Ryan Murphy broke into an early lead in backstroke but teammate Michael Andrew couldn’t hold off the challenge against Great Britain’s Adam Peaty and dropped a few seconds behind.
Caeleb Dressel, who did the third lap, made a sensational comeback to gain the lead over Great Britain with teammate Zach Apple sealing victory for the USA and touched Gold at a record-breaking time of 3:26.78s.
“It’s hard to mess that up when you have two world-record holders (referring to Dressel and Murphy) and the fastest American breaststroker ever in front of you. I had an easy job there to feel wonderful,” Apple said.
“What an honour to represent the USA, especially in relays and to come home with Gold and a world record is the icing on top,” he said.
He was equally ecstatic about their win and credited the Tokyo organising committee for hosting the Olympic Games. “It is a gigantic undertaking to host an Olympics, especially under a pandemic situation,” the 26-year-old said.
“It was a terrible period, everything we heard was ‘oh, it’s going to be really tough to have these Olympics happen’. We got through the swimming, we finished the meet and we were able to do every single event. Full credit goes to the Japanese Organising Committee,” he said.