Cal at the Olympics: Missed Opportunity for 3 Bears to Medal in 1 Event

USA team finishes a disappointing fifth in the new Olympic swimming event -- mixed medley relay. Morikawa gaining some ground in golf
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Three swimmers with Cal connections had a chance to collect medals in one relay event that was making its Olympic debut on Friday night (Saturday in Japan). It was not to be, though.

Former Golden Bears were all over the United States' entry in this new mixed 4x100 medley relay, in which two females and two males swim legs.

In the final, former Cal star Ryan Murphy swam the backstroke leg, while two other former Golden Bears -- Abbey Weitzeil (more about her later) and Tom Shields -- had swum legs in the semifinal round of this event.  Weitzeil and Shields would have received whatever medal the American team earned with its finish in the final.

However, the Americans only finished a disappointing fifth in the final, preventing any of the three Cal swimmers from collecting a medal in this event.

Murphy, who gained national attention for comments he made the previous day regarding doping in Olympic swimming, opened with a strong swim. He faltered near the end but finished his opening leg virtually even with the Italian swimmer for the lead.

The problem came in the second leg, the breaststroke. Lydia Jacoby, who captured a gold medal in the women's 100 breaststroke, lost her goggles early in her leg, and the Americans fell far behind. Torri Huske was unable to make much ground in the butterfly leg, leaving Caeleb Dressel hopelessly behind entering his freestyle anchor leg.

Lydia Jacoby. Photo by Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports

Lydia Jacoby. Photo by Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports

The USA team finished in a time of 3:40.58, which was 3.00 seconds behind the winning Great Britain team and 1.63 seconds behind the Australian team, which finished third. China took the silver.

Here is the end of that relay race, with the U.S. in Lane 5:

---The evening was not a total loss for Abbey Weitzeil, who did surprisingly well in the women's 50 freestyle semifinal, which took place just six minutes before the mixed medley relay final.

Weitzeil advanced to the final of the women's 50 free by placing second in her semifinal heat. Her time of 24.19 was the fourth-fastest times of the two heats and easily put her into the eight-swimmer final.

Emma McKeon won the heat in which Weitzeil competing, finishing is a time of 24.00.

Simone Manuel (right) congratulate Abbey Weitzeil. Photo by Rob Schumacher, USA Today

Simone Manuel (right) congratulate Abbey Weitzeil. Photo by Rob Schumacher, USA Today

Morikawa gains ground in golf

Former Cal standout Collin Morikawa made a long birdie putt on the final hole to finish his third round with a 4-under-par 67.  That left him seven shots off the lead, with most of the golfers at the top of the leaderboard still on the course.

When Morikawa finished his round at about 10:15 p.m. Pacific time, the leader was Xander Schauffele, who was at 14 under par for the tournament but had completed just 11 holes of the third round.

Morikawa had five birdies and an eagle to go along with three bogeys in his third round at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama, Japan.


Cover photo of Abbey Weitzeil and Simone Manuel by Rob Schumacher, USA Today.


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

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