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)
- Full aquatics schedule
- SwimSwam Event Previews
- Start Lists & Results
Women’s 100 Breaststroke
- World Record: Lilly King (USA) – 1:04.13 (2017)
- Olympic Record: Lilly King (USA) – 1:04.93 (2016)
- World Junior Record: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) – 1:05.21 (2014)
- 2016 Olympic Champion: Lilly King (USA) – 1:04.93
In Rio, Efimova won the first 100 breast semifinal and wagged her finger to show the number “one.” This was amid her own doping controversy (she had had two doping infractions during her career and was cleared to compete in Rio the day of the 100 breast prelims race.)
King won the second semifinal two and wagged her finger in response. She explained the move to an NBC reporter: “You wave your finger number one and you’ve been caught drug cheating…I’m not a fan,” King said.
King won gold in the event about .60 ahead of silver medalist Efimova. Team USA’s Katie Meili, who has since retired, won bronze. Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte, the World Record holder before King broke her record in 2017, has also retired.
Efimova and King are set to showdown in this event yet again in Tokyo. Their most recent duel was at the 2017 World Championships where King blasted the World Record time of 1:04.13 to win gold. Efimova swam a 1:04.36 in the semifinals, but finished 3rd in the final after Meili with a 1:05.05.
King’s World Record and Efimova’s 1:04.36 are still the fastest 100 breast times since the 2016 Rio Olympics:
Top Times During 2016-2021 Olympic Cycle
- 1:04.13 – Lilly King, USA
- 1:04.36 – Yuliya Efimova, RUS
- 1:05.03 – Katie Meili, USA
- 1:05.06 – Ruta Meilutyte, LTU
- 1:05.28 – Lydia Jacoby, USA)
- 1:05.37 – Annie Lazor, USA
- 1:05.67 – Arianna Castiglioni, ITA
- 1:05.69 – Sophie Hansson, SWE
- 1:05.74 – Tatjana Shoenmaker, RSA
- 1:05.75 – Bethany Galat, USA
King will be racing the 100 breast and 200 breast while Efimova is only scheduled to race the 100 breast, according to Russia’s Olympic roster. The two-time World Champion already said she would be focusing on the 100, though, back in May.
But this event is no longer a two-woman show. The women’s 100 breast field has gotten significantly more competitive in the past 18 months, compared to the global 100 breast field in 2016.
For example, 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby of Team USA earned her spot among the top breaststrokers in the world by posting a 1:05.28 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. She will represent the U.S. alongside King in Tokyo.
Jacoby grabbed the world’s attention when she raced King and King’s training partner Annie Lazor at the 2021 Mission Viejo Pro Swim Series in April. She took 2nd place behind King with a 1:06.38.
That was a lifetime best for Jacoby, which she promptly destroyed two months later at the U.S. Olympic Trials with a 1:05.28.
They are ranked 1-2 in the world this season:
2020-2021 World Rankings
- Lilly King (USA) – 1:04.72
- Lydia Jacoby (USA) – 1:05.28
- Annie Lazor (USA) – 1:05.37
- Arianna Castiglioni (ITA) – 1:05.67
- Sophie Hansson (SWE) – 1:05.69
- Tatjana Shoenmaker (RSA) – 1:05.74
- Bethany Galat (USA) – 1:05.75
- Bendetta Pilato (ITA) – 1:05.84
- Martina Carraro (ITA) – 1:05.86
- Chelsea Hodges (AUS) – 1:05.99
This season the 100 breast has been a relatively American-dominated event. Note that USA’s Lazor and Bethany Galat will not contest the event, although they are among the top 10 fastest 100 breaststrokers since the Rio Olympics. Lazor will compete in the 200 breast alongside King in Tokyo.
At the recent European Championships in May, Sweden’s Sophie Hansson showed her dominance in this event by winning gold with a time of 1:05.69. Arianna Castiglioni of Italy won silver (1:06.13) and her teammate Martina Carraro claimed bronze .09 after her.
Efimova finished 4th with a 1:06.33, .10 off her season-best time from April. But she did bounce back at the Mare Nostrum Series in June, sweeping the 50, 100, and 200 breast.
22-year-old Hansson has made significant progress in this event since 2016. She finished in 27th place in the 100 breast at the Rio Olympics with a time of 1:08.67.
While Castiglioni posted a lifetime best time of 1:05.67 at the 58th Sette Colli meet, she will not be swimming this event in Tokyo. She is qualified only for the 4×100 medley relay.
Instead, it will be 50 breast World Record holder Benedetta Pilato and Carraro in the individual 100 breast. 16-year-old Pilato’s season-best 100 breast time of 1:05.84 is just .02 faster than Carraro’s.
Together they make up one of Italy’s first domestic breaststroke fields. Italy did not make the semifinals in this event at the 2016 Olympics.
South Africa’s Tatjana Shoenmaker is ranked 6th in the world this season and this will be her Olympic debut after RSA did not bring women to the Rio Olympics for swimming.
She set about crushing all six South African National records in breaststroke events in 2020 and 2021, taking down all three long course records at the recent South African Championships in April. This includes the 1:05.74 which ranks the 24-year-old 6th in the world this year.
Australia’s Chelsea Hodges is one of only ten women to crack 1:06.00 in the event this season, earning her #10 in the world this year. 20-year-old Hodges helped the Australian 4×100 medley relay to a silver medal at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
SwimSwam’s Top 8 Picks
|Place||Swimmer||Country||Best Time Since 2016 Olympics|
Dark Horse: Tang Qianting (CHN) – Qianting had a phenomenal meet at the first Chinese Olympic Trials in May, by becoming the second all-time fastest 100 breaststroker in Chinese history. She posted a time of 1:06.04 to be ranked 11th in the world this year going into the Olympic Games. It took a 1:06.73 to make the Olympic final in Rio and Qianting has a solid chance of edging someone out for a spot in the Olympic final in Tokyo.