Olympics Swimming 2012: Team USA's Biggest Competition in Relays

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2012

BEIJING - AUGUST 11:  (L-R) Garrett Weber-Gale and Michael Phelps of the United States celebrate finishing the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay Final in first place to win the gold medal held at the National Aquatics Center on Day 3 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 11, 2008 in Beijing, China.  The United States finished the race in first place in a time of 3:08.24 and wins the gold medal and set a new World Record.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Team USA is going to walk away with a bucket worth of gold that they pluck from the London pool. This swimming squad is loaded, and they will certainly show that in the relays. 

That said, they aren't a dead-solid lock to win the gold in anything—no one ever is. So if they do falter in any of the next three events, it is likely to be to the countries mentioned. 


Women's 4 x 200 Freestyle: Finals on Aug. 1

According to nicerodds.co.uk, the U.S. are the favorites in this one, and the Australians, who are the next favorite, have odds twice as high as the U.S. This is actually not out of the ordinary, as they were or are favored to win all but two of the relays. 

So don't expect anything but gold in this event, but if they are challenged, it will most certainly be from the Australians or Chinese. 


Men's 4 x 100 Medley: Finals on Aug. 4 

The depth of the men's team will be on full display in this relay. They have the lowest qualifying time, but there are four other teams within in a second of their time. 

Australia's qualifying time is just .2 seconds behind, and they certainly figure to be the stiffest competition. These two swim teams have developed a knack for fierce relay battles, and this one should only add to that.

Japan and Germany are the other two who were within a second. It is not out of the question that they could upset both, but it would take a perfect performance by them to do so.  


Women's 4 x 100 Medley: Finals on Aug. 4 

Led by Missy Franklin, this group of women should dominate, and their qualifying scores reflect that. They are over three full seconds ahead of the next closest team, China. 

This margin might not be any smaller in the finals, but it is likely that it will be China chasing them and winding up with the silver. 

Australia is likely to join the other two on the medal stand.