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Mixed-Gender Relays Make Their Olympic Debut

  • August 02, 2021

A couple of hours later, there was chaos in the pool as swimming staged the final of the 4×100-meter mixed medley. The race requires two men and two women to swim 100-meter legs of the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle — in that order. But each country can decide who swims which stroke, no matter the gender, making the race a mathematical and tactical calculation.

“I love the strategy,” said Duncan Scott, who has won three medals for Britain at the Tokyo Games.

On Saturday, the race’s unique configuration meant that Lydia Jacoby, the gold medalist in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke, wound up swimming the second leg for the U.S. against Adam Peaty of Britain, the men’s world-record holder. Caeleb Dressel, the men’s 100-meter freestyle champion, later anchored the Americans by trying to swim down three women but was too far behind and was slowed by rough water that churned in front of him. The U.S. finished fifth, three seconds behind Britain, whose relay team set a world record.

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