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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Two men’s events that have been dominated by the United States in recent Olympic history saw their respective streaks snapped on Friday morning in Tokyo in what was the first finals session with no American gold medals.
The U.S. men have had an unprecedented run of success in the backstroke events, entering these Games having swept both the 100 and 200 back at the last six Olympic Games.
Ryan Murphy completed the sweep all on his own at the 2016 Games in Rio, joining Lenny Krayzelburg (2000) and Aaron Peirsol (2004) as U.S. men to win both events at the same Olympics during the streak that began in 1996.
The final of the 200 back on Friday yielded a very similar result, with Rylov winning gold in an Olympic Record time of 1:53.27, while Murphy saw himself relegated to silver, losing both of his Olympic titles to signal a definitive end to the recent run of American backstroke dominance.
The last time the U.S. lost a men’s backstroke event previously, 1992, they also didn’t win either race.
Around 25 minutes later came the men’s 200 individual medley final, where the Americans had won four straight golds—all from the legendary Michael Phelps—and had at least medalled in five straight Games dating back to 2000.
Michael Andrew came into the meet as the top seed, having produced a world-leading time of 1:55.26 at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but hasn’t been on the same form in Tokyo.
Andrew, a first-time Olympian, got progressively slower from the heats to the semis and ultimately to the final, clocking a time of 1:57.31 to finish off the podium in fifth.
The other American, 400 medley gold medalist Chase Kalisz, failed to make the final, leaving the U.S. off the 200 IM podium for the first time in 25 years.
Phelps has was critical of the way Andrew races the 200 IM at the U.S. Trials in Omaha, suggesting he goes out way too fast and doesn’t leave enough energy in the tank for the freestyle leg.
Whether it’s a fatigue issue, a technical issue, or a mix of the two, Andrew’s controversial pacing reared it’s ugly head in the final, as he turned first at the 150 before getting mowed down on the freestyle with a 30.69 split—by far the slowest in the field.
NORTH AMERICA QUICK HITS, DAY 6
- Lilly King broke 2:20 for the first time and Annie Lazor won her first Olympic medal in the women’s 200 breaststroke, as the Indiana University training partners went 2-3 to mark the first time the U.S. put two women on the podium in the event since 2000.
- Caeleb Dressel produced the third-fastest swim in history in the men’s 100 butterfly semi-finals, clocking 49.71 to down the Olympic Record of 50.39.
- 2016 Olympic champion Penny Oleksiak set her first best time since those Rio Games in the women’s 100 freestyle final, clocking 52.59 to improve upon her five-year-old Canadian Record of 52.70 to finish fourth overall.
- Americans Phoebe Bacon (2:07.10) and Rhyan White (2:07.28) advanced through to the women’s 200 back final, qualifying second and third out of the semis, while Canadians Kylie Masse (2:07.82) and Taylor Ruck (2:08.73) rank fourth and seventh.
- Canada’s Summer McIntosh lowered her girls’ 13-14 National Age Group Record in the women’s 800 freestyle prelims, clocking 8:25.04 to extinguish her previous mark of 8:29.48 set at the Olympic Trials in June.
RECORDS, DAY 6
- Olympic – Caeleb Dressel, men’s 100 butterfly (49.71)
- Canadian – Penny Oleksiak, women’s 100 freestyle (52.59)
NORTH AMERICAN MEDAL TABLE AFTER DAY 6