Cal swimmers help US to medals in both medley relays

photo of swimmers on the starting blocks
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Cal swimmers wrapped up a week of swimming at the Olympics with medals in both the men’s and women’s medley relays, adding to their previous four medals in Tokyo. Both the men’s and women’s swimming programs have now passed 50 Olympic medals.

In the final event of the meet, former Bear Ryan Murphy led off with the backstroke leg of the 4×100 medley relay, which set a world record and won gold, extending the American men’s streak of 4×100 medley wins in every single Olympics (except for the one boycotted games). Murphy split a 52.31, helping set the new world record of 3:26.78. Former Cal swimmer Tom Shields also earned a gold medal for this relay after swimming the butterfly leg in the prelims of the event. Murphy’s and Shields’ medals brought Cal men’s swimming’s total of Olympic medals up to 50.

“I think we knew, given the kind of the composite splits that we have put together just this week, that we could put together a special performance,” Murphy said. “That is all the hype we needed. We were really, really excited to go into that one — really excited to show what we could do and really proud of the result.”

This is Murphy’s third medal of the Tokyo Olympics, adding to his bronze in the 100 back and silver in the 200 back. He also led off the Olympics’ first-ever mixed medley relay for the United States, which ended up placing fifth.

Cal alumna Abbey Weitzeil anchored Team USA to silver in the 4×100 medley relay, with a 52.49 freestyle split. This is her second medal; Weitzeil won bronze in the 4×100 freestyle relay on the first day of the meet. She also made the final in the 50 and 100 free, placing eighth in both.

“What a ride. What a Team. What an experience,” Weitzel wrote in an Instagram post following the conclusion of the meet. “There’s nothing like being on this team; there are no words. Thank you to everyone who has supported me through it all.”

Earlier in the meet, former Bear Katie McLaughlin swam the third leg of the 4×200 free relay and helped the team win silver, the 50th medal in Cal women’s swimming history. For McLaughlin, the race was “like a dream.”

“Before we walked out, I had said to Katie (Ledecky), this is like a dream — walking out on a finals relay for the U.S.,” McLaughlin said in a post-race interview. “I’m biased that the 800 free is the best one. I can’t even explain.”

Contact Rachel Alper at [email protected].