Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Day 2 Finals Live Recap


The two biggest American swimming stars will vie for their first medals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games during the fourth session from the Olympic Aquatics Centre, while two of the sport’s biggest international names aim to defend their Olympic titles.

Katie Ledecky was the story of the 2016 Games in Rio, winning four gold medals and one silver, and will have her first opportunity to get on the podium in Tokyo in this morning’s women’s 400 freestyle final.

Ledecky asserted herself with the fastest time in the evening preliminaries, 4:00.45, but is expected to receive a grand challenge from Australian Ariarne Titmus, who is the #1 swimmer in the world this year and upset Ledecky for gold at the 2019 World Championships.

The biggest American name on the men’s side, Caeleb Dressel, will make his debut in Tokyo on the men’s 400 free relay, as he’ll swim the lead-off leg just as he did in Rio en route to winning the gold medal.

The U.S. men have won two of the last three Olympic 400 free relays to go along with back-to-back World Championship titles, but they’ll have their work cut out for them with the Italians blasting a time of 3:10.29 in the heats. That’s only 37 one-hundredths slower than the time the Americans won gold with in 2016.

The international stars in pursuit of successful title defenses this morning are Adam Peaty and Sarah Sjostrom, with Peaty aiming to repeat in the men’s 100 breaststroke and Sjostrom eyeing a second consecutive gold in the women’s 100 butterfly.

Peaty is one of the biggest locks to win any event at the Games, while Sjostrom has her work cut out for her, having only returned to full butterfly training in May after breaking her elbow in February.

Sjostrom holds the world record in the event at 55.48, set in Rio, but four other women in the field have broken 56 seconds, so the event has become pretty wide open. China’s Zhang Yufei holds the top seed after clocking 55.89 in the semis.

For a full preview of this morning’s session (or tonight’s, for those of us in the Western Hemisphere), click here.


  1. GOLD: Maggie MacNeil (CAN), 55.59
  2. SILVER: Zhang Yufei (CHN), 55.64
  3. BRONZE: Emma McKeon (AUS), 55.72
  4. Torri Huske (USA), 55.73
  5. Louise Hansson (SWE), 56.22
  6. Marie Wattel (FRA), 56.27
  7. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 56.91
  8. Anastasiya Shkurdai (BLR), 57.05

In what was far and away the fastest women’s 100 butterfly heat in history, Canada’s Maggie MacNeil follows up her 2019 World Championship title with an Olympic gold medal in a time of 55.59.

Swimming out in Lane 7, MacNeil turned seventh at the 50 in 26.50, but an amazing underwater off the turn launched near the front of the race, pulling away from American Torri Huske and China’s Zhang Yufei down the stretch to touch first by five one-hundredths of a second.

MacNeil breaks her Canadian Record of 55.83, set at those 2019 Worlds, with her time ranking second all-time behind Sarah Sjostrom‘s world record (55.48).

It was an incredibly close finish among the top four, all ranking inside the seven-fastest swims ever. Zhang (55.64) pulled out the silver, .02 off her Asian Record, while Aussie Emma McKeon reset her Oceanian Record for the bronze in 55.72.

Huske finishes .01 off the podium in 55.73, just a touch off her American Record of 55.66.

Sjostrom, the defending champion, had her slowest swim of the three rounds and ends up seventh in 56.91.

Including the prelims and semis, six of the 10-fastest swims ever have been set at these Olympic Games.

All-Time Performances, Women’s 100 Butterfly (LCM)

  1. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 55.48 – 2016
  2. Maggie MacNeil (CAN), 55.59 – 2021
  3. Zhang Yufei (CHN), 55.62 – 2020
  4. Zhang Yufei (CHN), 55.64 – 2021
  5. Torri Huske (USA), 55.66 – 2021
  6. Emma McKeon (AUS), 55.72 – 2021
  7. Torri Huske (USA), 55.73 – 2021
  8. Zhang Yufei (CHN) / Emma McKeon (AUS), 55.82
  9. Maggie MacNeil (CAN), 55.83 – 2019


