The men’s 100m backstroke Olympic gold medal-winning streak dated back to the 1996 Games in Atlanta. It was kept alive Monday night, when Olympic rookie Ryan Murphy won gold in 51.97 seconds, a new Olympic record.
Fellow U.S. Olympic rookie, David Plummer, earned the bronze with 52.40 seconds.
Sandwiched between them was China’s Xu Jiayu, who raced to 52.31 seconds.
2015 World Champion Mitch Larkin of Australia, who clocked 52.40 seconds, placed fourth.
2012 Olympic champion Matt Grevers, who helped build the streak, did not qualify for Rio in any event at the U.S. Trials in June.
2000 Olympic backstroke champion Lenny Krayzelburg predicted earlier in the day that the United States men would finish first and second – he was very nearly right.