Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Abbey Weitzeil of Saugus helped the U.S. to a second-place finish and an American record in the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay at the 2019 FINA World Championships Sunday in Gwangju, South Korea.
The U.S. was in third when Weitzeil began her swim on the relay’s second leg. Her 52.66-second split put the Americans in the lead.
The U.S. fell back to third after Kelsi Dahlia’s 53.46-second split on the third leg. Simone Manuel passed Canadian Margaret MacNeil in the final 50 meters to put the U.S. in second.
The U.S. time of three minutes, 31.02 seconds beat the previous American record of 3:31.72 set at the 2017 FINA World Championships.
Australia won in a meet-record time of 3:30.21, breaking the previous record of 3:31.48 it set at the 2015 FINA World Championships.
Canada was third in 3:31.78.
Weitzeil’s split was the second-fastest among the Americans and seventh-fastest overall.
Mallory Comerford swam the first leg for the U.S. in 52.98. Manuel was timed at 51.92 for her relay leg.
The 22-year-old Weitzeil is next scheduled to compete in Saturday’s 50 freestyle.
The medal was the third at the FINA World Championships for Weitzeil. She won a gold medal in the mixed 400 freestyle relay and a bronze in the 400 freestyle relay in 2015.
The world championships are conducted every two years by FINA, aquatics international governing body.
Weitzeil won a gold medal in the 400 medley relay and a silver medal in the 400 freestyle relay at the 2016 Olympics.
Weitzeil graduated from Saugus High School in 2015. She won the 2019 NCAA championship in the 50 freestyle while competing for the University of California.
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