  • World Record: Paul Biedermann (GER) – 1:42.00 (2009)
  • Olympic Record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:42.96 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Hwang Sun Woo (KOR) – 1:44.62 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Sun Yang (CHN) – 1:44.65
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 200 Freestyle
  1. Duncan Scott (GBR), 1:44.60
  2. Kieran Smith (USA), 1:45.07
  3. Danas Rapsys (LTU), 1:45.32
  4. Tom Dean (GBR), 1:45.34
  5. Martin Malyutin (ROC), 1:45.45
  6. Hwang Sunwoo (KOR), 1:45.53
  7. David Popovici (ROU), 1:45.68
  8. Fernando Scheffer (BRA), 1:45.71

Duncan Scott executed perfectly in the second semi-final of the men’s 200 freestyle, turning second at the 100 behind early leader Kieran Smith (50.91) in 51.15 before turning on the jets on the back-half.

Scott rattled off a pair of 26.7s coming home to post the top time of the morning in 1:44.60, just over a tenth off his British Record of 1:44.47 set earlier this year.

Smith continues to swim well at these Games after winning bronze in the 400 free last night, registering a personal best time of 1:45.07 to qualify second overall.

The top-four swimmers and five of the top-six came out of that second semi, with Danas Rapsys (1:45.32) bouncing back from missing the 400 free final and Tom Dean producing a strong 1:45.34 as they advance in third and fourth.

Hwang Sunwoo, who led the prelims in a World Junior Record of 1:44.62, added nine tenths in 1:45.53, but still advances in sixth.

Like Rapsys, Martin Malyutin has come back strong after a poor 400 showing, winning the first semi in 1:45.45 over Romania’s David Popovici (1:45.68) and Brazilian Fernando Scheffer (1:45.71) as they all make the final.

Hwang, Scheffer, Popovici and Dean were actually all faster in the prelims, but it doesn’t matter as they advance through. Notably missing is 2016 Olympic finalist Townley Haas, who ended up 12th in 1:46.07, along with Aussie Thomas Neill. Neill came home strong in 26.83 in the first semi, but narrowly got out-touched by Scheffer and misses the final by .03 in 1:45.71.


  1. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 1:05.07
  2. Lilly King (USA), 1:05.40
  3. Lydia Jacoby (USA), 1:05.72
  4. Sophie Hansson (SWE), 1:05.81
  5. Yuliya Efimova (ROC), 1:06.34
  6. Evgeniia Chikunova (ROC), 1:06.47
  7. Martina Carraro (ITA), 1:06.50
  8. Mona McSharry (IRL), 1:06.59

In a head-to-head battle that felt like it would set the tone for what is to come in tomorrow’s final, South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker defeated Lilly King in the second semi of the women’s 100 breaststroke to claim Lane 4 on Tuesday morning.

Schoenmaker shocked everyone, including herself, with a scintillating 1:04.82 swim in the heats, breaking King’s Olympic Record from 2016 and becoming the fifth-fastest swimmer of all-time.

If King was on her best form, it felt as though she would make sure she touched first in the heat, but Schoenmaker’s out-split her on both 50s en route to a final time of 1:05.07.

King clocked 1:05.40, still good for second overall, but she’ll have her work cut out for her in the final.

17-year-old American Lydia Jacoby closed like a freight train in the first semi, coming home in 34.48 to touch first and qualify third into the final in 1:05.72.

After setting a Swedish Record of 1:05.66 in the prelims, Sophie Hansson was the fourth woman sub-1:06 in 1:05.81, while 2016 silver medalist Yuliya Efimova advanced in fifth (1:06.34).

In eighth, Mona McSharry becomes Ireland’s first female since 1996 to make an Olympic final. Her time of 1:06.59 was three tenths shy of her Irish National Record set earlier this year.


  1. GOLD: Adam Peaty (GBR), 57.37
  2. SILVER: Arno Kamminga (NED), 58.00
  3. BRONZE: Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA), 58.33
  4. Michael Andrew (USA), 58.84
  5. James Wilby (GBR), 58.96
  6. Andrew Wilson (USA) / Yan Zibei (CHN), 58.99
  7. Ilya Shymanovich (BLR), 59.36

It wasn’t as fast as he would’ve liked, but Adam Peaty successfully defends his title as the Olympic champion in the men’s 100 breaststroke, decisively winning the final in a time of 57.37.

