Both sides were locked on 131 points after 30 events over two days at Glasgow's Tollcross Swimming Centre, which will also be the venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Having challenged Australia between 2003-07 and then also defeated Europe twice, the Americans had never lost the competition, which is billed as the Ryder Cup of swimming, and just managed to retain that record this weekend.
Led by local hero Michael Jamieson - who triumphed in the 200m breaststroke - the European side had carved out a decent 68-54 lead on Friday night.
Such a positive showing set up a tantalising final day of the competition, which proved to be a far more closely-fought affair than the previous two Duels between these two teams.
In fact, the last UK meeting, in Manchester in 2009, resulted in something of a beating at the hands of a formidable American side, who claimed a 185-78 victory.
All the available points from Saturday's opening event went to Europe as they picked up where they left off the night before.
Mireia Belmonte had already won both the 400m individual medley and the 400m freestyle and the Spaniard also came out on top in the 800m freestyle, with Dane Lotte Friis second and Wales' Jazz Carlin in third.
Michael McBroom then set a new USA record with a time of 7.33.99 in his short course men's event.
Michelle Coleman took top spot in the women's 200m freestyle but there was another American success for the men, with Conor Dwyer securing the win, although Scottish swimmer Robbie Renwick did finish third.
The US fightback continued, with Olivia Smoliga and Eugene Godsoe both winning their respective 100m backstroke events, albeit Europe still held onto an 84-92 lead after the opening six events.
That advantage was then cut to a single point thanks to Jessica Hardy's success in the 100m breaststroke.
Jamieson was unable to repeat his Friday night success in the men's event, finishing fourth as Kevin Cordes' time of 56.88 set another USA record and the teams found themselves locked on 97 points apiece.
Belmonte was proving to be one of the outstanding talents of this event and another win - this time in the 200m butterfly - allowed Europe to edge ahead again, before America's Tom Shields kept the competition on a knife-point.
A European win thanks to Britain's Fran Halsall followed in the 50m freestyle, but America helped themselves to maximum points in the men's event led by Jimmy Feigen.
Wins for Sophie Allen and Dwyer in their 200m individual medley races again saw Europe and USA level on 124 points heading into the final two 4x100m freestyle relay events.
A new world record in the women's race set by Europe with a time of 3.27.70 prompted a standing ovation in the arena, before USA won the men's relay as the sides finished level on points.
What followed was a tense climax to the two-day event, with USA taking the crown in dramatic circumstances in a mixed relay tie-breaker.