Missy Franklin became the first woman to win six gold medals at a single FINA World Championships when she led the United States off to victory in the 4x100m medley relay. The tally carried the 18-year-old American past Tracy Caulkins (USA) and Libby Trickett (AUS), who both won five golds at a single Worlds, Caulkins in 1978 and Trickett in 2007. It was Franklin's ninth world gold in total (three from 2011 and six from 2013), a women's record, surpassing the eight acquired by Trickett and Kornelia Ender (GDR). Franklin, who also claimed four gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, led the USA off on the backstroke leg inside world record pace and Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer and Megan Romano saw them safely home after the US men's medley quartet had been disqualified in the previous race after touching first.
The advantage in the battle for silver and bronze in the women's race changed hands throughout but there was never any doubt about the destination of gold. The United States won in 3:53.23, their fifth victory in the event, which took them past the four of the former GDR (East Germany). Australia, Olympic silver medallists behind the Americans in 2012, ultimately claimed the world silver, Cate Campbell coming through on the freestyle to bring them home in 3:55.22. Russia took bronze in 3:56.47, Yulia Efimova claiming her fourth medal of the championships to go with her 50m and 200m breaststroke golds and 100m breaststroke silver. Franklin's gold medals in Barcelona came in the 4x100m freestyle relay, 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay, 200m backstroke and 4x100m medley relay. Among the men, Michael Phelps won seven golds at the 2007 Worlds and Ian Thorpe (AUS) six in 2001.
World Record: United States, 3:52.05 – August 4, 2012 in London (GBR)
Championships Record: China, 3:52.19 – August 1, 2009 in Rome (ITA)
2003-2011 winners in this event: 2003 – China (3:59.89); 2005 – Australia (3:57.47); 2007 – Australia (3:55.74); 2009 – China (3:52.19); 2011 – United States (3:52.36)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): United States (1978, 1991, 1998, 2011 & 2013)
2012 Olympic podium: 1. United States (3:52.05), 2. Australia (3:54.02), 3. Japan (3:55.73)