In her first Olympic race, Weitzeil swam the second of four legs, with her 52.56-second split the fastest among the Americans and fifth fastest overall.
Simone Manuel swam the leadoff leg in 53.36 to give the U.S. a lead of .05 of a second ahead of Australia. Weitzeil’s swim increased the U.S. lead to .61 of a second.
Australia took the lead when Bronte Campbell swam the third leg in 52.15. Her older sister Cate swam the final leg in 51.97, to give Australia the victory in a world-record time of three minutes, 30.65 seconds.
The U.S. was second in 3:31.89, an American record, breaking the previous record of 3:32.31 set in the 2013 FINA World Championships. Dana Vollmer swam the third leg in 53.18 and Katie Ledecky the final leg in 52.79. Canada was third in 3:32.89.
“We all raced as hard as we could,” Vollmer said. “I’m really proud of everyone on this team to go faster than any American (relay) has.”
The 19-year-old Weitzeil is next scheduled to compete in Wednesday’s 100 freestyle.
Weitzeil graduated from Saugus High School in 2015 and deferred entering the University of California, Berkeley for a year to train for the Olympics. She earned a spot on the Olympic team by winning the 100 freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She won the 50 freestyle in the trials two days later.
— City News Service
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