Peaty, who won 2016 Olympic gold in a world record (at the time) of 57.13, lowered that mark down to 56.88 in 2019, and had designs on getting that time down in the 56-mid range. Although he was a touch off his best, the Brit still becomes just the second man to repeat as the Olympic gold medalist, joining Japan’s Kosuke Kitajima (2004-08).

Peaty is also the first British swimmer ever to repeat an Olympic gold medal victory.

His time stands up as the fifth-fastest ever, slightly under his season-best of 57.39.

Arno Kamminga, the only other man who’s broken 58 seconds in history, sat right on Peaty’s hip the entire race and claims the silver in 58.00, the third-fastest swim of his career. Kamminga hit a Dutch Record of 57.80 in the heats.

Italian Nicolo Martinenghi was just a shade of his National Record from the semis (58.28) for the bronze in 58.33, well clear of the rest of the field.

Seven of the eight finalists broke 59, with American Michael Andrew snagging the fourth spot in 58.84.


  1. GOLD: Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 3:56.69
  2. SILVER: Katie Ledecky (USA), 3:57.36
  3. BRONZE: Li Bingjie (CHN), 4:01.08
  4. Summer McIntosh (CAN), 4:02.42
  5. Tang Muhan (CHN), 4:04.10
  6. Isabel Gose (GER), 4:04.98
  7. Paige Madden (USA), 4:06.81
  8. Erika Fairweather (NZL), 4:08.01

In a heavyweight title fight that lived up to the billing, Ariarne Titmus dealt Katie Ledecky a knockout blow on the last 50 of the women’s 400 freestyle, handing the American her first-ever individual Olympic loss.

Ledecky took hold of the lead early and looked firmly in control, sitting over six tenths ahead of Titmus at the 200 in 1:57.44. Titmus started making up ground on the sixth 50, out-splitting Ledecky by half a second, and by the final wall, the Australian had taken the lead.

Titmus then managed to fend off Ledecky coming home, splitting a blistering 28.67 to win gold by close to seven tenths in 3:56.69. That swim for Titmus is the second-fastest ever, breaking her Commonwealth, Oceanian and Australian Record of 3:56.90 set last month at the Olympic Trials.

It is also Australia’s first individual gold in the pool at these Games.

Despite suffering the loss, Ledecky still registers her second-fastest swim ever in 3:57.36, trailing only her world record of 3:56.46 from the 2016 Games.

China’s Li Bingjie reset her Asian Record for the second time in as many days to claim the bronze in 4:01.08, while 14-year-old stud Summer McIntosh did the same with her Canadian Record, slicing off three tenths in 4:02.42 to take fourth.


  1. Ryan Murphy (USA), 52.24
  2. Kliment Kolesnikov (ROC), 52.29
  3. Mitch Larkin (AUS), 52.76
  4. Thomas Ceccon (ITA), 52.78
  5. Evgeny Rylov (ROC), 52.91
  6. Xu Jiayu (CHN), 52.94
  7. Hugo Gonzalez (ESP), 53.05
  8. Robert Glinta (ROU), 53.20

Ryan Murphy and Kliment Kolesnikov both looked fully in control in the semi-finals of the men’s 100 backstroke, winning their respective heats to qualify 1-2 into tomorrow’s final.

Murphy looked casual in putting up a time of 52.24, just .02 slower than his season-best set at the Olympic Trials, as he’s set himself up well to repeat and give the U.S. a seventh straight gold in the event.

Kolesnikov torched the first 50 in the prelims, out a little too aggressively in 24.89, but was much more measured this morning, flipping in 25.32 before turning it on down the stretch in 26.97 to clock 52.29.

In a race that looked like it had four potential gold medalists coming in, Murphy and Kolesnikov appear to be the only two on form enough to win.

