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Katie Ledecky anchors the U.S. to silver as China wins gold in thrilling freestyle relay

ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

The women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay Wednesday night delivered a finish as thrilling as any you’ll see at the Olympics.

All three medal teams broke the world record. China touched first, capturing gold with a time of 7:40.33. The American team of Allison Schmitt, Paige Madden, Katie McLaughlin and Katie Ledecky touched in second in a time of 7:40.73. Meanwhile, gold-medal favorites Australia looked up at the scoreboard in shock after finishing third.

Ariarne Titmus finished her leg in 1:54.51, more than a second off of the 1:53.50 she recorded in the individual race to win gold.

Ledecky, improving upon her individual 200-meter freestyle earlier on in the meet, came home in a thundering 1:53.76 to outpace the rest of the field and help the Americans surpass Australia for silver.

Although the silver medal brings the United States’ gold-medal run in the event to an end, all four swimmers appeared to be more than happy with their performance, cheering as their splits were announced over the loudspeaker in Tokyo.