2016 Rio Olympic Games: Day One Prelims Live Recap


The day has finally arrived, the 2016 Olympic Games will commence in the pool, beginning a week-long mix of triumph and heartbreak depicting the raw emotion of sport displayed exclusively at the Olympics.

Fierce and rigid competition will take the waters of the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio over the next week where ultimately medals will be decided, and the top swimming nation will be revealed.

It all starts here: the men’s 400m IM. This is the first Olympic Games since 2000 to feature neither Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte, ushering in a new age of mid-distance IM. The Japanese are strong in this race; both Daiya Seto and Kosuke Hagino could replace the Phelps-Lochte dynasty.

The women’s 100m butterfly features Olympic redemption for Swedish superstar Sarah Sjostrom. Four years ago, she failed in her attempt to claim Olympic glory. The disappointment has launched her to becoming one of the top overall swimmers in the world heading into these Games. As the world record holder in the 100m butterfly, this event screams redemption for Sjostrom. She’ll be up against defending Olympic champion Dana Vollmer, and Dutch rival Jeanette Ottsen. Today’s prelims could pave the way to a picture of who might be crowned Olympic champion.

Things have already been heating up between Australian Mack Horton and defending 400m freestyle Sun Yang in anticipation of the event. Yang interfered with Horton’s workout prior to the start of the games, making things more personal than ever before. Horton is the top seed, Yang is the defending Olympic champion.

Like Sjostrom, Hungarian Katinka Hosszu has never earned Olympic hardware despite being one of the best overall swimmers in our sport. Dominating almost every meet, Hosszu is eyeing the world record in her first event where she’ll be up against Americans Elizabeth Beisel and Maya DiRado.

Great Britain’s Adam Peaty‘s world record is miles ahead of what anybody else in the world has ever done in the men’s 100m breaststroke. Even he hasn’t been able to reel it in ever since setting it in April of 2015. Regardless of that fact, he’s the heavy favorite. 2012 Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh might disagree with that fact, with plans to go head-to-head with the new king of breaststroke.

The first relay of the Games will feature some tough competition that will set the tone heading into tonight’s final. Tonight, the Australians will likely be unbeatable in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay with the two Campbell sisters speeding things up. The Dutch look to be the second best team, but a battle for third between Canada, the USA, and other countries looks to be the story of the event.

MEN’S 400m IM

Start List: click here
2016 Top Seed: 4:08.50 – Daiya Seto – Japan
World Record: 4:03.84 (2008) – Michael Phelps – USA
JR World Record: 4:14.00 – Sean Grieshop – USA
Olympic Record: 4:03.84 (2008) – Michael Phelps – USA
2012 Olympic Champion: 4:05.18 – Ryan Lochte – USA

Heading into the finals of the men’s 400m IM it looks to be a matchup between the two Americans and two Japanese as they’ll both fight to get two swimmers on the podium.

Chase Kalisz is the top seed with a 4:08.12 that he swam in the final heat. Kalisz raced Japanese standout Daiya Seto and American counterpart Jay Litherland the whole way, ultimately coming up successful. Seto led the way for the majority of the race, moving way out in front of the two Americans at the halfway point. A strong breaststroke leg by Kalisz brought him within a second of Seto.

The two turned, and Kalisz chased him down on the freestyle. Seto touched second, just slightly behind in 4:08.47 to take the second seed overall. Litherland was third with the fourth overall seed heading into the final.

Kosuke Hagino of Japan took the third overall seed after sporting a 4:10.00 in the third heat. He was well ahead of the rest of the competitors in his head, taking things out faster than both Max Litchfield of Britain and Thomas Fraser-Holmes of Australia. Litchfield was second behind Hagino in 4:11.95 with Fraser-Holmes grabbing third, and sixth overall, in 4:12.51.

Both Travis Mahoney and Joan Luis Pons Roman made the final with the seventh and eighth seeds respectively.