Mitch Larkin (52.76) and Thomas Ceccon (52.78) qualified third and fourth overall from the first semi, while Evgeny Rylov and Xu Jiayu, who have both been sub-52 before (Rylov did so in a mixed relay, so it’s not official), were 52-high in fifth and sixth.

Hunter Armstrong and Ryosuke Irie tied for ninth in 53.21, meaning there will likely be a swim-off for first alternate in the final.

Armstrong’s miss makes tomorrow’s 100 back final the first since 1988 that didn’t feature two American men.

France’s Yohann Ndoye-Brouard was disqualified after crashing into the 50m wall, failing to turn over and flip on time. The DQ was officially for not being on his back directly after the turn.


  1. Regan Smith (USA), 57.86 OR
  2. Kylie Masse (CAN), 58.09
  3. Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 58.11
  4. Rhyan White (USA), 58.46
  5. Kathleen Dawson (GBR), 58.56
  6. Emily Seebohm (AUS), 58.59
  7. Kira Toussaint (NED), 59.09
  8. Anastasia Gorbenko (ISR), 59.30

The string of consecutive Olympic Records in the women’s 100 backstroke continued in the opening semi-final, as American Regan Smith came on strong over the second half of the race to finish in a time of 57.86, erasing Kaylee McKeown‘s mark of 57.88 set in the prelims.

The Olympic Record went down three times during the prelims, including Smith briefly holding it at 57.96 before McKeown stole it in the final heat.

Smith’s time stands up as her second-fastest ever, with her best sitting at 57.57, while it’s also the fourth-fastest swim of all-time.

The streak came to an end in the second semi, as Kylie Masse (58.09) edged out McKeown (58.11) to qualify second and third for the final, with Masse’s time her second-fastest ever. Masse broke 58 seconds in June (57.70), while McKeown set the world record last month in 57.45.


  • World Record: USA (Phelps, Weber-Gale, Jones, Lezak) – 3:08.24 (2008)
  • Olympic Record: USA (Phelps, Weber-Gale, Jones, Lezak) – 3:08.24 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: USA (Magahey, Urlando, Chaney, Foster) – 3:15.80 (2019)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: USA (Dressel, Phelps, Held, Adrian) – 3:09.92
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 4×100 Freestyle Relay
  1. GOLD: United States, 3:08.97
  2. SILVER: Italy, 3:10.11
  3. BRONZE: Australia, 3:10.22
  4. Canada, 3:10.82
  5. Hungary, 3:11.06
  6. France, 3:11.09
  7. ROC, 3:12.20
  8. Brazil, 3:13.41

The United States men come out on top in decisive fashion in the men’s 400 free relay, delivering the fastest swim 13 years.

Caeleb Dressel came flying out of the gate on the lead-off leg, torching the opening 50 in 22.24. Dressel came back to the field on the second 50, but still led the way in 47.26, handing off to Blake Pieroni.

Pieroni maintained the lead in 47.58, as did Bowe Becker (47.44), though the Italians were sitting just two tenths back.

Despite the push from Italy, it was Zach Apple delivering in a big way on the anchor leg for the Americans, scorching a 46.69 split to bring them in for a time of 3:08.97, marking the fastest relay time since the epic USA/France battle at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Apple notably had a .05 reaction time, with only Canada’s Yuri Kisil (.00) and Hungary’s Szebasztian Szabo (.04) lower.

Just as they did in the prelims, the Italians delivered four 47-second splits, lowering their National Record from the previous night down to 3:10.11 to win the silver medal. It is the country’s first Olympic medal in this event.

The team was comprised of Alessandro Miressi (47.72), Thomas Ceccon (47.45), Lorenzo Zazzeri (47.31) and Manuel Frigo (47.63).

The Canadians were surprisingly sitting third from out in Lane 1 heading into the anchor, receiving a trio of strong legs from Brent Hayden (47.99), Joshua Liendo (47.51) and Yuri Kisil (47.15).

But coming in hot pursuit was Kyle Chalmers, the reigning Olympic champion in the individual 100 freestyle, who brought the Australians up from sixth at the 300 into bronze with a blazing-fast 46.44 split, the fastest in the field.

