Stanford junior Katie Ledecky nearly completed an unlikely comeback in the 800-meter free relay Friday at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo.
Stanford alum Simone Manuel placed second to Australia's Cate Campbell in the 100 free and Cardinal sophomore Katie Drabot placed third in the 200 fly in other action.
In the relay, the Americans were in fourth place, nearly five seconds behind leader Australia after two legs and roughly three seconds behind Canada and Japan.
When Kathryn McLaughlin touched the wall, the U.S. had pulled even with Canada and Japan and was within 2.88 seconds of the Aussies.
Ledecky's anchor leg of 1:53.84, which would have won Thursday's 200 free, put plenty of distance on Japan and Canada and pushed Australia to the brink. She made up 2.63 seconds, finishing a quarter of a second behind Madeline Groves, who did just enough to clinch the gold medal.
Ledecky earned her third medal of the Pan Pacs and her first silver to go with the gold medal she won in the 800 free and the bronze in the 200 free.
Manuel, who swam the top time during prelims while swimming a strong final 50 meters, could not produce the same result in the final. She was third after the first 50 meters and surpassed Canada's Taylor Ruck but could not catch Campbell, who extended her lead over the final 50.
Campbell won in a meet record 52.03 while Manuel finished with a time of 52.66. Ruck swam 52.72.
"I definitely was disappointed in losing but I think I’m more disappointed in my time," Manuel said. "It was slower than I swam at Nationals. I did the best that I could, and that’s all I can ask for."
Manuel finished third in the event during the 2014 Pan Pacs.
Drabot swam the same time in both the final and prelims (2:08.40) but Japan's Sachi Mochida upped her game, trading places with Drabot throughout the meet before taking over in the final 50 meters.
Winner Hali Flickinger swam a steady race and maintained a thin lead throughout to finish in 2:07.35. Mochida swam 2:07.66.
"We all know how awesome it is to represent Team USA and all of us are just so happy to be here," Flickinger said. "We were a family right away and that’s something that’s so special."
Ledecky and Drabot are both entered in Saturday's 400 free, while Stanford senior Ella Eastin and Cardinal Brooke Forde competes in the 200 individual medley.
On the men's side, Stanford junior Grant Shoults swims in the 400 free and Abrahm DeVine competes in the 200 individual medley.
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