American swimmers Ryan Murphy, Michael Andrew, Caeleb Dressel, and Zach Apple have a major reason to celebrate. They bested Great Britain to win the men’s 4×100 meter medley relay race at the Tokyo Olympic Games, and they did so shattering a world record. Digital Journal has the recap.
Team USA won with a time of 3:26.78, leaving Great Britain in second place with 3:27.51. They were able to obliterate the previous world record (that Team USA set back at the 2009 FINA World Aquatics Championships) by half a second.
Ryan Murphy kicked it off with a 52.31 second backstroke split, Michael Andrew clocked a 58.49 second breaststroke split, Dressel secured a 49.03 second butterfly split, and Zach Apple rounded out the relay with a 46.95 second freestyle split. Team USA, who were the underdogs this year (with Great Britain being the favorites), managed to keep their winning streak alive.
“I think we knew, given kind of the composite splits that we have put together just this week, that we could put together a special performance,” Ryan Murphy said. “That is all the hype we needed. We were really, really excited to go into that one – really excited to show what we could do and really proud of the result.”
Ryan Murphy continued, “It is incredible, the Olympics, there is a whirlwind of emotion and so it is really a challenge to move in and out of all these emotions and step up to each race with a clear mind and go in there and swim tough. To come out at the end of this meet with a world record and with a gold medal alongside these guys – I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
This marked the 10th consecutive gold medal for the United States in this event, which dates back to 1984. Team USA has won the gold in 14 out of the 15 Olympic Games in the event (in 1980 the United States did not compete due to the boycott).
To watch this world record race in its entirety, click here.
In addition, American swimmers Hunter Armstrong, Andrew Wilson, Tom Shields, and Blake Pieroni, who swam at the preliminaries all earned gold medals in the event.
Zach Apple, who anchored this medley relay, remarked, “Obviously the middle of my meet didn’t go to plan. Coming into this swim, I really wanted to have a redemption swim, and I think I did. I was very, very excited to get up there with these three guys. As I’ve mentioned earlier, to have two world-record holders and the fastest American breaststroker ever in front of me gives me a lot of confidence and kind of sets the tone for that relay.”
“I wasn’t really looking over [at the clock when I dove in], the competition was several lanes away and I had confidence in Caeleb [Dressel] that he was going to give me a lead. I didn’t know how fast he was going but I knew he was giving it his best effort and that was what I was going to do as well, and it worked out,” Apple explained.
With his prestigious fifth win, Dressel joins such iconic American swimmers as Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, and Matt Biondi and East Germany’s Kristin Otto, as the only swimmers to win as many as five gold medals at one Olympic Games.
“It was really fun competing here – I wouldn’t change a single thing,” Dressel said. “Once the meet is over, of course, I’m happy, but I was also very happy when it was going on. Nerves are a little bit different during a meet then after a meet – they don’t exist after a meet. I’m pretty over it, to be honest, so to end it like we did is so special. It’s a really special moment.”
“I’m proud of myself,” Caeleb Dressel admitted. “I feel like I reached what my potential was here at these Games. It was just really fun racing. I’ll give myself a pat on the back, and then I just want to go home and put it away and move forward. I’m going to take a break. I’m going to take a little break here. I’m pretty over swimming, so we’ll go home, enjoy time with my family – see them, talk to them, but I really enjoyed my time here.”
Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Murphy both served as co-captains of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Swimming Team.