Team USA almost did not medal in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay, but in a rapid second-half comeback, Katie Ledecky sealed the squad's fate with a silver medal-finish—breaking a world record in the process.
China, USA and Australia all broke the previous world record as they respectively took gold, silver and bronze on Thursday.
Australia was a heavy favorite coming into the relay, previously holding the record of 7:41.50 from the 2019 world championships. But, in the final 25m, Ledecky made a lightening fast close, finishing just 0.40 seconds short of China's world record setting 7:40.33.
"These girls just swam lights out," Ledecky said after the race, "and got us to a position where I felt like I could take on those two lanes. I wish I had another half second in me, but I gave it my all."
Ledecky, Allison Schmitt, Paige Madden, Katie McLaughlin, Arabella Sims and Brooke Forde made up the silver medal team. Schmitt swam a 1:56.03, Madden a 1:55.02, McLaughlin 1:55.03 and lastly, Ledecky closed the deal with 1:52.07. How did they do it?
"Resilience," Schmitt said. "They really fought throughout the whole entire race, and it was so much fun to cheer them on after I got out."
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