After the Commonwealth Games, Australian women lead all relays

After the Commonwealth Games, Australian women lead all relays

After the Commonwealth Games, Australian women lead all three relays

A year ago, Australian women were dominant in the Olympics. The swimming-obsessed nation had only won a women’s gold medal in both London and Rio, but The Aryans thyme, Kaylee McKeown And Emma McKeon led an Australian revival in Tokyo, a gold medal effort in the 400 freestyle and 400 mixed relays. Afterward, Titmus and McKeon missed the 2022 World Championships, but with a nearly full roster, Australia wiped out the field in women’s competitions at the Commonwealth Games.

Now, with a full year in this shortened three-year cycle culminating in the Paris Olympics, Australians are the team to beat. This includes individual events, where Mollie O’Callaghan is a rising star along with the Tokyo gold trio, and also in the relay races. That’s right: the most prestigious women’s swimming events rely on all of Australia.

Of course, the 400 free relay has been across Australia for many years. The last time Australia did not win a world title in the event was in 2017, when the United States beat a missing sprint star from the Australian group Cate Campbell by only three tenths. At this year’s World Championships, Australia was missing three of the four swimmers from last year’s Olympic gold medal and world record winning team, and the result was the same: gold by over a second. And that was without McKeon, who split at a speed of 51.88 at the Commonwealth Games.

Simply put, there is no predictable scenario in which one of the other medal-winning countries from Budapest could reach Australia. A Canadian team of Penny Oleksiak, Taylor Ruck, Maggie Mac Neil And Summer McIntosh? An American team led by Break Rememberwho this year broke 53 for the first time in the 100 free and won bronze at the World Championships, and teenage companion Claire Curzan? Those are good teams but they can’t compete with an Australian roster led by McKeon and the swimmers ranked first and second in the world in the 100 free this year, teenage world champion O’Callaghan and the resurgent Shayna Jack – and it’s really hard to imagine the landscape changing in the two short years before Paris.

As for the 800 free relay, Australia entered the Tokyo Games as a big favorite for gold with a quartet led by Titmus, but in one of the biggest upheavals of the Olympics, China won, followed by the United States. and then from Australia. At this year’s World Cup, Australia was again favored, even without Titmus, but this time it was the Americans, fueled by by Katie Ledecky usual excellence and an anchor out of the body divided by Pretty Simswho won gold.

Then, at the Commonwealth Games, Australia broke the world record, the first ever relay under 7:40, the swim that Australian women were fully capable of a year earlier in Tokyo. This time, Madison Wilson, Kiah Melverton and O’Callaghan set it up and Titmus finished with the fastest split in history. The time was two seconds faster than the Americans’ performance in Budapest.

Unlike the 400 free relay, however, this is not insurmountable and the nation best equipped to chase Australia is once again the United States, with Ledecky in the lead and a cohort of teenagers showing great improvements in the 200 free. This includes the Sims, Clear Weinstein, Katie Grimes And Erin Gemmell, who made the world’s top 10 in the 200 free at the US Nationals last week. Canada, led by the rapidly improving McIntosh, and China, with 200 free world champions Which Junxuan in pink, remain players.

It’s worth noting that Australia’s track record of consistent performance in the longest free relay isn’t great (again, think Tokyo), so this leaves a glimmer of hope for teams in pursuit. But it’s hard to argue with a days old world record.

Finally, the mixed relay, where the United States took their last three world titles, but Australia won Olympic gold for just 0.13 last year in Tokyo. This year’s Budapest showdown went to the US by half a second, but without McKeon holding on to her usual butterfly leg. She adds her 56.59 split in a winning effort in Birmingham, and the result is different.

Perhaps the mixed relay should best be described as a draw, with plenty of qualifications to declare one of the favorite countries. For example, Americans were missing their usual frog pop this year Lilli King battling at the World Cup, but for Australia, McKeown hasn’t come within a second of her world record of 100 back in any of the summer championship events. Then again, Huske’s butterfly stage of the US mixed relay was more than a second slower than his individual performance of 100 flies.

That hustle and bustle could go on all day. But this is the weakest of the three Australian women’s relays and the best of the American teams.

Of course, all events are important, but the relays mean something more. A huge relay performance is galvanizing for any team, from an Olympic team or an elite college team to a high school or Summer League team, and a relay flop is equally deflating. Consequently, the overriding goal for the United States ahead of Paris? “We will try to focus on getting our men and women faster in these relays”, CEO of the US National Team Lindsay Mintko She said. “It will be a great goal for us”.

And certainly, it didn’t go well for the US to be excluded from gold medals in the women’s relay races in Tokyo, even with all the swimmers in the relay finals producing admirable performance. But right now it’s Australia in the driver’s seat and leaving the Commonwealth Games in an enviable position in the most significant women’s swimming events.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.