Germany wins 1st mixed-gender swim relay

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Jenny Mensing, left, and Marco Koch, right, hug Britta Steffen, from Germany as they celebrate after the mixed 4X50-meter medley relay short course race at the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Not even the elite men's swimmers could catch Britta Steffen.

In the sport's first top-level event featuring both sexes, Steffen held off two fast-charging male swimmers to anchor Germany to victory in a 4x50-meter mixed relay at the World Cup meet Tuesday in Dubai.

Steffen, a world record-holder in the 50 freestyle, started the final leg with a lead of half a pool length. Hungary's Krisztian Takacs and Ukraine's Sergii Frolov took off after her and closed the gap, but Steffen made sure Germany won by a comfortable margin.

Germany finished in 1 minute, 43.21 seconds — 2.10 seconds faster than Hungary. Ukraine was a further 0.58 seconds back.

Swimming's governing body says mixed relays could be introduced at the short-course world championships in Istanbul in December.