In Olympic first, men, women swim together in wild medley

Jul 31, 2021, 1:37 AM | Updated: 2:52 am
James Guy, of Britain, swims in a mixed 4x100-meter medley relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Satur...

James Guy, of Britain, swims in a mixed 4x100-meter medley relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Britain won the gold medal. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

TOKYO (AP) — One swimmer’s goggles slipped off. Another worried about who was chasing her down. And strangest of all, the world’s dominant male swimmer dived in with no chance.

The Olympic debut of the 4×100-meter mixed medley relay lived up to its promise of utter chaos and unpredictability.

In the end, Britain emerged with a gold medal and a world record of 3 minutes, 37.58 seconds on Saturday. China claimed silver and Australia took bronze.

The event features two men and two women from each team who can swim in any order.

Swimming his third event of the day, Caeleb Dressel anchored the U.S. team as the only man to swim the freestyle leg. Most teams used women on that leg, because the difference in time between women and men is generally less on that stroke than the other three.

The Americans decided not to use Abbey Weitzeil or Simone Manuel, who had competed in the 50 free semifinals right before the relay. If they had, a male swimmer could have taken, say, the breaststroke leg, where there’s a larger gap between the fastest men’s and women’s times — roughly 7 1/2 seconds for the gold medalists in Tokyo.

Ryan Murphy led off for the Americans and had them tied for first with Italy after his backstroke leg.

Lydia Jacoby dived in next for the breaststroke and her goggles immediately slipped down to her mouth.

“I was definitely panicking,” she said. “My turn was where it was most rough because I couldn’t see the wall.”

The 17-year-old from Alaska was wearing just a single cap. Most swimmers wear two caps to help hold their goggles in place.

An impaired Jacoby valiantly battled through her two laps, but the U.S. fell to sixth. The Americans were in eighth when Huske turned it over to Dressel for the closing freestyle leg.

He had far too much of a deficit to make up, only pulling the Americans up to fifth at the finish.

“We didn’t execute well. Fifth-place is unacceptable for USA Swimming, and we’re very aware of that. Our standard is gold,” Dressel said, adding, “I think everyone swam as well as they could have in the moment.”

The other countries either went with two men on the first two legs and two women on the last two or women on the opening and closing legs with two men swimming the middle legs.

The British team boasted 100 breaststroke champion Adam Peaty, who moved them from sixth to fourth. Anna Hopkin swam the anchor leg, knowing that Dressel was lurking in the choppy water.

“He’s so fast, it is a bit intimidating,” she said.

No need to worry, though.

Dressel was over 8 seconds off the lead when he took over.

“The guys ahead of me got me such a good lead,” Hopkin said. “He wasn’t catching me.”

The U.S. finish doomed Dressel’s chance to win six golds in Tokyo. He earlier led off the winning 4×100 free relay, and won the 100 free and 100 butterfly. He goes for two more golds in the 50 free and 4×100 medley relay on Sunday, the final day of swimming.

For the second time in the Olympics, the U.S. failed to earn a medal in a relay that it entered, after a fourth-place finish in the men’s 4×200 free relay in Tokyo.

“Next year at worlds, we’ll give it another go and put the pieces together again,” Dressel said.

Dressel said he hadn’t offered any advice to his teenage teammates, pointing out that Jacoby won the 100 breaststroke and Torri Huske, an 18-year-old from Virginia, was fourth in the 100 butterfly.

“Lydia won a gold medal before I did,” Dressel said. “She probably should have been telling me what to do.”

Regardless of the outcome, the mixed relay’s addition to the Olympics brought rave reviews.

“It’s a fun event and that’s what sport needs,” Peaty said. “It needs to be fun.”


More AP Olympics: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


First grade teacher Suzy Tom leads a class and demonstrates the order of character strokes at the A...
Associated Press

As Cantonese language wanes, efforts grow to preserve it

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Three decades ago, finding opportunities to learn Cantonese in San Francisco wasn’t hard. But today in the city that’s drawn Cantonese speakers from South China for over 150 years, there’s fear that political and social upheaval are diminishing a language that is a cultural touchstone. The Chinese government’s push for wider […]
21 hours ago
FILE - A customer waits for service at a Optus phone store in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Oct. 7, ...
Associated Press

Australian police probe purported hacker’s ransom demand

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian police were investigating a report that a purported hacker had already released the stolen personal data of 10,000 Optus customers and was demanding a $1 million ransom in cryptocurrency, the telecommunications company’s chief executive said on Tuesday. The Australian government has blamed lax cybersecurity at the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Foes of Arizona voucher expansion likely fail to make ballot

PHOENIX (AP) — A massive expansion of Arizona’s private school voucher system will likely go into effect after public school advocates failed to gather enough signatures to block the law, a conservative think tank that supports the expansion said Monday. The Goldwater Institute, a conservative and libertarian public policy think tank in Phoenix, said Save […]
21 hours ago
In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a...
Associated Press

Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. Coast Guard ship on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across a guided missile cruiser from China, officials said Monday. But it turned out the cruiser wasn’t alone as it sailed about 86 miles (138 kilometers) north of Alaska’s Kiska Island, on Sept. 19. Two other Chinese naval […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Appeals court blocks California ban on for-profit prisons

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A larger panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday again blocked California’s first-in-the-nation ban on for-profit private prisons and immigration detention facilities, finding that it is trumped by the federal government. A three-judge appellate panel last year rejected the 2019 state law that would have phased out […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Ex-Nigerian official gets 5 years for pandemic fraud in US

SEATTLE (AP) — A former Nigerian government official was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 in pandemic relief benefits in the United States. Abidemi Rufai was wearing a $10,000 watch and $35,000 gold chain when he was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York on his way to […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
In Olympic first, men, women swim together in wild medley