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Record swimming medal haul sets Team USA straight, but Australia claims Tokyo's first world record

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After a historic first-day tally of exactly zero medals on Day 1 of Olympic competition, Team USA got back on track Sunday thanks to a record day in the pool.

Led by Chase Kalisz's gold in the men’s 400-meter individual medley, Team USA hauled in six swimming medals, the most ever by Team USA on the first day of Olympic swimming finals. Not a bad way to kick off the post-Michael Phelps era in the pool

Jay Litherland joined Kalisz on the 400 IM podium, claiming silver, while Emma Weyant won silver in the women's 400 IM. Meanwhile, Kieran Smith (men's 400 freestyle), Hali Flickinger (women's 400 IM) and the women’s 4x100m free relay team all secured bronze.

USA moves atop medal count

Add in a bronze from American Jagger Eaton in the inaugural skateboarding street competition, and Team USA pushed its medal tally to an Olympics-best seven midway through Sunday's competition. It helped take the sting off the first zero-medal opening day of the Summer Games for Team USA in 49 years. 

400 IM silver medalist Jay Litherland and gold medalist Chase Kalisz got Team USA on the board. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)
400 IM silver medalist Jay Litherland and gold medalist Chase Kalisz got Team USA on the board. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

It's no surprise that Team USA's swimmers righted the ship on Sunday. They're expected to lead the U.S. medal tally in the coming days as they so often do. USA swimmers won 31 medals in Rio in 2016. But they won't do so without a push from Australia, which had its own record day in the pool.

Can Australia mount a challenge to USA swimming dominance?

While the USA set the medal pace on Sunday, Australia claimed the first swimming world record of the Tokyo Games. The Australian women broke their own world record in the 4x100 free relay with a time of 3:29.69. Bronte Campbell, Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon and Meg Harris ensured that the Aussies continued to dominate an event in which they've now claimed gold for a third straight Olympics. 

Meanwhile, Jack McLoughlin claimed silver in the men's 400 free, and Brendon Smith won bronze in the men's 400 IM to push the Day 1 tally for Australia to three. As it did in Rio with 10 medals, Australia looks to be the top challenger to U.S. swimming dominance at the Tokyo Games. 

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