Euros Gold Medalist Ari-Pekka Liukkonen Heads 5-Strong Finnish Olympic Roster

According to the official start lists for Tokyo 2020, Finland will be sending a total of 5 swimmers to the Games for swimming.

Finnish Olympic Swimming Roster – Tokyo 2020

Ari-Pekka Liukkonen has been racing for Finland internationally for over a decade and has swum at 2 Olympic Games so far. He placed 25th in the 50 free with a 22.57 in 2012 and then 23rd in 2016 with a 22.25. Liukkonen has been a consistent force for the country, having competed at every long course World Swimming Championships since 2011. His top finish in any event at Worlds came in 2013 when he finished 19th overall with a 22.38. More recently, however, Liukkonen touched in a 22.33 in 2019 for 21st overall.

Liukkonen picked up his first-ever major international gold medal at the 2020 European Swimming Championships when beat out Great Britain’s Ben Proud (21.69) with a 21.61. Liukkonen will be trying to use that momentum in Tokyo and should he bring that high-level racing capacity to the Games this summer will be in contention for an Olympic medal in the 50 free.

Another long-serving member of the Finnish national team who will race in Tokyo is Matti Mattsson. Mattsson is slated to race the 100 and 200 breaststrokes this summer at what will be his 3rd Olympic Games. Mattson began back in 2012 when he raced to 17th overall in the 200 breaststroke (2:11.81). 4 years later he was actually a bit slower and hit a 2:12.99 which was good enough for 16th overall. He also raced the 100 breast in Rio and swam a 1:02.45 for 38th.

Mattsson recently delivered a new Finnish record in the event at the 2020 European Swimming Championships when he posted a 2:08.26 during semi-finals. He went on the hit a 2:08.48 in the final for 4th place. Mattsson also swam the 100 breaststroke there and made it to the semi-finals where he notched a 59.99 which was also a new national record. Mattsson will race both the 100 and 200 breasts in Tokyo but is likely to be more competitive in the 200. He is among the large group of men who are hovering in the 2:08 range in the 200 breast heading into Tokyo and will need to put his best foot forward as he attempts to get closer to the 2:06 mark.

Ida Hulkko and Fanny Teijonsalo will both be competing at their first Olympics this summer and are entered to swim the women’s 100 breaststroke and 50/100 freestyles, respectively. She has raced a number of times for Finland over the past few seasons including at the 2019 World Championships where she placed 8th in the 50 breast with a 31.23 and 19th in the 100 breast in a 1:08.34. Hulkko recently swam to a new Finnish record at the 2021 European Swimming Championships when she hit her 1:06.73 entry time during the semi-finals.

Teijonsalo also raced at the 2020 European Championships for Finland and managed to pull off 2 semi-final finishes in the events she is entered to swim this summer. Teijonsalo notched a 24.81 national record for Finland in the 50 freestyle which was good enough for 10th overall and she swam a 55.11 in the 100 freestyle for 16th. Teijonsalo lowered the 50 free NR again at Mare Nostrum in May, bringing it down to a 24.77. She will go in with entry times of 24.77 in the 50 and a 54.72 in the 100 meaning that she’ll certainly need to shave off some time in Tokyo if she wants to make it into her first-ever Olympic final.

Joining Hulkko and Teijonsalo on the women’s roster for Finland will be Mimosa Jallow who made her Olympic debut back in 2016. At the Rio Games Jallow swam the women’s 100 backstroke and posted a 1:01.58 for 24th. She has since improved to a 1:00.31 in the event which she delivered during a swim-off at the 2020 European Swimming Championships. Jallow hit a 1:00.31 to beat Spain’s Africa Zamorano which allowed her to advance to the semi-finals and place 16th overall in a 1:00.82.

Finland hasn’t won an Olympic medal in swimming since 1996 when Jani Sievinen came away with a silver medal in the men’s 200 IM, having hit a 2:00.10 to Attila Czene’s 1:59.91 for Hungary. 4 years later Sievinen returned to the Games and placed 8th overall with a 2:02.49 which marks Finland’s most recent A final appearance at an Olympics for men. Hanna-Maria Seppälä meanwhile qualified for the final of the women’s 100 freestyle at the 2008 Games, hitting 53.97 for 4th place. Seppälä swam the event again in 2012 and hit a 54.93 for 18th overall.

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