Kalisz Takes 400 IM Gold, But About Those Final Times

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

The first swimming medal of these 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was earned by American Chase Kalisz in the men’s 400m IM. The silver medalist from Rio clocked a time of 4:09.42 to lead teammate Jay Litherland and Aussie Brendon Smith who finished in the silver and bronze medal positions, respectively.

Yes, Kalisz won by nearly a second. However, the entire field was on the sluggish side, at least compared to historic data.

As we detailed in our post regarding Japan’s Daiya Seto missing out on the final, the prelims, which took place in the evening here in Tokyo were quick. 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.

Here, it was a time of 4:10.20 that captured slot #8 for the final.

However, finals were a different story, with every one of the 8 men clocking slower times than in the prelims.

The 2012 Olympic Games saw the top 4 finishers all under 4:10, while 4 years later in Rio the top 3 men were sub-4:10. Compare that to today’s final and Kalisz, the winner, was the sole man under 4:10. The 400m IM final was the slowest it has been in an Olympic Games or World Championships since 2001.

1st place, gold medalist(s) 3 Chase Kalisz  United States 4:09.42
2nd place, silver medalist(s) 7 Jay Litherland  United States 4:10.28
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 4 Brendon Smith  Australia 4:10.38
4 6 Dávid Verrasztó  Hungary 4:10.59
4 8 Max Litchfield  Great Britain 4:10.59
6 1 Léon Marchand  France 4:11.16
7 5 Lewis Clareburt  New Zealand 4:11.22
8 2 Alberto Razzetti  Italy 4:11.32

Seto’s time from the prelims, a 4:10.52 would have placed 4th in the final, for perspective. In 2016, Kosuke Hagino was 4:06.05, Kalisz was 4:06.75 and Seto was 4:09.71.

Is the lack of fans in the audience a factor? Or does the timing of having finals in the morning coming into play? Debate in the comments.

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Verram
1 month ago

Morning finals … blame NBC, it was their idea

JVW
Reply to  Verram
1 month ago

I didn’t hear the IOC complaining when they cashed NBC’s hefty check.

Swifter
Reply to  JVW
1 month ago

And what do you think?

That the IOC cares more about the swimmer’s interests and competitiveness, or more about money?

Who’s looking out for the swimmers interests?

crispr ai
Reply to  Verram
1 month ago

didnt affect the men’s 400 free. congrats to usa on preserving their 400IM legacy. must have been purely coincidence that everyone else in the final went slower

Last edited 1 month ago by crispr ai
whever
Reply to  crispr ai
1 month ago

3:43 400 free is not very fast compared to the winning times of the previous Games. A little better than the 400 IM tho.

JVW
Reply to  whever
1 month ago

Here’s how last night’s winning time (3:43.36) would have placed at previous Olympics:
2000 – second to Thorpe’s 3:40.59
2004 – tied with Grant Hackett for second behind Thorpe’s 3:43.10
2008 – fifth, winner was Park Tae-Hwan 3:41.86
2012 – third, winner was Sun Yang at 3:40.14
2016 – third, winner was Mack Horton’s 3:41.55

Not Tapered 🏊
Reply to  Verram
1 month ago

We’ve had morning finals before. It’s just a slow event this year.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Not Tapered 🏊
1 month ago

In Beijing everyone wore super suits, of course times were FAST.

Ben
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

Doesn’t explain the final being slower than the prelims. In Beijing, the majority of world records set were either in the finals or semi-finals. The bigger factors here are likely smaller crowds, pool closures for the last couple of years, and reduced international racing.

TeamDressel
Reply to  Verram
1 month ago

Agree

Robert Goldbloom
Reply to  Verram
1 month ago

400 I.M., is incredibly grueling. it’s easier to go 4:08 once than swim 4:10 twice. These guys had to put it all out there to make the top 8. If they only needed to go 4:14 in prelims, you would have seen faster swims in the finals.

David Johnston
Reply to  Robert Goldbloom
1 month ago

It’s pretty much nothing more than that. It’s not who’s the fastest, it’s who survives the all out prelims and can do it a second time. Trust me on this I’ve learned this lesson this year

Last edited 1 month ago by David Johnston
100Free
Reply to  Verram
1 month ago

Morning finals also in Beijing 2008. But it was pretty fast.

Jeki
Reply to  100Free
1 month ago

You mean the supersuits were fast, right?

Dudeman
Reply to  Jeki
1 month ago

I thought it was the swimmers that were wearing the suits that were fast but you’re probably right that it was just the suits

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Jeki
1 month ago

Well he means Phelps, Lochte and Cesh were fast.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  100Free
1 month ago

In Beijing everyone wore super suits, of course times were FAST.

