By Karen Price | Dec. 16, 2018, 10:42 a.m. (ET)
The U.S. women's 4x50m freestyle relay team poses for a photo at the FINA World Swimming Championships on Dec. 16, 2018 in Hangzhou, China.

 

Rounding out a highly successful FINA Short Course World Championships, U.S. athletes won nine medals on the final day of competition to finish the meet at the top of the leaderboard with 36.

That total includes 17 gold medals — including three from Kelsi Dahlia and two from Caeleb Dressel on Day 6 — as well as 15 silvers and four bronzes. It’s the best finish by the United States at the short-course worlds since 2004 when it won 41 medals.

Dahlia and Dressel, who have three Olympic gold medals between them, each won a total of nine medals over the six days of competition in Hangzhou, China, to lead the team. 

Dahlia’s first gold of the night came in the women’s 4x50-meter freestyle relay, where Madison Kennedy, Mallory Comerford, Dahlia and Erika Brown combined for a 1 minute, 34.03 seconds to beat the Netherlands (1:34.55) and Australia (1:36.34) and set an American record.

Dressel then earned the first of his golds in the men’s 100-meter freestyle. It was a tight race but Dressel’s speed down the stretch earned him the top spot with an American-record time of 45.62, followed by Russia’s Vlad Morozov (45.64) and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos (45.89).

The next U.S. gold went to Annie Lazor in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, and she was joined on the podium by fellow American Bethany Galat. It was another strong race and Lazor was best down the final 50 to win in 2:18.32. Galat swam a 2:18.62 and Belgium’s Fanny Lecluyse took bronze in 2:18.85. 

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Ryan Murphy won the silver medal and his third individual medal of the meet in the men’s 200-meter backstroke, his lead overtaken in the final 50 by Russia’s Evgeny Rylov who finished in 1:47.02. Murphy swam a 1:47.34 and there was a tie for bronze between Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki and world record-holder Mitch Larkin of Australia in 1:48.25. 

Dahlia then came back to earn her second gold and first individual gold of the night in the women’s 100-meter butterfly. Just off the world record, Dahlia was in command of the race from the start and touched in 55.01. Behind her was fellow American Kendyl Stewart, who won silver in 56.22, and Brazil’s Daiene Dias who took bronze in 56.31.

The U.S. men picked up a final gold medal in the 4x100 medley relay, with Murphy, Andrew Wilson, Dressel and Ryan Held closing out their meet with a winning time of 3:19.98 to set a championship and American record. Russia was second (3:20.61) and Japan third (3:20.07).

Finally, the U.S. women set a championship record of their own in the 4x100 medley relay with Olivia Smoliga, Katie Meili, Dahlia and Comerford winning gold in 3:45.98. China took silver in 3:48.80 and Italy won the bronze in 3:51.38.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.