They are still yet to strike gold but Australia’s silver streak has continued on day four of the world swimming championships at Budapest.
At the halfway mark of the eight-day titles, Australia took their medal tally to six – including five silver – after Emma McKeon fell just short at Duna Arena.
McKeon collected her third silver of the meet when she shared second place in the 200m freestyle final with Olympic champion Katie Ledecky.
Italy’s world record holder Federica Pellegrini powered to victory, ending Ledecky’s dream of six gold medals in Budapest.
McKeon then grabbed silver No.4 as part of Australia’s mixed medley relay team behind a world-record breaking United States.
Australia are ninth on the medal tally behind leaders the US (six gold, seven silver, three bronze).
The Dolphins finished second at the 2015 world titles with seven gold and 16 medals.
McKeon looked to have broken the golden drought when she threw down the gauntlet early in the 200m final.
The Rio bronze medallist led for the first 150m and looked to have kept American great Ledecky at bay before a fast finishing Pellegrini relegated both to minor medals.
“I was pretty happy with how I went even though I went quicker in the semi,” McKeon said.
“Because it takes a lot of guts to take it out like I did especially in a final against the Olympic champion on one side and world record holder on the other.
“I am pretty proud of myself for doing that – I gave it my all.”
McKeon clocked one minute, 55.18 seconds with Ledecky while 28-year-old Pellegrini (1:54.73) claimed her third 200m world crown since 2009.
“I have got the first 150m worked out, I just have to get that last 25m sorted,” McKeon laughed.
“But it’s the first year of an Olympic cycle so I know there is lots to improve on.”
McKeon will also contest the 100m freestyle and two more relays in Hungary.
She helped Australia set a new national record of 3:41.21 in the mixed medley relay final but they were still three seconds shy of the US.
The mixed medley relay was added to the world titles program two years ago and will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
It took the Budapest world record tally to seven.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Cameron McEvoy and rookie teammate Jack Cartwright emerged from a fast semi-final field to qualify in the top five for Thursday night’s 100m freestyle final.
McEvoy – the 2015 world titles silver medallist – clocked 47.95 seconds to be fourth fastest for Thursday’s final.
Remarkably, 18-year-old Cartwright (47.97 PB) was also among five swimmers to shatter the 48 second barrier to qualify fifth fastest.