A sprint to remember
Known as the luxury event of the swimming meet, the 100m freestyle final in the men’s section certainly lived up to its lofty expectations.
With a field of swimmers so strong that reigning gold medallist Kyle Chalmers was relegated to lane seven, all of the big guns got out to fast starts. Characteristically, US speedster Caeleb Dressel leapt out early, using his athletic dive and underwater work to get away from the pack. He led at the turn, yet Chalmers soon emerged as a massive threat when he touched in at third at the halfway mark.
What ensured was pure drama. Chalmers split away with Dressel; the two superstars tipped to fight it out for the gold in their own two-horse race. The Aussie appeared to have timed his trademark fast finish to perfection, swimming faster and drawing level with Dressel. But the American belied all expectations of his swimming style, barely taking a breath in the final 25 metres as he touched the finish line just 0.06 seconds behind the world record. Chalmers finished just another 0.06 behind Dressel in a wild finish, while ROC’s Kliment Kolesnikov did brilliantly to snag the bronze medal.
In the glamour attraction of the pool, the excruciating finish certainly lived up to everything.
Obliterating the record, creating history
The Aussie girls looked to be an imposing collective heading into the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay final. Having cruised through their semi-final with a second-string line-up, big guns such as Ariarne Titmus, fresh off winning the gold medal in the individual event, joined the group.
Going in as favourites, a massive shock was in order. Raring to go, China’s quartet stunned the swimming world, eclipsing the world record to rake in gold, while America finished right on their tail in the silver medal spot. Tipped to top the podium, Australia steadied to snatch bronze in an amazing relay final.
Super Stubblety-Cook comes from the clouds
Swimming finals, particularly at the Olympic level, are known for throwing up some incredible races. The 200m breaststroke final for the men was no different, as many competitors surged out very quickly.
With as little as 50 metres to go there were multiple swimmers well over the world record line, tracking for a record-breaking time. Yet Australia’s Izaac Stubblety-Cook loomed at the final turn, emerging near the world record line to slip into a top-three place.
What he did on the final stretch was simply superb. As much as a body behind his competitors, he upped his stroke rate and blitzed his way home. In the space of 30 metres, Stubblety-Cook went from third to first, finishing strongly ahead of the Netherlands’ Arno Kamminga and Finland’s Matti Mattsson to secure an incredible gold medal race that gave him the new Olympic record.
Close but no cigar for the Americans
A strong field of US talent strolled out for the women’s 200m butterfly final. Butterfly has always been a stroke dominated by the Americans, and the likes of Regan Smith and Hali Flickinger looked ready to continue the streak.
But China’s Yufei Zhang had other ideas. She held off her US competitors throughout the tight race, pulling home on the final stretch to touch ahead of Smith and Flickinger to claim gold. In yet another moment of coming so close without clinching an expected gold, the US was forced to surround Zhang on the podium, blown away by an incredible swim.
I Finke he’s done it
If the Americans were slightly disappointed by Zhang’s magical swim in the 200m butterfly final, Robert Finke from the USA did plenty to alleviate his nation’s fears.
Finke gave the Americans hope that it would be a golden day in the pool, winning the first final of the day in the men’s 800m freestyle finale. Finke was comfortably the best swimmer out there but had to maintain a blistering pace throughout to claim gold in a tantalising finish ahead of Italy’s Gregorio Platrinieri and Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk.
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Now it’s time for the women’s sprint
If the men’s 100m freestyle final was amazing, then it’s all set to happen again tomorrow when the women get their chance at showing off their pace.
The field has many big guns, and Australia’s Emma McKeon shone in the semi-finals, snatching the pole position ahead of Hong Kong’s Siobhan Bernadette Haughey and fellow Aussie Cate Campbell.
The two Aussie’s should be eyeing for medals, while Sweden’s Sarah Sjoestroem also looms as a massive threat for topping the podium.
|Siobhan Bernadette Haughey
Back to backstroking
In another strong chance for the Americans to show their worth in the pool, two members of the USA swim team got their way through the men’s 200m backstroke semi-finals to the final tomorrow.
But with them is a tight field of competition looking to produce another memorable final.
|Nicolas Garcia Saiz
Testing the breaststrokers
Another medal match for tomorrow will be the women’s 200m breaststroke final, as the 16 semi-finalists vied for eight spots in the pool. The list of finalists proves it should be a close contest.
Bring on the best of the dextrous
The individual medley is always the most impressive of the swimming events, allowing swimmers to showcase their aptitude in all four of the strokes.
After the semi-finals today, the final is set to wow many as they take to the pool in a mad dash for gold.
The superb long-distance champion that is Katie Ledecky looks to be plotting revenge against Ariarne Titmus, having swum home for a dominant 800m freestyle heat with a time of 8:15.67. Followed by fellow American in Katie Grimes, the final heat eclipsed all others with some blistering times.
Titmus and Aussie Kiah Melverton finished second and third in their heats behind ROC’s Anastasiia Kirpichnikova, but were still well ahead of the first two heats to ensure they booked good spots in the semi-finals.
In the eight heats of the 100m men’s butterfly, 200m champion Kristof Milak staked his claims for another gold with an easy win in his heat. But Caeleb Dressel set the best time, swimming his heat in 50.39 to match an Olympic Record.
Regular suspects in Kaylee McKeown and Emily Seebohm qualified strongly for the semi-finals of the women’s 200m backstroke in their respective heats, while the likes of America’s Rhyan Elizabeth White and Phoebe Bacon surprised the field with some stunning times.
To finish off the loaded day and night schedule, the mixed 4x100m medley relay heats got underway, with Great Britain snatching an Olympic record to secure favouritism for gold. They sat nearly three seconds ahead of the US, while Australia snagged second in their heat, only 0.06 seconds behind China.
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