  1. Chase KaliszUSA – 4:08.12
  2. Daiya Seto – Japan – 4:08.47
  3. Kosuke Hagino – Japan – 4:10.00
  4. Jay LitherlandUSA – 4:11.10
  5. Max Litchfield – Britain – 4:11.95
  6. Thomas Fraser-HolmesAustralia – 4:12.51
  7. Travis MahoneyAustralia – 4:13.27
  8. Joan Luis Pons Ramon – Spain – 4:13.55


Start List: click here
2016 Top Seed: 55.64 – Sarah Sjostrom – Sweden
World Record: 55.64 (2015)- Sarah Sjostrom – Sweden
JR World Record: 56.99 – Penny Oleksiak – Canada
Olympic Record: 55.98 (2012)- Dana VollmerUSA
2012 Olympic Champion: 55.98 – Dana VollmerUSA

In what looks like a possible rematch of the 2012 Olympic final, both world record holder Sarah Sjostrom and defending Olympic champion Dana Vollmer made statements this morning, pushing the pace heading into the semifinals.

Vollmer took it out hard in heat four, moving ahead of her competitors and taking the win in a time of 56.56. That time was even faster than what she swam at the US Olympic Trials in order to qualify the team, and sets her up second overall heading into tonight’s final.

Following Vollmer’s heat, her American teammate Kelsi Worrell touched first in 56.97. Slower than the 56.48 she swam at Trials, the time was good enough to win her heat and qualify her fourth overall.

In the final heat, world record holder Sjostrom took things out fast with Canadian Penny Oleksiak trying to trail right behind her. With 10-meters to go, Oleksiak put her head down and began to finish strong. She finished second to Sjostrom’s 56.26 with a new junior world record time of 56.73. Sjostorm qualified first overall for semis, Oleksiak third.

With four swimmers already under 57-seconds, this 100m butterfly final could be one of the fastest finals at these games.

TOP 16

  1. Sarah Sjostrom – Sweden – 56.26
  2. Dana VollmerUSA – 56.56
  3. Penny Oleksiak – Canada – 56.73
  4. Kelsi WorrellUSA – 56.97
  5. Lu Ying – China – 57.08
  6. Jeanette Ottesen – Denmark – 57.15
  7. Chen Xinyi – China – 57.17
  8. Rikako Ikee – Japan – 57.27
  9. Emma McKeonAustralia -57.33
  10. Liliana Szilagyi – Hungary – 57.70
  11. An Sehyeon – South Korea – 57.80
  12. Farida Osman – Egypt – 57.83
  13. Kimberly Buys – Belgium – 57.91
  14. Daynara De Paula – Brazil – 57.92
  15. Daiene Marcal – Brazil – 58.15
  16. Natsumi Hoshi – Japan – 58.15


Start List: click here
2016 Top Seed: 3:41.65 – Mack HortonAustralia
World Record: 3:40.07 (2009) – Paul Biedermann – Germany
JR World Record: 3:44.60 – Mack HortonAustralia
Olympic Record: 3:40.14 (2012) – Sun Yang – China
2012 Olympic Champion: 3:40.14 – Sun Yang – China

Defending Olympic champion Sun Yang proved that he is in fact beatable this morning after finishing fourth overall. Yang had a tough battle with Connor Jaeger, Park Tae-Hwan, and Ryan Cochrane in heat five, ultimately winning it in 3:44.23.

While he did win the heat, three swimmers from heat six bettered his time, establishing themselves as some of the top competitors heading into tonight’s final. Only one other swimmer from Yang’s heat, Connor Jaeger, qualified for the final.

The majority of the finalists came from the sixth heat where it was an absolute dog fight. Conor Dwyer, representing the stars n’ stripes, managed to get his hand on the wall first for the fastest time of the heats with a 3:43.42. Dwyer was fighting with Australia‘s Mack Horton throughout the race, who faded to second behind him in 3:43.84.

Italian Gabriele Detti was third in 3:43.95, just off the Italian national record.

Australia‘s David McKeon managed to make the final as did Great Britain’s James Guy. The two swimmers finished fourth and fifth in heat six to take the fifth and sixth seeds respectively.

With Connor Jaeger taking the seventh seed, France’s Jorda Pothain managed to take the last final spot. Both Park Tae-Hwan and Ryan Cochrane missed the final.


