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U.S. swimmer Jaeger sets American record in 1500 free, takes silver

Swimming - Olympics: Day 8

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 13: Gold medalist Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 1500m Freestyle Final on Day 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

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The world record in the men’s 1500 freestyle nearly fell Saturday night. But while Sun Yang’s mark of 14:31.02 from four years ago still stands, there was no doubt who the class of the field was.

Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri fell off the world record pace over the final 100 meters of the race, but that wasn’t enough for any other swimmer to catch him for gold. Paltrinieri finished the race with a time of 14:34.57, nearly five seconds better than the time posted by silver medalist Connor Jaeger. The American finished in 14:39.48, which established a new American record in winning his first Olympic medal.

WATCH: Italy’s Paltrinieri takes gold in dominant fashion

WATCH: Men’s 1500 medal ceremony

Italy also took bronze, with Gabriele Detti finishing in 14:40.86. American Jordan Wilimovsky finished fourth with a time of 14:45.03.

WATCH: Team USA inspires Connor Jaeger’s medal-winning swim