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2020 Olympics: U.S. Mixed 4x100 Swimming Relay, What Happened

July 30th marked the finals of the the one of the most interesting swimming events in the Olympics, the 4x100 mixed Medley Relay. The U.S. which had some of the best swimmers in the world including 2 individual gold medalists and was looking like they were favored to win. However the race soon became a disaster for the American team.

What went Wrong?

The relay was almost doomed from before the start. When the lineups were presented before the race most teams had the same idea for line ups. Have a female swimmer swim back and free while having the male swimmers swim fly and breast. This was a logical choice because the difference in men and women's 100 free and 100 back times is not super far apart. While the difference between men and women's 100 breast or 100 fly is more significant. However the U.S. didn't make their relay with this logic. The American team consisted of a male backstroke swimmer (Ryan Murphy), female breastroke and fly swimmers (Lydia Jacoby and Tori Husk), and finishing with a male freestyler (Caleb Dressel). With Jacoby and Dressel being individual gold medalists in their respective events it looked like the U.S. had a good chance at wining the relay. However the order of American swimmers is the exact opposite of the logical order other teams took. This led to other teams gaining huge leads over the U.S. when it came time to swim fly and breast. The U.S. was so far behind going into the last 100 meters that even the current fastest swimmer in the world couldn't get them into a medaling position.

Lydia Jacoby's Goggles coming off certainly didn't help but she still was able to pull through and go a time only fractions off of her gold medal winning time.

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