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Bronze medalists Kayla Sanchez, Taylor Ruck, Emily Overholt and Penny Oleksiak of Canada during the medal ceremony.Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The Canadian women’s 4x200-metre freestyle-relay team captured a bronze medal on Thursday at the world aquatics championships.

Kayla Sanchez of Scarborough, Ont., Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C., Emily Overholt of West Vancouver and Penny Oleksiak of Toronto set a Canadian record with a time of 7 minutes 44.35 seconds.

Australia won gold and the United States took silver.

It was the fifth swimming medal for Canada at the worlds, the country’s most since playing host to the meet in Montreal in 2005. Sanchez, Ruck and Oleksiak were also part of a bronze medal-winning 4x100-metre freestyle-relay team.

Oleksiak became Canada’s most decorated female swimmer at the world championships with her fourth career medal.

“Our strategy was honestly just have fun, go in and see what we could do,” Oleksiak said. “We really didn’t have any expectations. We weren’t expecting to come first, we weren’t expecting to come last, we were just all having a fun time in the [preparation area], dancing, getting ready and being happy, and I guess that worked out for us.”

Oleksiak’s split of 1:54.36 was her best ever and moved Canada ahead of fourth-place China.

“It was really exciting, but I honestly wouldn’t be able to do it without these girls,” Oleksiak said. “I get to train with them day in, day out, so getting to have that push every day is a good thing.”

The Americans got ailing Katie Ledecky back, but they couldn’t overcome a world record performance by the Australians.

Ledecky returned after two days out of the pool with an illness. She rallied the United States to the lead on her second leg, but it wasn’t enough to defend the title from 2017.

Australia won in 7:41.50 ahead of the Americans in 7:41.87.

Ariarne Titmus, Madison Wilson, Brianna Throssell and Emma McKeon took down the old mark of 7:42.08 set by China at the 2009 worlds in Rome during the height of the rubber-suit era.

Ledecky hadn’t competed since preliminaries on Monday. The following day she withdrew from the 200-metre free heats and the 1,500-metre free final because of symptoms that included dehydration and vomiting.

“We don’t know exactly what caused this all,” she said. “I wouldn’t have pulled out if it wasn’t serious or if I wasn’t concerned and scared and worried about my health.”

Meanwhile, Markus Thormeyer of Tsawwassen, B.C., set a Canadian record with a time of 1:56.96 in the men’s 200-metre backstroke semi-finals to earn a spot in the final. He had the fifth-fastest time over all.

“I wasn’t even thinking about the record,” Thormeyer said. “I wasn’t even supposed to be here, so I just had nothing to lose and went for it. Going [for] a best time by half a second feels great.”

Sydney Pickrem of Halifax and Kelsey Wog of Winnipeg qualified for the women’s 200-metre breaststroke final by finishing third and seventh, respectively, in the semi-finals.

“I had never swam this event at a worlds before,” Pickrem said. “But I definitely set a goal for myself to reach the finals in all of my events and it’s exciting to see both Kelsey and I in the final.”

Ruck also moved on to the women’s 100-metre freestyle final by placing fourth in the semis.

Elsewhere, Caeleb Dressel and Olivia Smoliga won gold medals as the United States made the podium in all five of Thursday’s finals.

Dressel won the 100-metre freestyle for his third gold and fourth medal overall.

“It hurt really bad to be honest,” he said. “You don’t always get that magical feeling every night, but you’ve just got to shut the brain off and go.”

Dressel touched in 46.96 seconds, the only man to finish in fewer than 47 seconds in the final. He was only 0.05 seconds off the 10-year-old world record of 46.91 set by Brazil’s Cesar Cielo.

Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers of Australia settled for silver in 47.08. Vladislav Grinev of Russia took bronze in 47.82.

The men’s 200-metre individual-medley title went to Daiya Seto of Japan. He touched in 1:56.14.

Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland took silver. Chase Kalisz, the 2017 champion, earned bronze, ending the Americans’ streak of winning at eight consecutive worlds.

In the women’s 200-metre butterfly, Boglarka Kapas of Hungary won in 2:06.78. U.S. teammates Hali Flickinger and Katie Drabot took silver and bronze, respectively, after coming in as the two fastest qualifiers.

Smoliga won the women’s 50-metre backstroke, a non-Olympic event.

With reports from The Associated Press