Swimming recap

Brendon Smith surged to gold medal favourite of the 400m Individual Medley after his Australian record-breaking performance on Day 1 of Tokyo 2020. Photo: Australian Swim Team

Day 1 of the Swimming at Tokyo 2020 saw a number of heats with national records and personal bests fall, and set the stage for an exciting meet.

Day one of the swimming saw Australian records broken and swimmers qualifying for Final and Semi-Finals. For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

Men’s 400m Individual Medley – Heats

Australia will look forward to the first medal race for the Swimming at Tokyo 2020, after Brendon Smith’s outstanding performance in the 400m Individual Medley pushed him to being one of the favourites to take home gold.

Smith not only qualified for the Final but qualified with the best time across the four heats with 4:09.27 and achieved an Oceanic Record.

The Aussie kept himself in the top three of his heat across the four strokes, but a final surge in the last 50m of the freestyle had Smith touching the wall first. Italy’s Alberto Razzetti and USA’s Jay Litherland kept Smith under pressure in Heat 4, and but their equal second-place finish with a time of 4:09.91 also will see them appear in the Final.

Japan’s Seto Daiya was the favourite to take home gold in the 400m Individual Medley and had almost a two-second lead going into the freestyle section… but failed to qualify with a finishing time of 4:10.52.

Australian Olympic debutant Se-Bom Lee unfortunately missed out on a qualifying for the Final. Despite finishing his Heat in second place, his time of 4:15.76 was five seconds behind the final qualifier in Litchfield.  

Heat 1 saw the slowest times across the four heats, with Portugal, Ecuador, Israel, Liechtenstein, and Cuba all missing out on the Final.

The top eight finishes across the four heats qualified for the Final on Sunday morning, Day 2.

SwimmerQualifying time
Brendon Smith (AUS)4:09.27
Alberto Razzetti (ITA)4:09.91
Jay Litherland (USA)4:09.91
Lewis Clareburt (NZL)4:09.49
Chase Kalisz (USA)4:09.65
David Verraszto (HUN)4:09.8
Leon Marchand (FRA)4:10.09
Max Litchfield (GBR)4:10.20

Women’s 100m Butterfly – Heats

Emma McKeon broke the Australian record for the 100m Butterfly, finishing with a time of 55.82 in her heat, dead heating with China’s Zhang Yufei to qualify for the semi-finals with the fastest times.

Brianna Throssell also scraped through to the semi-finals with a time of 58.08.

Fresh off a broken elbow, world record holder Sarah Sjostrom finished with the fastest qualifying time across the three heats

Australia, Sweden, USA, Italy, and ROC will go into the semi-finals with the most chance of having their country qualify for the Final, each with two swimmers each.

The top 16 finishers across the heats qualified for the Semi-Finals on Sunday morning, Day 2.

SwimmerQualifying time
Zhang Yufei (CHN)55.82
Emma McKeon (AUS)55.82
Sarah Sjoestroem (SWE)56.18
Torri Huske (USA)56.29
Margaret Macneil (CAN)56.55
Louise Hansson (SWE)56.97
Anastasiya Shkuradai (BLR)56.99
Marie Wattel (FRA)57.08
Elena di Liddo (ITA)57.41
Claire Curzan (USA)57.49
Katerine Savard (CAN)57.51
Ilaria Bianchi (ITA)57.70
Anna Ntountounaki (GRE)57.75
Arina Surkova (ROC)58.02
Svetlana Chimrova (ROC)58.04
Brianna Throssell (AUS)58.08

Men’s 400m Freestyle – Heats

The Dolphins continued their excellent start in the pool with duo Elijah Winnington and Jack McLoughlin finishing first place in another dead heat in the 400m Freestyle, finishing with a time of 3:45.20. The performance was not convincing of a gold medal, with their heat the slowest among the five.

Germany’s HB Muhlleitner turned sixth at the half way mark of Heat 4, to go on to touch the wall first with a time of 3:43.67, not only qualifying for the Final with the fastest time, but setting a new personal best, previously 3:45.36.

Notable names to miss the Final include Germany’s Lukas Martens and Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys who all swam better times during the year.

The top eight finishers across the heats qualified for the Final on Sunday morning, Day 2.

