Tokyo 2020 Announces Swimming Lineup With New Events Included

The official website for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics has released an event schedule, including the much-anticipated swimming event order that includes three new races: the men’s 800 free, women’s 1500 free and a mixed 4×100 medley relay.

The bulk of the lineup appears to be the same as past Olympics, with the three new events (officially added to the Olympic program as of summer 2017) slotting into the already-established lineup. Here’s a look at the new events and their dates of competition. The Tokyo Olympics will run heats at night and finals in the morning to accomodate live TV schedules, so the traditional competition days are technically split up between two days – that is, day 1 prelims take place on Saturday, July 25, while day 1 finals will kick off the morning of Sunday, July 26 in local time.

  • Women’s 1500 Free: Heats Day 3, Finals Day 4
  • Men’s 800 Free: Heats Day 4, Finals Day 5
  • Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay: Heats Day 6, Finals Day 7

The only other changes to existing events were relatively minor – the men’s 50 free moved back one day:

  • Men’s 50 free: Heats/semifinals now day 7, finals day 8 (previously heats/semis day 6, finals day 7)
  • Day 7 finals: Men’s 100 fly & women’s 200 back finals order swapped (previously 200 back then 100 fly)

Here’s a look at the full schedule, including the events surrounding the three new ones in each session:

Day Session Actual Date Local Time Events Round
Day 1
Heats Sat. July 25 Evening M 400 IM heats
W 100 fly heats
M 400 free heats
W 400 IM heats
M 100 breast heats
W 4×100 free relay heats
Finals Sun. July 26 Morning M 400 IM final
W 100 fly semifinals
M 400 free final
W 400 IM final
M 100 breast semifinals
W 4×100 free relay final
Day 2
Heats Sun. July 26 Evening W 100 back heats
M 200 free heats
W 100 breast heats
M 100 back heats
W 400 free heats
M 4×100 free relay heats
Finals Mon. July 27 Morning W 100 fly final
M 200 free semifinals
W 100 breast semifinals
M 100 breast final
W 400 free final
M 100 back semifinals
W 100 back semifinals
M 4×100 free relay final
Day 3
Heats Mon. July 27 Evening W 200 free heats
M 200 fly heats
W 200 IM heats
W 1500 free heats
Finals Tue. July 28 Morning W 200 free semifinals
M 200 free final
W 100 back final
M 100 back final
W 100 breast final
M 200 fly semifinals
W 200 IM semifinals
Day 4
Heats Tue. July 28 Evening M 100 free heats
W 200 fly heats
M 200 breast heats
M 4×200 free relay heats
M 800 free heats
Finals Wed. July 29 Morning M 100 free semifinals
W 200 free final
M 200 fly final
W 200 fly semifinals
M 200 breast semifinals
W 200 IM final
W 1500 free final
M 4×200 free relay final
Day 5
Heats Wed. July 29 Evening W 100 free heats
M 200 back heats
W 200 breast heats
M 200 IM heats
W 4×200 free relay heats
Finals Thu. July 30 Morning M 800 free final
M 200 breast final
W 100 free semifinals
M 200 back semifinals
W 200 fly final
M 100 free final
W 200 breast semifinals
M 200 IM semifinals
W 4×200 free relay final
Day 6
Heats Thu. July 30 Evening W 800 free heats
M 100 fly heats
W 200 back heats
Mixed 4×100 medley relay heats
Finals Fri. July 31 Morning W 200 breast final
M 200 back final
W 200 back semifinals
M 200 IM final
W 100 free final
M 100 fly semifinals
Day 7
Heats Fri. July 31 Evening M 50 free heats
W 50 free heats
M 1500 free heats
W 4×100 medley relay heats
M 4×100 medley relay heats
Finals Sat. Aug. 1 Morning M 100 fly final
W 200 back final
W 800 free final
M 50 free semifinals
W 50 free semifinals
Mixed 4×100 medley relay final
Day 8
Heats Sat. Aug. 1 Evening no events
Finals Sun. Aug. 2 Morning M 50 free final
W 50 free final
M 1500 free final
W 4×100 medley relay final
M 4×100 medley relay final

A quick early analysis of any conflicts:

