Olympics: Italy Nails Down Top Seed in 400 Freestyle Relay; USA Second With Caeleb Dressel To Come

Jul 25, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Zach Apple (USA) reacts after the men's 4x100m freestyle relay heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

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Olympics: Italy Nails Down Top Seed in 400 Freestyle Relay; USA Second With Caeleb Dressel To Come

There will be a rash of lineup substitutions before the final of the 400-meter freestyle relay is called to the blocks at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. For now, Italy has established itself as the team to beat, following a prelim performance of 3:10.29. That outing won the first of two heats and was the result of teamwork of Alessandro Miressi, Santo Condorelli, Lorenzo Zazzeri and Manuel Frigo.

Miressi got the Italians off to a strong start with a leadoff split of 47.46 and was supported by three straight 47-second markers from his teammates. Italy is expected to sub in Thomas Ceccon in the final, although he will have the semifinals of the 100 backstroke earlier in the session.

The United States qualified second in 3:11.33 behind the squad of Brooks Curry (48.84), Blake Pieroni (47.71), Bowe Becker (47.59) and Zach Apple (47.19). Team USA will bring Caeleb Dressel into the final, which should provide a two-second boost when he replaces Curry. The Americans were followed in third by Australia, which was timed in 3:11.89 and received a 46.63 split from Kyle Chalmers, the reigning Olympic champ in the 100 freestyle.

Narrowly sneaking into the final was Russia, which went 3:13.13 and only advanced to the championship race by .04 over Great Britain. Russia will bring Kliment Kolesnikov into the mix for the final, with the potential of Evgeny Rylov making an appearance as well.

Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay

World Record: United States (Phelps, Weber-Gale, Jones, Lezak), 3:08.24, 2008
Olympic Record: United States (Phelps, Weber-Gale, Jones, Lezak), 3:08.24, 2008

Finalists

1. Italy, 3:10.29
2. United States, 3:11.33
3. Australia, 3:11.89
4. France, 3:12.35
5. Brazil, 3:12.59
6. Hungary, 3:12.73
7. Canada, 3:13.00
8. Russia, 3:13.13

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