It’s no coincidence that the U.S. men’s 4x200m freestyle relay team had its worst finish since 2001, a bronze in Budapest on Friday.
From 2002 through 2016, either Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte was part of the quartet (and usually both of them were).
But with Phelps retired and Lochte suspended, a much younger foursome swam at worlds, including three men who had no Olympic final experience.
The U.S. led after three of four legs, but Great Britain anchor James Guy (2015 World 200m free champion) had the fastest split of all 32 swimmers by .78.
Guy zoomed past American Zane Grothe as the Brits repeated as world champs in the relay by .98 over Russia, which was a half-second ahead of the U.S. for silver.
Grothe, who is better in the 400m and 800m frees, split three seconds slower than Guy. He was the slowest American by nearly a second (when accounting for slower leadoff legs due to flat starts).
One swimmer the U.S. left off the final quartet was Conor Dwyer, a relay finalist member at every Olympics worlds since 2011. But Dwyer, the Rio 200m free bronze medalist, was fourth in the 200m free at nationals and even slower leading off the U.S. 4x200m in the morning heats.
Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay Results
Gold: Great Britain — 7:01.70
Silver: Russia — 7:02.68
Bronze: U.S. — 7:03.18
4. Australia — 7:05.98
5. Japan — 7:07.68
6. Italy — 7:09.94
7. Poland — 7:09.62
8. Netherlands — 7:12.76
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