Day 7 Finals Preview: Phelps Seeks 5th, Hosszu & Ledecky Eye 4th Golds


In what will be the final individual Olympic swim of his career, Michael Phelps will be seeking his 5th gold medal of these Games in Rio after going a perfect 4-for-4 through six days of competition.

All three of Phelps’ individual events presented their own unique challenges, and he just barely got by in the men’s 200 fly, while winning the 200 IM much easier than expected.

Tonight he faces another challenge in the 100 fly, and will have no margin for error.

Singapore’s Joseph Schooling put up the fastest time in the semi-finals of 50.83, a best time for him and one that poses a legitimate threat to Phelps. Phelps’ best time this year is the 51.00 he went at U.S. Trials, and he will need to be about half a second faster tonight in order to win.

He did just that at last year’s U.S. Nationals, winning in 50.45 following Chad Le Clos‘ World Championship win in 50.56. Le Clos will swim in lane 5 tonight, beside Schooling in lane 4, while Phelps will be out in lane 2 after qualifying 5th for the final (similar to where he qualified at U.S. Trials, finishing 6th in the semi and winning the final out of lane 7).

The other main threat will be Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, who won silver behind Le Clos last year in Kazan but was shockingly over three seconds off his season best in the 200 fly final, going from a medal favorite to a distant 7th. The other American, Tom Shields is beside Cseh tonight in lane 7.

Schooling qualified over half a second ahead of the rest of the field, and perhaps poses the greatest threat to Phelps. Phelps will seek his fourth consecutive 100 fly win tonight, looking to match the four consecutive 200 IM wins that he achieved last night.

In his three Olympic 100 fly wins, Phelps has won by a combined 28 one-hundredths of a second, including four one-hundredths in 2004 over Ian Crocker and who could forget the one one-hundredth win over Milorad Cavic in Beijing.

Along with the men’s 100 fly, we’ll see finals events in the women’s 200 back, 800 free and the men’s 50 free tonight.

Katinka Hosszu will swim for her 4th individual gold medal of these Games in the 200 back, looking to tie East Germany’s Kristin Otto who won four individual golds back in 1988.

American Maya Dirado will look to join the elusive club of four-time medalists here in Rio, swimming out of lane 3. #2 seed Hilary Caldwell of Canada is in position to win their women’s teams sixth medal of the Games, and Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry will look for her third career Olympic medal in this event after winning gold in 2004 and 2008.

The women’s 800 free will be the Katie Ledecky show, as she hunts down her own world record of 8:06.68 along with her fourth gold and fifth medal of these Games.

It won’t be any contest for gold, but it’s expected to be a close battle for silver and bronze. Along with Ledecky, five of the remaining seven swimmers were in last year’s World Championship final, where Great Britain’s Jazz Carlin won bronze. Carlin will swim out of lane 3, beside 2009 World Champion Lotte Friis in lane 2. #2 seed Boglarka Kapas will swim in lane 5 alongside American Leah Smith who won bronze in the 400, and 200 fly gold medalist Mireia Belmonte Garcia will swim out in lane 8.

Florent Manaudou comes in favored for a repeat gold medal in the men’s 50 free, looking to join Michael Phelps (200 IM) as the only individual repeat winner on either the men’s or women’s side.

American hopefuls Anthony Ervin and Nathan Adrian will swim in lanes 3 and 6 and both have very good shots at medals, while Ukraine’s Andriy Govorov will swim in lane 5 after looking terrific in both the prelims and the semis.

Brazil’s medal hopes rest in the hands of Bruno Fratus, who qualified 7th, but was a 21.37 back in December. Great Britain’s Ben Proud also has a shot at a medal after a British record 21.54 in the semi-finals.

This will be a fast one, as qualifiers 1-5 were all 21.54 or better, faster than what it took to win bronze at Worlds last summer (21.55).

We’ll also see two semi-finals in the women’s 50 free, as it will be only of two individual finals (men’s 1500) tomorrow along with the medley relays to close out the meet.

Great Britain’s Francesca Halsall swims out of lane 4 in the first semi after a recording a time of 24.26 in the prelims. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, Australia’s Bronte Campbell and Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen join her, all of whom were finalists in the 100 free last night.

Also in the first semi will be Canada’s Chantal van Landeghem in lane 6, 2000 Olympic silver medalist Therese Alshammar of Sweden in lane 7, and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of Bahamas in lane 1.

The eighth member of the heat will be Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros, who will look to keep the Brazilian hopes of a medal alive (or a female medal if Fratus gets one), though she’s out in lane 8.

Pre-race favorite Cate Campbell and 100 free gold medalist Simone Manuel will both swim in the second semi, but neither of them will have lane 4.

That goes to Denmark’s Pernille Blume, who set a national record this morning en route to the top seed in 24.23. Campbell will swim in 6 and Manuel in 7, while 2012 Olympic silver medalist Aliaksandra Herasimenia will have lane 5.

The Dutch duo of Inge Dekker and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (defending gold medalist) swim out of lanes 1 and 2, with U.S. Trials winner Abbey Weitzeil in lane 3. Germany’s Dorothea Brandt rounds out the filed in lane 8.


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4 years ago

Going to be an absolute battle in the 100fly tonight. Phelps said he wanted to see personal best times during these Olympics. He did that in the 100free on the relay but I’m hoping he can beat his own 100fly WR. A very tough order, but that would be the cherry on top. Schooling is definitely a threat.

4 years ago

I think he’s definitely gunning for the 50.4 mark.

4 years ago

Schooling for the win.
Will be brilliant for the sport because after phelps is gone, the average person won’t want to watch swimming without phelps lochte etc, schooling winning will make him a superstar to the wider world so the sport has the next generation of hero’s for people to aspire to.
Love or hate (mainly hate on swimswam Unfortunatly from many US fans) he has kept the sport interesting and keeps swimming in the news.

Reply to  Skoorbnagol
4 years ago

Love or hate Chad.

Reply to  Skoorbnagol
4 years ago

Most people on this American site are indeed American… So yes, statistically, Americans are most likely to post negative comments.

Reply to  Skoorbnagol
4 years ago

Get off the internet Cavic.

Reply to  SwimmerFoxJet
4 years ago

and Chad.

4 years ago

Kristin Otto was a doper.

Brute Bradford
Reply to  SwimmerFoxJet
4 years ago

It isn’t possible to down vote this comment, because it is a fact. Unless you like dopers.

Reply to  Brute Bradford
4 years ago

Many people downvote facts. I like to respond with a quote of John Adams

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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