The men’s 100m butterfly race at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan was one of the most highly anticipated events of the program.
The reigning world champion Caeleb Dressel of the United States lowered his own world record down to a mighty 49.45 en route to gold while Hungarian ace Kristof Milak busted out a lifetime best and national record of 49.68 for silver. Rounding out the top 3 was Swiss swimmer Noe Ponti who somewhat surprisingly made it onto the podium in a huge PB of 50.74.
Finishing just .14 out of the medals was Russia’s Andrei Minakov, with the 19-year-old Stanford commit posted 50.88 for 4th place. That outing was just .05 off of his own personal best and Rissian record of 50.83, a time he punched for the silver medal behind Dressel at the 2019 FINA World Championships.
Reflecting on his performance in Tokyo, the future Cardinal told media, “I started too poorly, so the Swiss swimmer [Ponti] managed to keep it super close and then overtake me on the back half.”
Splits for Minakov’s 50.88 included 23.65/27.23 while Ponti’s 50.74 included 23.67/27.07.
Minakov continued, “I was mentally prepared for any outcome. I could have been both third or eighth. Of course, I would like to return with a medal from this Olympics. But everything goes on as usual, this is fate – you lose today, perhaps life is preparing a major victory tomorrow.
“This is my best result since 2019, I did everything I could, and because of this feeling it doesn’t hurt as bad to take fourth place.”
Russian national team Sergei Chepik also commented on Minakov’s 4th place performance shortly after the race.
“The time Andrei showed was fast, but in the semifinals I had doubts.” Minakov put up the 5th fastest time out of the semi-finals with a mark of 51.11 (23.73/27.38).
“In the second half of the distance he“ sagged ”a little, said that he left a reserve for the final. But the same thing happened there.
“The fourth result is a shame, but it was his first Olympics.”
Minakov is set to start competing for Stanford for the 2021/22 season.