Mixed-up may­hem prov­ing pop­u­lar

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

BUDAPEST — Matt Gre­vers wasn’t sure what was go­ing on. He wasn’t alone.

One of swim­ming’s new­est — and cer­tainly cra­zi­est — events was show­cased on Wed­nes­day at the World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships, where the United States set a pair of world records while win­ning the 4x100m mixed med­ley re­lay.

Gre­vers led things off by swim­ming the back­stroke, giv­ing the Amer­i­cans a slight lead, but breast­stro­ker Lilly King — com­pet­ing against seven men, in­clud­ing Bri­tain’s world-record holder Adam Peaty — was only in fifth place when she passed off to team­mate Caeleb Dres­sel.

“When Caeleb was in the wa­ter, I had no idea who was win­ning the race,” Gre­vers said.

“I didn’t know if we were ahead or be­hind. I didn’t know how it was go­ing to bal­ance out, how much of a lead Si­mone (Manuel, swim­ming the freestyle an­chor) was go­ing to need. It was just chaos.”

It worked out just fine for the Amer­i­cans.

Dres­sel, swim­ming against only one other man, pushed the US to a com­mand­ing lead. Manuel cruised to vic­tory, touch­ing in a time of 3min, 38.56sec.

That eas­ily eclipsed the mark of 3:40.28 put up by an en­tirely dif­fer­ent US four­some — Ryan Mur­phy, Kevin Cordes, Kelsi Wor­rell and Mal­lory Comer­ford — in the morn­ing pre­lims.

“It’s re­ally cool that we had two re­lays that would’ve won tonight,” Gre­vers said.

Aus­tralia took the sil­ver, while Canada and China tied for the bronze.

Gov­ern­ing body FINA added two mixed re­lays to its pro­gram at the 2015 world cham­pi­onships in Kazan, Rus­sia, also de­but­ing the 4x100 mixed-freestyle re­lay.

While scorned by tra­di­tion­al­ists, the ath­letes seem to en­joy the unique­ness of men and women com­pet­ing in the same events.

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee clearly saw the ap­peal, ap­prov­ing the 4x100 mixed-med­ley re­lay for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

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