SwimmerQualifying time
HB Muhlleitner (GER)3:43.67
Felix Auboeck (AUT)3:43.91
Gabriele Detti (ITA)3:44.67
Elijah Winnington (AUS)3:45.20
Jack McLoughlin (AUS)3:45.20
Kieran Smith (USA)3:45.25
Jake Mitchell (USA)3:45.38
Ahmed Hafnaoui (TUN)3:45.68

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Women’s 400m Individual Medley – Heats

USA’s Emma Weyant swam to victory with nearly two seconds ahead of second-placed Aimee Willmott in Heat 3 of the Women’s 400m Individual Medley.

The 19-year-old lowered her previous best time by .26 of a second, and for Willmott, her time of 4:35.28 marks her fastest since 2018.

Defending champion, Katinka Hosszu has not lost this race at the Olympics or World Championships since 2012 at London, but struggled in Heat 3. She just made it into the Final, but will need to work on her final 150m to keep up with Weyant (USA) and Willmott (GBR).

Australia had no competitors in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley at Tokyo 2020.

The top eight finishers across the four heats qualified for the Final on Sunday morning, Day 2.

SwimmerQualifying time
Emma Weyant (USA)4:33.55
Aimee Willmott (GBR)4:35.28
Yui Ohashi (JPN)4:35.71
Mireia Belmonte (ESP)4:35.88
Viktoria Mihalyvari-Farkas (HUN)4:35.99
Katinka Hosszu (HUN)4:36.01
Ilaria Cusinato (ITA)4:37.37
Sara Franceschi (ITA)4:39.93

Men’s 100m Breaststroke – Heats

Both Australia competitors in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke failed to qualify with a time fast enough to progress to the semi-finals.

Matthew Wilson and Zac Stubblety-Cook both finished with a time over 1:00, placing them 22nd and 24th respectively across the seven heats. The two will compete on Tuesday in the 200m Breaststroke where they both hold better chances at placing.

Great Britain’s Adam Peaty swam his way to the fastest heat time for the evening recording 57.56 in the final heat and remains the hot favourite of taking home the gold medal despite the semi-final still to race.

Peaty’s closest rival, Dutchman Arno Kamminga finished just behind his opponent in Heat 6 and will be right on his tail in the semi.

Kamminga’s time was a new Dutch record, and too improved on his time made earlier in the year of 57.90.

His swim replaces Peaty’s position at 16th of quickest time ever in the event, however, Peaty now moves into 15th place after his heat time.

Dmitriy Balandin and Emre Sakci are also among the unlikely names to miss out on the Semi-Final.

The top 16 finishes across the heats qualified for the Semi-Finals on Sunday morning, Day 2.

SwimmerQualifying time
Adam Peaty (GBR)57.56
Arno Kamminga (NED)57.80
Michael Andrew (USA)58.62
Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA)58.68
Zibei Yan (CHN)58.75
James Wilby (GBR)58.99
Andrew Wilson (USA)59.03
Felipe Lima (BRA)59.17
Federico Poggio (ITA)59.33
Ilya Shymanovich (BLR)59.33
Ryuya Mura (JPN)59.40
Lucas Joachim Matzerath (GER)59.40
Andrius Sidlauskas (LTU)59.46
Fabian Schwingenschlogl (GER)59.49
Anton Chupkov (ROC)59.55
Kirill Prigoda (ROC)59.68

Women’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay – Heats

Clear favourites of the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay, the Australian women won Heat 2 of the event, and qualified with the fastest time of 3:31.73, four seconds faster than the second-placed Dutch team.

There were little the Dolphins’ opponents could do as the girls held a lead across the entire swim, proving why other teams are wary of the women’s relay side, who in the Heat were less than a second outside the world record pace.

The Heat team included Mollie O’Callaghan, Meg Harris, Madison Wilson and Bronte Campbell; however, Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon are still to come in the side and will swim to break the world record.

The top eight finishes across the two heats qualified for the Final on Sunday morning, Day 2.

TeamQualifying time
Great Britain3:34.03
United States of America3:34.80
People’s Republic of China3:35.07

The Swimming continues on Day 2 at 11:30am, and in the evening at 8:00pm.

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