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)
- Full aquatics schedule
- SwimSwam Event Previews
- Entry Lists
- Live Results
With the top 6 finishers all dipping under the 4:10 mark in today’s men’s 400m IM heats, reigning world champion Daiya Seto found himself out of the final in 9th place. Putting up a strong race through the beginning of the freestyle leg, the man let himself get passed by several swimmers to shockingly wind up sitting on the sidelines for the final.
Owning the fastest time in the world among the Olympians with a season-best of 4:09.02, 27-year-old Seto mustered a time of 4:10.52 here in Tokyo.
Seto conveyed post-race that he miscalculated the field in his pursuit of conserving energy in this earlier round in order to ‘swim firmly’ in the final.
“I thought I’d finish in 8th place but I misread the time needed to advance,” he said. “At the end, I misread the freestyle pace. It’s a shame because I’m in good shape.
“I’m sorry for the disappointing result. Frankly, I made a mistake.”
From a historical perspective, Seto’s not wrong in terms of what it has taken to make the men’s 400m IM final at major international competitions in recent years.
At the 2016 Olympic Games, it took 4:13.55 to make it into the top 8. The following year at the 2017 FINA World Aquatic Championships it took just 4:15.69 and the 2019 FINA World Championships saw a time of 4:15.24 as the minimum to move on.
Flash forward to Tokyo and a mark of 4:10.20, earned by Max Litchfield of Great Britain, ranked 8th among the talented field of heats swimmers. That is more than 3 seconds faster than Rio and 5 seconds faster than the most recent World Championships.
In fact, a 4:10.20 performance would have placed 4th at the 2016 Olympic Games, with the time beating Litchfield’s own 4:11.62 that captured 4th there in Rio.
For Seto, the dynamic swimmer will still have the opportunity to get on the podium in the 200m IM as well as the 200m fly and could potentially make an appearance on the men’s 4x200m free relay. He says he won’t make the same mistake again.