2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES
- When: Pool swimming: Saturday, July 24 – Sunday, August 1, 2021
- Open Water swimming: Wednesday, August 4 – Thursday, August 5, 2021
- Where: Olympic Aquatics Centre / Tokyo, Japan
- Heats: 7 PM / Semifinals & Finals: 10:30 AM (Local time)
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In an absolute whirlwind of a race, the Chinese women delivered a new world record in the women’s 4×200 freestyle to take gold at the Tokyo 2020 Games. China took gold in a 7:40.33 and was joined on the podium by the Americans in a 7:40.73 and the Australians with a 7:41.29.
|Australia – Tokyo 2020||Australia – Gwangju 2019|
|1||Yang Junxuan (1:54.37)||Ariarne Titmus (1:54.27)|
|2||Tang Muhan (1:55.00)||Madi Wilson (1:56.73)|
|3||Zhang Yufei (1:55.66)||Brianna Throssell (1:55.60)|
|4||Li Bingjie (1:55.30)||Emma McKeon (1:54.90)|
Australia’s former world record in the event stood at a 7:41.50 which they posted at the 2019 World Championships to take out the 10-year-old mark set by the Chinese in 2009 of 7:42.08. Now that China has taken back the world record and has re-claimed the top spot in the event. Not only did the Chinese team crack the former Australian mark but both the silver medal-winning Americans and bronze medal-winning Australians got under the time as well.
The top 3 times from Tokyo 2020 now make up the top 3 times in history while Canada’s 7:43.77 for 4th place is the all-time 11th best swim.
|1||China||2020 Tokyo Olympic Games||7:40.33|
|2||USA||2020 Tokyo Olympic Games||7:40.73|
|3||Australia||2020 Tokyo Olympic Games||7:41.29|
|4||Australia||2019 World Championships||7:41.50|
|5||USA||2019 World Championships||7:41.87|
|6||China||2009 World Championships||7:42.08|
|7||USA||2009 World Championships||7:42.56|
|8||USA||2012 Olympic Games||7:42.92|
|9||USA||2016 Olympic Games||7:43.03|
|10||USA||2017 World Championships||7:43.39|
|11||Canada||2020 Tokyo Olympic Games||7:43.77|
|12||Australia||2018 Pan Pacific Championships||7:44.12|
Considering that all 3 of the podium finishers were under the previous world record, a number of national and continental records were broken as well. China’s swim was an Asian record and Chinese record, improving upon their 7:42.08 from 2009. The United States lowered the Americas record, the North American record, and the American record of 7:41.87 from 2019, and the Australian’s broke the Commonwealth, Oceanian, and Australian record of 7:41.29.
The Chinese team got an early lead in the heat as Yang Junxuan opened with a 56.02 for China which was just ahead of Ariarne Titmus‘ 56.18 for Australia. Titmus was actually 3rd place at that point, however, as Canada’s Summer McIntosh notched a 56.10 to start. At that point, the USA sat in 4th with a 56.70 from Allison Schmitt.
By the end of the first 200 meters, McIntosh had held off Schmitt to get the Canadas into 3rd place while China’s Junxuan retained her lead with a 1:54.37 200. Titmus followed with a 1:54.51 for the 2nd position.
China and Australia passed the lead back and forth over the 2nd and 3rd legs from Tang Muhan and Zhang Yufei and Emma McKeon and Madi Wilson, respectively. That was until US anchor Katie Ledecky dove into the pool and started gunning it home. Ledecky managed to chase down Aussie anchor Leah Neale, out-splitting Neale’s 1:55.85 with a blistering 1:53.76. Ledecky nearly managed to chase down China’s Li Bingjie for the gold medal but fell just 0.40 seconds short.
One of the most impressive performances in the 4×200 freestyle field came from Zhang Yufei who split a solid 1:55.66 to contribute to China’s gold medal win. What makes Yufei’s relay leg so impressive is that she did so in the same session that she won gold in Olympic-record fashion in the women’s 200 butterfly. Yufei threw down a 2:03.86 to deliver the fastest time in the event in 12 years since Liu Zige’s 2:01.81 world record in 2009.