  • The toughest one to slot is probably the mixed medley relay. Its medal final comes right after the 50 free semifinals, which could be an issue for any versatile sprinters who could possibly make that relay: Caeleb Dressel, Kyle Chalmers, Cate Campbell, Simone Manuel and others.
  • Heats of that medley come right after heats of the men’s 100 fly and women’s 200 back. The backstroke is less of a concern, given the widely-adopted strategy of using a male backstroker whenever possible, though in prelims, some nations may choose to switch that up. The men’s 100 fly is a tough double, considering most nations will have their top two male flyers swimming that event in heats. It might make it smarter to use a female flyer in prelims, even if the plan is to go back to a male flyer in finals.
  • The medley slotting in on day 6/7 also makes it a bit more crowded for top sprint strokers, who would traditionally have the male or female medley relay at day 7 heats, but have no relay events at day 7 finals before swimming the medley finals on day 8. Now, a swimmer competing on both medleys (mixed-gender and single-gender) would swim a medley in heats of day 6, heats of day 7, finals of day 7 and finals of day 8. That’s not ideal, but certainly doable for most athletes, and there doesn’t seem to be a better spot to fit that relay, as there are now relay events on every single day of competition besides day 3.
  • The women’s 1500s do come in a double with the women’s 200 frees in both heats and finals. That’s definitely not ideal for rangy types like Katie LedeckyThe events are spread out to either end of the session, but swimming a 1500 free perhaps a few hours after an all-out 200 free will make for a tough combo, and probably won’t bode well for world record-type performances. Maybe the smart call for Ledecky is to do only what she has to in 200 free heats, and making her world record run in 1500 heats. Then by finals, she could attack the 200 free at full strength and plan to coast a 1500 victory as best she can at the end of the session.
  • The women’s 1500 could also cause a double for anyone who swims the 1500 and the 200 IM or the 200 fly. One potential name there is Mireia Belmonte, who was the 2017 World champ in the 200 fly and silver medalist in the 1500.
  • The men’s 800 has a similar conflict, coming right after heats of the men’s 4×200 free relay. That would make a tough double for rangy types like Zane Grothe, Sun Yang or Mack Horton, all of whom could swim the individual 800 as well as a leg of their nation’s 4×200 relay. Finals are a bit better though, with the 4×200 happening at day 4 finals and the 800 on day 5. The 800 then only conflicts with the 200 breast, 200 back, 100 free and 200 IM for men, which seem a lot less likely doubles.

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They should have put the mixed relay on the last day.

He Gets It Done Again

The other medley relays are that day…


A day full of relays would be better than spreading them out



Woke Stasi

Thoughts: — People swimming the 400 free and 400 IM will get some additional rest: prelims in the early evening, followed by sleep and then finals the next late morning. This is good — I’ve always felt that having to do two all-out 400s on the same day was a big challenge. —The 800 and 1500 swimmers will get 2 full nights of rest between heats and finals. This is more in keeping with the amount of rest provided in the track events (such as the 400, 800, and 1500 runs). — The men’s 50 final has migrated to the last day (it used to be the second to the last one). No longer the 50 free-100 fly double on… Read more »


Good for Dressel that’s the 50 free and 100 fly are on different days


I’m all for the new events, but… no 4×100 free mixed as well?

Also, Ledecky could potentially pull a Phelps with a gold in the 200, 400, 800, 1500, 4×100 medley, 4×200 free, 4×100 free, and either an upset win in the 100 free or being put on the 4×100 mixed medley relay. Would be exciting to see, as far as I’m aware I don’t think there have been many people who have HAD eight events to swim at a single Games, much less eight events where they were in contention.


No way she wins the 100 lol. Sorry, she is great and all but no way she goes 52 on a flat start 100.


Probably also needs a 51 to win the 1 free


Katie is a great swimmer but I don’t think she will be winning gold in the 100 Free or be first choice for the mixed medley relay.


Who knows there could be new names come up by 2020 and make a relay. Gretchen Walsh also has a realistic shot


Honestly don’t see Katie even getting a relay spot in any of the 4x100s, her sprint free is good but not Better than the US sprinters we already have

Bo Swims

1. She is not likely to be on any medley relays.
2. She likely won’t qualify in the individual 100 Free.
3. The US is not guarenteed a gold in the 4×100 or 4×200 Free Relays. Call me biased but our Canadian girls are younger and improving.


Concur. 1. Ledecky MAY be part of the US W4X100 but is unlikely to qualify for one of the individual spots which makes it highly unlikely she will be chosen to swim the anchor on the 4XMED. 2. At this point, US is unlikely to be favourites for 4X100 unless one of the Campbells is unable to compete. Even then it would be a close run thing (as Budapest with AUS minus C1 proved). 3. USA will probably be favourites for 4X200 but far from guaranteed. AUS look stronger in this event than they’ve been in a decade, CHN is always dangerous and CAN look very much on the improve and are likely to be USA’s primary threat post Tokyo.… Read more »


USA will eye WR in the w800m relay you guy may bet on


I think the only events Ledecky (at this point) has a >75% chance of winning are the 400, 800 & 1500…she’ll definitely be on the 800 free relay, which, even though they lost at pan pacs, could definitely be another gold. I see her winning a total of 4, maybe 5 (2 free) golds. It’s slightly discrediting to the scores of women all over the globe who go sub-54 to just bypass them all and say that Ledecky will triumph over them…she’s an outstanding 100 freestyler *for the fact that she’s a middle distance/distance swimmer* but she’s NOT actually one of the best 100 freestylers, nor is she in any real conversation about a 100 free medal in Tokyo


Calm down even is she has a perfect meet she’s winning 5 golds at max (200, 400, 800, 1500, 4×200 free)


In a perfect meet she could also take gold in the 4×100 free relay. Not sure she will be on the 400 free relay team and/or if they will take the gold, but it is hardly implausible.


Ledecky won’t be in the 400m free relay team


I have mixed feeling about this- think of greats like Dawn Fraser, they had 2-3 events to chose from, swimming today she would have had 6-7. It is event inflation!

Tea rex

I have to wonder if adding the mile (where it is) will even help Ledecky. Yes, it’s a near certain gold for her, but training up to 1500 may detract from going after 4x100s or even the 400 IM. And of course, doubling up the 200/1500 frees makes a 200 free gold less likely.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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