By Todd Kortemeier | July 24, 2019, 10:35 a.m. (ET)

(L-R) Ryan Murphy, Lilly King, Caeleb Dressel and Simone Manuel pose during the medal ceremony for the mixed 4x100-meter medley relay final at the 2019 FINA World Championships on July 24, 2019 in Gwangju, South Korea. 

 

Make it three medals in a row for Team USA in the 4x100-meter mixed medley – which makes its Olympic debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – at the world championships.

The U.S. came up just short in a bid for a second world title in a row in the event, .02 seconds short to be exact. Three-fourths of the team that won in 2017 and set the world record was in the pool Wednesday at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, the lone swap being three-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy in for four-time Olympic champ Matt Grevers.

It helped to have Murphy on the backstroke, as he is the world-record holder in the 100-meter. That mark was threatened with a scorching run by Russia’s Evgeny Rylov. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Lilly King did well on the breaststroke, but lost time as every other team elected to use a male swimmer.

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Two-time Olympic champ Caeleb Dressel got the lead back on the butterfly, leaving it up to two-time gold medalist Simone Manuel to swim the freestyle. Going up against Australia’s Cate Campbell, Manuel couldn’t hold the lead down the stretch and touched in 3:39.10, right behind the Aussies who won in 3:39.08.

It was Team USA’s lone medal on day four of finals in the pool.

The action continues in the pool from Gwangju on Thursday with finals in the men’s 100-meter freestyle, where Dressel will look to defend his world title and Blake Pieroni will seek his first individual long-course world medal, and the 200-meter individual medley (Abrahm Devine, Chase Kalisz). On the women’s side, finals will be held in the 200-meter butterfly (Katie Drabot, Hali Flickinger), 4x200-meter freestyle and the non-Olympic 50-meter backstroke (Kathleen Baker, Olivia Smoliga).

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.