Australia’s final time was 3:10.22, while the Canadian men destroyed their National Record for fourth in 3:10.82. France was a major player during the first half of the race, including a strong 47.52 lead-off from Maxime Grousset, but they end up sixth in 3:11.09, with the Hungarians (3:11.06) running them down in the final stages.

One of the pre-race favorites was Russia (ROC), who were pretty underwhelming other than lead-off Andrei Minakov (47.71), finishing seventh in 3:12.20. Kliment Kolesnikov, who has been 47.31 on a flat-start this year, only split 48.40 on the anchor leg.

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Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Day 2 quick thoughts

Unlike day 1 absolutely zero surprise about gold medalists.

Very fast and close final. The depth in that event has become insane. You have to swim under 56 to medal now.
MacNeil was able to win her second major international gold medal after her world title 2 years ago. She was my pick. Not a tall girl compared to most her rivals. She always has a great finish.
Torri Huske has swum a great race. I’m sure she’s disappointed to be 0.01s off the bronze but it will make her hungry for Paris 2024.
Marie Wattel has no regret to have. She has shown no signs of nerve… Read more »

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

My first time watching the coverage in French – so gutted for Ndoye-Brouard, he’s been swimming so well. Hope he doesn’t beat himself up over it too much. Very exciting to see so many young French swimmers do well though. Hope that that will continue to be the case (or even more so) for the home olympics.

1 year ago

The natural order of swimming emerged on Day 2. No huge surprises, the best athletes achieved their destined placements.

Women’s 100 Fly: Terrific race that saw the top 4 really separate themselves. It was a nail biter, but it should have been a nail biter, given the amount of talent at the top. By and large, the podium finishes were “correct.”

  • Super happy for Maggie McNeil
  • Zhang Yufei seemed pretty disappointed.. wonder how she will come back in the 200 fly
  • Bummer for Torri Huske, missing a medal by 0.01. Hopefully that will fuel some years of dominance until Paris.

Men’s 200 Free: The pre-race favorites are showing up, like Duncan Scott and Martin Malyutin.

  • Hwang looked
… Read more »

Lex Soft
1 year ago

“Armstrong’s miss makes tomorrow’s 100 back final the first since 1988 that didn’t feature two American men.”

So Ryan Murphy will be alone, like David Berkoff at Seoul 1988 where there were one USA, two USSRs (Igor Poliansky and Sergei Zabolotnov), but it’s Daichi Suzuki from Japan who took the gold.
This time, one USA, two ROCs, and it’s Thomas Ceccon who will win ? 🙂

1 year ago

59.6 + 65.6 + 56.2 (L.Hansson) + 52.6 = 3:54.00 – Sweden are in the hunt!!!!

1 year ago

Bad night for French swimming. No surprise for the 4×100m since the relay could not aim better than the 5th place, we console ourselves with the good laps of Grousset and Manaudou(I doubt that it is enough to get an individual medal). Bug disappointment for Wattel, he will have to bounce back quickly for 100m. As for Tomac and Brouard-Ndoye, let’s say that they will a least have gained experience for 2024…

Right Dude Here
1 year ago

Zach Apple leveled up tonight.

1 year ago

peaty is so dominant. do you think he’s juiced/roided?

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  ben
1 year ago

He’s as juiced/roided as Dressel/Ledecky

Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 year ago

So yes 100%

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  ben
1 year ago

Probably not. He has a unique technique and works very hard. Breastroke has changed so much in recent years that people can’t quite match him with the high hips and undulation through the body. Eveyone is trying and some are going too far with their leg movements in my opinion but the cameras underwater here slowed them down.

Manuel 23.98
1 year ago

Andrew is honestly swimming like garbage at the games so far, I know his dad is one of the coaches but they should honestly be considering Wilson for the finals medley relay at this point, he just keeps choking. At this point he’d be lucky for a 2IM medal and 50 free final.

Last edited 1 year ago by Manuel 23.98
Reply to  Manuel 23.98
1 year ago

why would you put wilson if andrew literally beat him

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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