Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia Ltd.
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Australia got off to a fast start. The United States did not. At the halfway point, the Australians were under world record pace and the Americans were in last. It was slightly misleading because Canada and Japan put their best swimmers in the second spot while Australians led off with their best, leaving the Americans with their best swimmer on the anchor leg.
Australia’s Ariarne Titmus (1:55.27) and Emma McKeon (1:55.66) put Australia in great position up front, leaving the rest of the field to try and catch up. The Americans almost did with Katie Ledecky charging home at 1:53.84, but it was not enough as anchor leg Maddie Groves (1:56.47) held on to give Australia its third gold medal of the night at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo.
Titmus, McKeon, Mikkayla Sheridan (1:56.72) and Groves took home the gold medal at 7:44.12, breaking the meet record from 2014.
The United States was second with Allison Schmitt (1:58.62), Leah Smith (1:56.44), Katie McLaughlin (1:55.47) and Ledecky.
Canada’s Kayla Sanchez (1:58.37), Taylor Ruck (1:54.08), Rebecca Smith (1:58.08) and Mackenzie Padington (1:56.75) finished with the bronze at 7:47.28.
Japan put up a good fight for fourth at 7:48.96 for a new Japanese record, lowering their 7:50.43 from last year’s Worlds.