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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A slew of records fell by the wayside in the Olympic debut of the men’s 800 freestyle on Tuesday night in Tokyo, with Ukrainian Mykhailo Romanchuk emerging with the first-ever Olympic Record.
Romanchuk, 24, paced the fourth of five heats in a time of 7:41.28, lowering the mark established by Sweden’s Victor Johansson in the opening heat (7:49.14) to ultimately earn him the inaugural Olympic Record in the event and the top seed for the final.
The event yielded an unprecedented amount of National Records as well, including the top five finishers all lowering their respective marks.
This is no doubt due in part to the men’s 800 free recently becoming an Olympic event, meaning that as a whole, swimmers are giving the event more focus than ever before.
Romanchuk’s time of 7:41.28 also broke his Ukrainian Record of 7:42.49, set in 2019, and moves him up from 12th into a tie for eighth among the event’s all-time performers.
Germany’s Florian Wellbrock was second to Romanchuk in the heat in a time of 7:41.77, lowering his German Record of 7:43.03 from two years ago, while American Bobby Finke was third in 7:42.72 to extinguish the eight-year-old U.S. Record of 7:43.60 held by Michael McBroom.
Felix Auboeck then broke his Austrian Record of 7:46.72 in the final heat, clocking 7:45.73, and fifth-fastest qualifier Guilherme Costa of Brazil took down both the South American and Brazilian Records in 7:46.09. Costa had held both records previously in 7:47.37.
Johansson, who ended up tying for 10th overall with Tunisia’s 400 free gold medalist Ahmed Hafnaoui, also broke his Swedish Record of 7:49.77 from 2018 with that 7:49.14.
We also saw additional National Records from Ireland’s Daniel Wiffen and New Zealand’s Zac Reid. Wiffen clocked 7:51.65 to erase his previous Irish mark of 7:52.90, set in April, while Reid’s 7:53.06 lowered his old Kiwi standard of 7:53.50 from last December.
FULL LIST OF 800 FREE RECORDS:
- Olympic: Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR), 7:41.28
- Ukrainian: Mykhailo Romanchuk, 7:41.28
- German: Florian Wellbrock, 7:41.77
- American: Bobby Finke, 7:42.72
- Austrian: Felix Auboeck, 7:45.73
- South American: Guilherme Costa (BRA), 7:46.09
- Brazilian: Guilherme Costa, 7:46.09
- Swedish: Victor Johansson, 7:49.14
- Irish: Daniel Wiffen, 7:51.65
- New Zealand: Zac Reid, 7:53.06
On the flip side of things we saw several of the medal favorites struggle through the heats, with 2019 world champion Gregorio Paltrinieri sneaking into the final in eighth place, more than eight seconds off his best time in 7:47.73.
Paltrinieri, Detti and Christiansen came in as the three fastest swimmers in this event since 2015.