Tokyo Olympics: Kieran Smith-led U.S. finishes fourth in 4x200 freestyle relay

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University of Florida swimmer Kieran Smith at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

TOKYO — Florida junior Kieran Smith and the U.S. men's 4x200 freestyle relay team finished fourth Wednesday at the Olympics.

Britain won the event (Tom Dean, 24.55; James Guy, 2:09.56; Matthew Richards, 3:54.00; Duncan Scott, 5:38.77) in 6:58.58, followed by the Russian Olympic Committee and Australia.

The United States, with Smith leading off in 24.37, was fourth in 7:02.43. Drew Kibler (2:09.03), Zach Apple (3:54.05) and Townley Haas (5:41.38) finished it for the Americans.

For the first time in its proud swimming history, the U.S. failed to win a relay medal when entering an event.

More:Caeleb Dressel wins gold for United States men's 4x100 free relay at Tokyo Olympics

Gator Olympians:Current and former UF athletes headed to Tokyo Olympics

Smith, a first-time Olympian from Ridgefield, Conn., captured a bronze in the 400 free earlier this week. 

Britain topped the men's 4x200 freestyle relay heats in 7 minutes, 3.25 seconds. Australia was second at 7:05.00, and Italy third at 7:05.05. The American team of Drew Kibler, Andrew Seliskar, Patrick Callan and Blake Pieroni advanced in fifth at 7:05.62.

The final result outraged Michael Phelps, who was part of so many winning relay teams during his career and is now at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre as a television commentator.

Phelps criticized the American coaches for not including Caeleb Dressel on the relay, even though it's not clear if he had any desire to add another event to his already busy schedule.

“It’s shocking," Phelps said in an interview on NBC. "You know, in my opinion, he’s probably the best 200 freestyler in the world. He can probably put up one of the best times that we’ve seen. Leaving him off that relay, to me, I think makes it a lot harder to win the gold medal.”

Dressel swam a single 200 free race at the U.S. Olympic trials, then withdrew from the event. His Tokyo program includes three individual events — including the semifinals of the 100 free Wednesday — and three other relays.

While known primarily as a sprinter, Dressel has turned in plenty of fast times over 200 meters.

Without him, the American not only didn't win gold, they were shut out altogether.

The only other times that happened were at 1912 Stockholm Games, when the Americans didn't enter a team in the women's 4x100 free relay, and the 1980 Moscow Games, when they didn't show up at all because the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Otherwise, the U.S. had been 94 of 94 in the relays — not all of them wins, of course, but medals at least.

Make it 94 of 95.

Meanwhile,  Dressel, like Smith, a standout while at UF, opened his individual Olympic program as the second-fastest qualifier in the 100-meter freestyle to earn a spot in the finals Wednesday at 10:37p.m. ET.

Thomas Ceccon of Italy led the way in 47.71 seconds on Tuesday night at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Dressel clocked 47.73 while swimming in the same heat.

“I feel like I cleaned up a lot that I didn’t do on the relay, so I’m really happy with it,” Dressel said.

Bobby Finke was the top Gator in the 800 Free as he went a blistering 7:42.72 setting an American record and to finish third overall to qualify for the finals Wednesday at 9:30p.m ET. Alfonso Mestre finished second in heat three and 15th overall with a personal best of 7:52.07.