Emma McKeon adds two more silvers to growing haul
SWIMMING: Australia's Emma McKeon has racked up four medals in as many days at the world championships in Budapest but she is still waiting for an elusive gold.
McKeon collected two more silver medals on Wednesday night, tying with Olympic champion Katie Ledecky for second in the 200m freestyle and then swimming the butterfly leg of the 4x100m mixed medley relay.
The championships only hit the halfway point on Wednesday night, but the multi-talented 23-year-old has already equalled her medal tally from last year's Rio Olympics, where she was Australia's most decorated athlete.
In Budapest she is on a silver streak, having finished second in the 100m butterfly, 200m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle and mixed medley relays.
She shares the title of most medals so far this week with Ledecky, who has three gold medals and one silver.
McKeon is likely to have swum seven events by the end of the week, with the 100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay still to come.
But her best chance of winning a world title was in Wednesday night's 200m freestyle.
She and Ledecky were in the centre lanes and fought stroke for stroke for most of the race but world record holder Federica Pellegrini came from the clouds in the last five metres to pass them both and claim the gold medal in 1min 54.73sec.
The 2008 Olympic champion, 28-year-old Pellegrini had not won a global title since 2011 but she has now won a medal in the 200m at the last seven world championships (from 2005).
McKeon and Ledecky hit the wall together in 1:55.18, slower than both had swum in the semi-finals 24 hours earlier.
"I was pretty happy with how I went even though I went quicker in the semi, because it takes a lot of guts to take it out like I did, especially in the final with the Olympic champion on one side of me and the world record-holder on the other," McKeon said.
"I am pretty proud of myself for doing that. I would have liked a faster time but you can't really ask for any more. I gave it my all and I am happy."
McKeon returned in the last event of the night to combine with Mitch Larkin (backstroke), rookie Daniel Cave (breaststroke) and Bronte Campbell (freestyle) in the new Olympic event, the mixed medley relay.
Most teams opted to lead with a male backstroker and finish with a female freestyler, so by the time Campbell dived into the water for the anchor leg in fourth place, the leading teams were on equal terms.
The reigning world 100m freestyle champion made up a body-length on the British and Chinese freestylers to secure the silver medal in 3:41.21, establishing the national record in the new event.
The winning US team set a new world record of 3:38.56.
Campbell has been struggling with a shoulder injury but will gain confidence from a second strong relay performance this week as she goes into Thursday's 100m freestyle heats.
"They said we have a pretty good chance to win a medal if we put in our best team so I was happy to do it," Campbell said.
"That was so much fun and a bit of a hit out before the heats tomorrow can't do me too much home. I love relays, they don't hurt as much as individual (races)."
In other events, Emily Seebohm and debutant Holly Barratt both progressed to Thursday's 50m backstroke final, clocking the identical time of 27.51sec (fifth fastest).
Olympic finalist Brianna Throssell (200m butterfly) and world junior champion Clyde Lewis (200m individual medley) bowed out in their respective semi-finals.
HOW THE AUSTRALIANS FARED ON DAY FOUR OF THE WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS:
* Women's 200m freestyle final: Emma McKeon (1 minute, 55.18 seconds) - silver.
* 4x100m mixed medley relay final: Mitch Larkin, Daniel Cave, Emma McKeon, Bronte Campbell (3:41.21, national record) - silver.
* Men's 100m freestyle semi-finals: Cameron McEvoy (47.95) - fourth fastest qualifier for final. Jack Cartwright (47.97) - Fifth fastest qualifier for final.
* Women's 50m backstroke semi-finals: Emily Seebohm (27.51) - equal-fifth fastest qualifier for final. Holly Barratt (27.51) - equal-fifth fastest qualifier for final.
* Men's 200m individual medley semi-finals: Clyde Lewis (1:59.80) - 15th, missed final.
* Women's 200m butterfly semi-finals: Brianna Throssell (2:10.58) - 16th, missed final.