By Griffin O’Hara
SOFIA, Bulgaria — Despite top-three preliminary finishes and then shaving seconds off these times in the finals, U.S. swimmers fell short of the podium in multiple races Wednesday at Spartak Swimming Arena.
Veteran swimmer Peggy Liang came the closest, missing bronze in the 200m freestyle by just 0.3 seconds.
Liang finished first in the preliminary and cut more than two seconds off her time but still finished fourth in 2:10.68. Teammate Samantha Elam took fifth in 2:13.88, and China’s Yue Yue He won in 2:07.63.
Matthew Klotz, with a gold medal under his belt, was looking for more after finishing second in the 400m freestyle preliminary. However, even though he cut that time by 5 ½ seconds — and his previous personal best by more than eight seconds — he came in fourth in the finals with a time of 4:11.63.
He also started badly in the 50m backstroke and finished fifth in 28.43 seconds, behind Japanese backstroke rivals Yoshikazu Kanaji, who won in 27.68, and Ryutaro Ibara, who took silver.
The women’s 4×100 medley relay team — Samantha Elam, Peggy Liam, Alixandria Gavin, and Jazmin Hernandez — swam 5 ½ seconds faster in the final but finished 7th with a time of 4:50.32. Belarus won in 4:28.21.
Thursday, the U.S. Team has swimmers in all preliminary races: women’s 50m freestyle, 100m backstroke, and 100m fly; and men’s 100m breaststroke, 400m medley, and 4×200 freestyle relay.
Elam also qualified for Thursday’s 800m freestyle finals, coming in third in Wednesday’s preliminary with a time of 9:51.95.
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