After Barely Qualifying For The Final, US Men’s Medley Relay Team Keeps Undefeated Streak Alive


Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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After barely qualifying for the final, the Team USA men’s medley relay team pulled off a major upset Sunday to keep the American winning streak alive.

The final team was composed of Ryan Murphy (backstroke), Michael Andrew (breaststroke), Caeleb Dressel (butterfly) and Zach Apple (freestyle), but their B team (Hunter Armstrong, Andrew Wilson, Tom Shields and Blake Pieroni) just eked out their spot in the final by .33 seconds, placing seventh overall in the preliminary heat. (RELATED: Swimmers Chase Kalisz, Jay Litherland Win Gold And Silver, Take First Two Medals For US In The Same Race)

Great Britain’s team was the heavy favorite, led by Adam Peaty — two-time Olympic champion in the 100m breaststroke. Because they were seeded seventh, the U.S. team drew an outside lane for the race. But they used it to their advantage and delivered a world record performance for the last event of the Olympic swimming competition.

USA’s Ryan Murphy (L) and USA’s Caeleb Dressel celebrate winning the final of the men’s 4x100m medley relay swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Game. ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. team finished with a time of 3:26.78, a half-second faster than the previous world record set at the World Championships in 2009, which was a team that included the most decorated swimmer in history, Michael Phelps.

Since the first time the medley relay was introduced in the Olympic summer games, the U.S. has not lost — and the team in Tokyo held onto that streak.

The U.S. has been undefeated in the event since 1960. The only gap in their record stemmed from the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan which led to the U.S. boycotting the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.