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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3 years ago

Why is Katie so fast at distance?

3 years ago

A LOT can change in the next 15 months. Let’s see how worlds go this year before next season starts. Btw what was the percentage of swimmers that won in 2015 also won in 2016 ?

Reply to  Tm71
3 years ago

11/32 (34%) of the gold medals in Rio were won by the teams, or swimmers, who won the same respective events in Kazan.

Paltrinieri (1500 free)
Peaty (100 breast)
USA (men’s 4×100 medley relay)
Ledecky (200/400/800 free)
Sjöström (100 fly)
Hosszu (200/400 im)
AUS (women’s 4×100 free relay)
USA (women’s 4×200 free relay)

Tea rex
3 years ago


Reply to  Tea rex
3 years ago

Sjöström liked this. 😉

3 years ago

I presume all finals are in the morning…I wonder if they could have slotted a couple at night- to improve the session, and maybe ease the pressure a bit..athletics has done this with a couple of events…look forward to the votes..

3 years ago

Actually it’s hard to find a better place for W1500. Not many women have such a versatility to reach both finals: at 200FR and 1500FR. Katie Ledecky is the only exception by far. Well, that is the other side of coin: if you got exceptional talent you will have as an extra exceptionally tough schedule.

3 years ago

Am I reading correctly that the 800 and 1500 prelims are at night and finals next am. That is a short turnaround

3 years ago

Please tell me I am not the only one to think that introducing mixed relays to the world is the STUPIDEST thing. All for more events that are RELATABLE and EXCITING to folks like summer leaguers, the future of the sport… yet they choose something that will confuse the outside world, as well as disinterest the inside one. Only thing exciting about a quirky mixed relay is an additional time to see names like Dressel and Peaty go after quick splits. #GIVEUS50’s

3 years ago

This is so stupid. No sport similar to swimming has a mixed relay. It only shows which team is the most developed in men’s and women’s swimming. It means nothing. Just bring in stroke 50s. Those are so much more fun to watch

Reply to  Bruh
3 years ago

I’d be surprised if it wasn’t the US pushing the most for its inclusion.

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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