By Jim Rusnak//Director of Editorial Properties | Wednesday, July 24, 2019
GWANGJU, South Korea – The mixed 400m medley relay might be one of the more interesting races in swimming.
In a traditional relay, swimmers and their teams generally just try to get out in front and stay there. The mixed medley has a different ebb and flow.
One leg a team is out front, the next it’s in fifth. It requires a good bit of strategy in deciding a team’s lineup beforehand, and sometimes it works out, other times it doesn’t.
“It’s kind of difficult sometimes, but that’s why we love the mixed medley,” breaststroker Lilly King said. “It’s a crap shoot every time we do it.”
Unfortunately for the U.S. mixed medley relay, that crap shoot favored Australia Wednesday at the 18th FINA World Championships. Ryan Murphy, King, Caeleb Dressel and Simone Manuel finished second to their Aussie rivals by two hundredths of a second – 3:39.08 to 3:39.10.
It was the lone medal of the night for the Americans, and after four days of competition, the U.S. has won eight medals – three gold, three silver and two bronze.
“We certainly would have liked to have been first,” Dressel said. “I thought we did a good job. They were just a better team tonight. Credit to Australia – that was phenomenal. Fun race, though. It was just about as close as it can get.”
The U.S. was solid the whole way. Murphy touched the wall second in the backstroke leg, handing the race over to King, who was the only woman swimming breaststroke. King split a 1:04.94, but the U.S. trailed in fifth place.
Dressel regained the lead with a 49.33 in the butterfly leg, but Cate Campbell clipped Manuel at the wall for the win.
“There’s a lot of back and forth,” Dressel said. “There’s a lot of chop that goes on throughout the race because of the lead changes. I think the last three legs felt the majority of that. It throws your feel off a little bit. It doesn’t make you swim slower or faster, but it does throw some stuff off. It is quite a different race just because of the lead changes. It’s exciting.
“Of course we would have liked to have been first. We take a lot of pride in what we do, so we’re a little disappointed, but there was a better team tonight. It’s as simple as that. Credit to Australia. That was awesome on their part.”
In other races, Kristof Milak of Hungary broke the world record in the men’s 200m butterfly, turning in a time of 1:50.73. The former mark, held by none other than the legendary Michael Phelps and set at the 2009 World Championships in Rome, stood at 1:51.51. Finishing second behind Milak was Daiya Seto of Japan in 1:53.86 and Chad le Clos of South Africa in 1:54.15.
Zach Harting was the lone American competing in the finals of the 200 fly. It was his first long course World Championship final. He finished 6th in 1:55.69.
The heavily favored Adam Peaty of Great Britain won the men’s 50m breaststroke in 26.06, missing his world record by 11-hundredths of a second. The silver medal went to Felipe Lima of Brazil in 26.66, and the bronze to Joao Gomes of Brazil in 26.69. Michael Andrew, competing in his third event this week, finished seventh in 26.93.
No Americans competed in either the final of the men’s 800m freestyle or the women’s 200m freestyle.
Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy took gold in the men’s 800 free in 7:39.27. Henrik Chrisitansen of Norway took silver in 7:41.28, and David Aubry of France took bronze in 7:42.08.
In the women’s 200m freestyle, veteran Federica Pellegrini of Italy won gold in 1:54.22, followed by Ariarne Titmus of Australia in 1:54.66 and Sarah Sjoestrom of Sweden in 1:54.78.
Swimmers competed in the semifinals Wednesday of the men’s 100m freestyle, women’s 50m backstroke, women’s 200m butterfly and men’s 200m IM. The top eight swimmers from each semifinal will compete in the finals of those events tomorrow night.
Americans swimming in tonight’s semifinals were Caleb Dressel in the men’s 100m freestyle (1st, 47.35); Blake Pieroni in the men’s 100m freestyle (5th, 47.87); Kathleen Baker in the women’s 50m backstroke (1st, 27.62); Olivia Smoliga in the women’s 50m backstroke (5th, 27.76); Hali Flickinger in the women’s 200m butterfly (1st, 2:06.25); Katie Drabot in the women’s 200m butterfly (2nd, 2:06.59); Chase Kalisz in the men’s 200m IM (4th, 1:57.34); and Abrahm DeVine in the men’s 200m IM (7th, 1:57.91).