BARCELONA – Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin led the United States to the gold medal in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay on the first day of the World Championships on Sunday at the Palau Saint Jordi. Franklin, California’s incoming freshman, led off the relay and Golden Bear alumna Coughlin swam the second leg for the U.S., which clocked an American-record time of 3:32.31 in the final. Also on Sunday night, Cal alumna Lauren Boyle captured a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle.
In the relay, the United States edged second-place Australia by 12 hundredths of a second, after the Aussies led the race much of the way. Cal sophomore Elizabeth Pelton – who swam on the U.S. relay in the morning heats – also earned a gold medal.
Boyle, who posted a time of 4:03.89 in the 400-free final, won New Zealand’s first medal in a World Championships since 1994.
Two more Cal alumnae made news on Sunday in Barcelona. Dana Vollmer – the world record-holder and 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter butterfly – qualified for Monday’s 100-fly final by swimming the fourth-fastest time (57.84) in the semifinals. Another 2012 Olympian, Caitlin Leverenz advanced to Monday’s 200-meter individual medley final with the seventh-best time (2:11.05) in the semifinals. Leverenz won bronze in the 200 IM in London and repeated as the 200-yard IM champ at the NCAA Championships in March.
Monday’s action on the women’s side includes preliminary races in the 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 1500 freestyle, semifinals in the 100 breaststroke and 100 back, as well as finals in the 100 fly and 200 IM.