Cal at the Olympics: Swimmer Katie McLaughlin in Line for Relay Medal

Anna Illes helps Hungary end USA's women's water polo streak
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Katie McLaughlin, who was a senior at Cal in 2019, appears to be in position for a medal after she swam a leg for the United States' 4x200 freestyle relay team that finished first in its semifinal heat on Wednesday.

The Americans posted a time of 7:47.57, but that was only the second-fastest time of the eight teams that qualified for finals, scheduled for 8:31 p.m. Pacific time on Wednesday.

The Australians won the other heat in a time of 7:44.61, nearly three seconds faster than the Americans.

The United States has won this event in each of the past two Olympics and five of the six times the event has been held in the Olympics. Australia won the other gold medal.

Katie McLaughlin. Photo by Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports

Katie McLaughlin. Photo by Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports

Camille Cheng, who was a co-captain of the Cal swim team in 2015, was scheduled to be part of the Hong Kong team in the 4x200 freestyle relay, but the Hong Kong team withdrew from the semifinal heats to give Siobhan Bernadette Haughey more time to rest to try to get another medal in the women’s individual 100 freestyle. Cheng is also scheduled to swim for Hong Kong in the 4x100 freestyle relay later in the week.

--Ex-Cal swimmer Ryan Murphy, who won the bronze medal in the 100 backstroke, launched his bid for gold in the 200 backstroke by winning his preliminary heat and being one of two ex-Cal swimmers to advance to the semifinals at 7:11 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday night.

The other Cal swimmer in the 200 backstroke semifinal is Bryce Mefford, who finished second in his heat but had a better qualifying time than Murphy. Mefford’s time of 1:56.37 was the third-fastest of the 16 men who advanced to the semifinal, and Murphy’s time of 1:56.92 was the seventh best.

--Abbey Weitzeil finished fourth in her heat of the women’ 100 freestyle, but that would good enough to be among the 16 swimmers who advanced to the semifinals, scheduled for 6:58 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday. Weitzeil’s time of 53.21 was the 11th-fastest in the preliminary heats.

--Marina Garcia of Spain finished fifth in a time of 2:26.21 in her preliminary heat of the women’s 200 breaststroke, but that was not good enough to advance to the semifinals.

Illes, Hungary hand U.S. women first water polo loss since 2008

Former Cal standout Anna Illes scored a second-quarter goal to help Hungary upset the United States 10-9 in a Group B women's water polo match. The Americans are favored to win the gold medal after taking Olympic gold in both 2016 and 2012, and this was their first Olympic loss since 2008.

The USA held a 9-8 lead late in the game, but Hungary scored the final two goals to win.

Hungary has one win and one tie in group play, while the U.S. is 2-1.

Women’s water polo features two five-team groups and only the last-place team in each group fails to advance to the knock-out round in the quarterfinals.

--Former Cal standouts Kelly McKee and Kindred Paul along with Emma Wright, who has year of eligibility remaining at Cal, combined for four goals for Canada in a 21-1 win over South Africa in Group A water polo play. Paul had two goals and McKee and Wright had one apiece. Canada has a 1-2 record.

--Kitty Lynn Joustra, a rising senior at Cal who plays for The Netherlands, and former Golden Bear Roser Tarrago, who plays for Spain, faced off in a Group A match, and The Netherlands came away with a 14-13 victory.

Joustra scored a goal on her only shot attempt, and Tarrago also scored a goal, although she attempted nine shots. Spain is 2-1 and The Netherlands is 1-1.

McLachlan loses doubles match

Former Cal tennis player Ben McLachlan paired with partner Kei Nishikori to represent Japan in men’s doubles, but they lost to the top-seeded team of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 6-3, 6-3 in a third-round match.

One service break in each set told the story, and McLachlan and Nishikori missed an opportunity to break serve in the final game of the first set, letting a 15-40 advantage get away.

McLachlan is still alive in mixed doubles. He and Ena Shibahara to best Yaroslava Shvedova and Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan, 6-3, 7-6, in the first round.

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Cover photo of Katie McLaughlin by Rob Schumacher, USA Today

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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