  1. Conor DwyerUSA -3:43.42
  2. Mack HortonAustralia – 3:43.84
  3. Gabriele Detti – Italy – 3:43.95
  4. Sun Yang– China – 3:44.23
  5. David McKeonAustralia – 3:44.68
  6. James Guy – Britain – 3:45.31
  7. Connor JaegerUSA – 3:45.37
  8. Jordan Pothain – France – 3:45.43


Start List: click here
2016 Top Seed: 4:29.89 – Katinka Hosszu – Hungary
World Record: 4:28.43 (2012) – Ye Shiwen – China
JR World Record: 4:39.01 – Rosie Rudin – Britain
Olympic Record: 4:28.43 (2012) – Ye Shiwen – China
2012 Olympic Champion: 4:28.43 – Ye Shiwen – China

Tonight’s final has Katinka Hosszu‘s name all over it after she put up the second fastest swim in recorded history in the 400m IM this morning in order to qualify first overall heading into finals.

Hosszu was over three seconds under world record pace at the 300-meter mark, but fell off pace during the last 10-meters in order to touch in at 4:28.58. That time was just fifteen one-hundredths shy of Ye Shiwen‘s world record of 4:28.43 from the London Games. The defending Olympic champion will not be in tonight’s final.

Racing Hosszu in the final heat was Mereia Belmonte Garcia of Spain who clocked in at 4:32.75 for second overall. She managed to touch ahead of Great Britain’s Hannah Miley who took the fourth overall seed in 4:34.08.

2012 Olympic silver medallist Elizabeth Beisel was fourth behind Miley in 4:35.38 to take the sixth overall seed ahead of Japan’s Sakiko Shimizu‘s 4:34.66.

While Hosszu’s heat makes up the bulk of tonight’s final, Maya DiRado won the prior heat in a swift 4:33.50 which ranks her third overall. DiRado made a strong case for herself for being a medal contender, taking down both Aimee Willmott and Emily Overholt in the process.

Willmott was fifth overall in 4:34.08 while Overholt, who was third at last year’s world championships in this event, just squeezed into the final with an eighth overall 4:36.54.


  1. Katinka Hosszu – Hungary – 4:28.58
  2. Mireia Belmonte Garcia – Spain – 4:32.75
  3. Maya DiRadoUSA – 4:33.50
  4. Hannah Miley – Britain – 4:33.74
  5. Aimee Willmott – Britain – 4:34.08
  6. Elizabeth BeiselUSA – 4:34.38
  7. Sakiko Shimizu – Japan – 4:34.66
  8. Emily Overholt – Canada – 4:36.54


Start List: click here
2016 Top Seed: 57.92 – Adam Peaty – Britain
World Record: 57.92 (2015) – Adam Peaty – Britain
JR World Record: 59.64 – Wing Lizhuo – China
Olympic Record: 58.46 (2012) – Cameron van der Burgh – South Africa
2012 Olympic Champion: 58.46 – Cameron van der Burgh – South Africa

Adam Peaty left everything in the pool this morning, establishing that he is in fact the breaststroke king and likely unbeatable in this event at these Olympic Games.

Using his trademark rapid stroke rate, Peaty chruned into the wall establishing a new world record time of 57.55. That takes just about four-tenths of a second off his previous record of 57.92 and makes him the undisputed favorite heading into finals.

Yasuhiro Koseki of Japan is leading what looks like a race for second after clocking in a 58.91 to finish just one one-hundredth shy of the Japanese national record held by none other than Kosuke Kitajima. Koseki managed to finish second overall, being the only swimmer besides Peaty under 59-seconds.

Home crowd favorite Felipe Franca managed a 59.01 to take third overall ahead of the two Americans. Both Kevin Cordes and Cody Miller will advance to tonight’s semifinals with times of 59.13 and 59.17 respectively.

It looks to be a battle to get on the podium between the Japanese, Brazilian, and two Americans.

