Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte might end up swimming in the same event. Swimmings governing body voted on Friday to include two different mixed-gender relays the 4×100-meter freestyle and the 4×100 medley at future world championships.
Teams will be made up of two men and two women,and it is up to them to decide the order so,for instance,a woman could race against a man on the anchor leg.
Having already been tested at a World Cup meet in Dubai last year,the mixed relays will get their official debut at the 2014 short-course worlds in Doha,Qatar,in the 4×50 format. Then they will make their long-course worlds debut in Kazan,Russia,in 2015.
The event got rave reviews when it was tried at the 2007 Duel in the Pool in Australia,when Libby Lenton (now named Trickett) swam what would have been a world record when racing against Michael Phelps.
Its really exciting to have another event, said American veteran Natalie Coughlin,the winner of 12 Olympic medals. The first time I saw it on a program was Duel in the Pool. I was begging to be on that relay. Im still upset I wasnt on that relay. Its fun from team dynamic to combine our teams. When youre someone like me whos been here a long time,its fun to change things up.
The addition of two more races means that five relays will be on the program at the worlds,joining the traditional 4×100 free,4×200 free and 4×100 medley.
At the World Cup meet in Dubai,Britta Steffen who holds the world records in the 50 and 100 free led Germany to victory by holding off two fast-charging male swimmers in the anchor leg.
It makes things really interesting for the spectators, U.S. womens head coach Dave Salo said. The athletes enjoy it on the short-course circuit. Its a good chance to entertain the spectators. Thats what were here for.
The mixed relays have not yet been approved for the Olympics. But that could happen,eventually.