueva (59.83), Yulia Efimova (1:05.48), Evgeny Korotyshkin (51.53), Vladimir Morozov (47.62).

Usain Bolt: I know I’m clean

  1. bcjim - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    OK. This is too much
    . Swimming is a joke. Spitz and Phelps owe half their medals to the sheer number of absurd events contested.

    How many Gold would Bolt or Lewis have if track had events like the 50, the 150, the 100 on the curve, the 100 running backwards, etc, etc.
    Swimming is an embarrassment.

    • Friar Musings - Jul 27, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      Track has events called the 400m and 800m – even a 1500m. They even jump over hurdles at 100m and 400m. There is a history of sprinters competing in the Long Jump. Carl Lewis at least competed in something past the 200m. In other words, track does have events – but there has yet to be a track star who has demonstrated a breadth of capacity from short sprints to something of any distance.

      The 1500m (track) takes about the same amount of time as the 400 IM. Phelps et. al. compete from distances at 100m (47 seconds) to almost 4 mins. (400 IM) – he is not far off world pace for 50m (roughly 20 seconds)

      Bolt competes for less than 20 seconds. It really is more comparable to 50m swimming – the splash and dash. And you do not see to many 50m swim specialist moving out to other distances or strokes. They are specialist. Bolt does two short distances and a relay. He is a specialist.

      When Bolt competes in something above 200m (…and he could be fantastic, perhaps), but until he does, then you are comparing a pure sprint specialist with a completely different category of athlete who have a demonstrated record over varied distances and in different skills sets.

      Bolt and Lewis are phenomenal. Spritz, Phelps, Franklin, etc. are phenomenal. Celebrate them all as great athletes

      • bcjim - Jul 28, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        The point is that swimming has too many events that fluff up the resumes of the top swimmers. We get it, Phepls is/was good. Adding mixed relays is ridiculous.

        Olympic and WC Track has 2 relays 4×100, 4×400. How many does swimming have? And there is no event where a runner goes forward, then backward, then runs on his hands, then does some other whacky thing.

        Running doesn’t have 8 events Bolt or anyone else *could* medal in. There is too much competition which is another issue, runners come from everywhere. Swimmers are the best of a bunch of upper middle class kids with bizarre phenotypes and unlimited access to pools.

  2. tisavage2000 - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Mixed relays – not really different than mixed doubles in tennis

    • bcjim - Jul 28, 2013 at 10:00 PM

      Are you mocking it then? Assuming so, its as richly deserved.

      Can anyone cite any winner of any mixed doubles event?

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