TOP 16

  1. Adam Peaty – Britain – 57.55 WORLD RECORD
  2. Yasuhiro Koseki – Japan – 58.91
  3. Felipe Franca – Brazil – 59.01
  4. Kevin CordesUSA – 59.13
  5. Cody MillerUSA – 59.17
  6. Jake PackardAustralia – 59.26
  7. Cameron van der Burgh – South Africa – 59.35
  8. Joao Gomes – Brazil – 59.46
  9. Ross Murdoch – Great Britian -59.47
  10. Dmitriy Balandin – Kazakstan -59.47
  11. Li Xiang – China – 59.55
  12. Giedrius Titenis – Lithuania – 59.90
  13. Vsevolod Zanko – Russia -59.91
  14. Jorge Mario Murillo Valdes – Colombia – 59.93
  15. Christian Vom Lehn -Germany -1:00.13
  16. Glenn Snyders – New Zealand – 1:00.26/ Daniel Gyurta – Hungary – 1:00.26


Start List: click here
2016 Top Seed: 3:31.48 – Australia
World Record: 3:30.98 (2014) – Australia
JR World Record: 3:39.87 – Australia
Olympic Record: 3:33.15 (2012) – Australia
2012 Olympic Champion: 3:33.15 – Australia

The Australian women set a new Olympic record in the second heat of the 4x100m freestyle relays en route to taking the top seed overall. Their time of 3:32.29 puts them in contention for the world record considering they’ll have the full squad to compete on the relay tonight which includes the world record holder in the 100 free and two other swimmers who have been under 53-seconds this year.

The Americans were second in 3:33.59, also not using their entire squad. Katie Ledecky swam on the relay, anchoring it in a very fast 52.64.

Canada was third overall with a new national record of 3:33.84. They used Taylor Ruck as opposed to Penny Oleksiak on the anchor leg this morning. Ruck was a 53.04, the second fastest split by the Canadians following Chantal Van Landeghem’s 52.90 split.

With all major players competing tonight the Dutch should also be in the race for a medal tonight.


  1. Australia -3:32.29 OLYMPIC RECORD
  2. USA – 3:33.59
  3. Canada – 3:33.84
  4. Italy – 3:35.90
  5. Netherlands – 3:35.94
  6. Sweden – 3:36.42
  7. Japan – 3:36.74
  8. France – 3:36.85

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7 years ago
7 years ago

anyone has the link to video of 2nd heat of 4×100 prelims? I searched and came up with nothing…

7 years ago

I haven’t seen this reported anywhere, but I assumed that Vollmer “gave up” her spot to Ledecky. Does anyone have insight?

I don’t see how the coaching staff could justify putting Vollmer in the final when she finished 6th at Trials, and I don’t see how they could justify putting Ledecky in prelims over Vollmer for an “extra medal” (a la Ryan Lochte London 2012) – unless she lit it up at a training camp, in which case she would go straight to finals.

Reply to  gosharks
7 years ago

Because Voller went 53 mid untapered at a grand prix meet. it’s pretty simple actually.

7 years ago

I can’t wait!

7 years ago

Evening predicted Gold Medal Times:

M 400 IM: 4:05.66
M 400 Free: 3:41.40
W 400 IM: 4:26.72
W 400 Free Relay: 3:30.39

Nailed it.

Reply to  25METER_IM
7 years ago

W 100 Fly: 56.62 (conservative efforts given 400 free relay conflict)
M 100 Br: 57.60 (see above, Peaty saves up for an explosive sub-50 second 100 breast tomorrow, probably 49.94)

7 years ago

When I said ledecky and vollmer in the 4×100 final after trials and now everyone is agreeing with me…

Reply to  North
7 years ago

Define “everyone”.

Reply to  North
7 years ago

Do you think Weir won’t swim after she went 53.6? Faster than Vollmer at Trials and she has another race before, I think there’s no way they take Weir off for Vollmer

7 years ago

57.6 in semis (will be holding back a tad bit)
53.9 in finals

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch worked for 5-years with SwimSwam news as a web producer focusing on both Canadian and international content. He coached for Toronto Swim Club for four seasons as a senior coach focusing on the development of young swimmers. Mitch is an NCCP level 2 certified coach in Canada and an ASCA Level …

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