10/02/2012 03:11 EDT | Updated 12/02/2012 05:12 EST

Germany wins 1st mixed-gender swim relay; Britten Steffen holds off men from Hungary, Ukraine

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - 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.