Parker
Reply to  Verram
1 month ago

morning finals have NEVER been the call or order by the various companies around the world whose winning bid for telecasts right ONLY- it has been determined by a mutual agreement between the olympic host organizing committee with approval by the IOC. NBC ONLY won rights to TELECAST- not ever to determine WHEN the events in the actual olympic host country are held in that country and in their own local time…i mean really, think about the logic you’re proposing or alleging: following your logic, NBC who won the rights to broadcast in Atlanta had NO say over when, timewise the sporting events actually took place local time with the thought in mind that they needed to accommodate other the… Read more »

Ethan
Reply to  Verram
1 month ago

Yeah I dont agree with people saying it was the speed suits in 08, carson foster who lost at trials put down a faster time than all of them at a different meet

50free
1 month ago

I feel like they could get away with no fans or morning finals not both.

Riccardo
1 month ago

Hopefully the people racing multiple events / sessions will adjust to the morning finals as the meet goes on.

Coach
1 month ago

No buts about it… the guy is forever an Olympic gold medalist.

Walter
1 month ago

People in other events swimming best times this morning…

Right Dude Here
Reply to  Walter
1 month ago

They did this in Beijing as well. As we all know, that meet was such an outlier of fast.

Yup
Reply to  Right Dude Here
1 month ago

well, techsuits are a different debate.

like ‘six 4×100 men’s free relays all breaking the world record’

yea, okay…….

Troyy
Reply to  Right Dude Here
1 month ago

Super suit era.

nuotofan
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Half super-suit era. But full champions era (Phelps, Cseh, Lochte)

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Right Dude Here
1 month ago

In Beijing everyone wore super suits, of course times were FAST.

nuotofan
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

1) I don’t think Speedo Lzr is a super-suit, surely was way less efficient than the 2009 100% poly suits 2) For the three main contenders in the 400 IM (Phelps, Lochte and Cseh) I am pretty sure that the suit wasn’t so relevant: they were three fantastic swimmers and they wore only the legskins in that 400 IM final, showing that they didn’t care too much of the suit. 3) Today textile suits imo are comparable at those Speedo legskins; it’s bizarre that almost everyone doesn’t consider any more the suits progress 4) 13 years in Swimming (since that 2008) are, for the progression of times based on progression of knowledge, a very long period.

Last edited 1 month ago by nuotofan
MTK
1 month ago

Some of the guys were bound to swim slower than prelims – always happens in a gruelling event like this.

For the top guys, I honestly think that the morning finals potentially added up to 2 seconds. Kalisz would’ve been 4:07 in an evening final, I’m sure of it.

The times truly aren’t important though – we’re in month 17 since the pandemic started, a lot of athletes had training interrupted over this time, and combine that with morning finals and no fans, and conditions are definitely sub-optimal. It doesn’t minimize the accomplishment of winning though – it means that you made it through the adversity and are the “last man standing” so to speak.

Last edited 1 month ago by MTK
flygirl21
1 month ago

Who cares? He won against the best in 2021. Celebrate it.

Ragnar
1 month ago

Foster and Seto hypotheticals aside, are the ISL and the NCAA recruiting methods that lean heavily toward 100 freestyler/relay types the reason for the stagnation of the men’s 400/1500 freestyle and 200/400 IM?

Phelps/Thorpe/Hackett/Sun never swam college, and were funded through their countries for being outstanding at young ages, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for young swimmers to focus on longer events that intend to swim NCAA or ISL internationally

Swimmyfan
Reply to  Ragnar
1 month ago

Phelps definitely swam in college buddy

Admin
Reply to  Swimmyfan
1 month ago

He definitely did not.

jeff
Reply to  Swimmyfan
1 month ago

well yeah he swam when he was in college but he didn’t swim for his college team is the point

Billy
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

He probably took a class or three when he was training in Ann Arbor, if you want to call that “in college”.

Lubanskit
Reply to  Swimmyfan
1 month ago

In hindsight this comment is funny. Bad intentions aside. Phelps definitely swam in college lol.

Admin
Reply to  Lubanskit
1 month ago

No he definitely did not.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

comment image

Lbswim
Reply to  Lubanskit
1 month ago

I guess he swam in grade school too

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Lubanskit
1 month ago

Phelps definitely did NOT swim in College.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Swimmyfan
1 month ago

LOL he did NOT

Akos
Reply to  Swimmyfan
1 month ago

He swam in Ann Arbor while Bowman was the head coach there. He never competed for the University of Michigan and never planned to. He just wanted to stay with Bowman.

frug
Reply to  Ragnar
1 month ago

I’ve wondered that myself but then you wonder why the same isn’t true for women.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

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