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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Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free
1 month ago

Let’s go Peaty



Reply to  Drake
1 month ago


Reply to  PenguinMan
1 month ago


Vin Diesel walks in……

super classy swim
Reply to  Khachaturian
1 month ago

cue the music

Reply to  Khachaturian
1 month ago

he’s short

Queen Simone
Reply to  Drake
1 month ago

Not the anti-vaxxer for sure.

Reply to  Drake
1 month ago

No medal for that antivax doosh

Reply to  Hillbilly
1 month ago

vaccines suck. MA rules.

Reply to  ben
1 month ago

MA sucks. Vaccines rule


Lets Go Titmus

Lets go McKeon


Brendan Hansen*

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

“What does it take to be #1? 2 is not a winner, and 3 nobody remembers.” – Nelly, maybe.
W 100 FL: 55.37 (WR)
M 100 BR: 56.96
W 400 FR: 3:57.60
M 400 FR REL: 3:09.58

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

I think 55.5 is more likely because Zhang seemed to have gone all out in prelims and semis. Mckeon and Huske might go under 55.8. Huske seems to save her backhalf for the final as shown in trials…

Peaty looked bad in semis. I’d say a 57 low for peaty and Kamminga about 57mid

4free looks about right

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

Jesus, that song came out a couple weeks before 9/11. (That’s what I get for needing to Google it to confirm that Aerosmith’s Joe Perry was in that video, for some reason. Why yes, I did learn that riff on guitar because I am very cool.)

I don’t see fly being that fast, but I could see like more than half the final being 55.75-56.0

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Turns out half the final was UNDER 55.75. (But over 55.5 which was where I sorta wanted to set the winning time damn I should really bet all my money on all these races huh)

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

3.58 mid-high

Reply to  Comet
1 month ago


Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

Just a reminder before the relay starts individual 100 free Olympic record is 47.05 will that go down now?

1 month ago

So tonight we find out once and for all whether Ledecky was tapered at Trials, and whether all Australians choke

Reply to  John26
1 month ago

lmao – how can you choke to the ‘greatest women swimmer of all time’ especially when Ledecky is still the warm favourite?

Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

People don’t understand how competition works

Reply to  John26
1 month ago

Yes. One race will determine whether all Australians choke. The fact that Australians broke a world record means nothing, they still choked if on Australian loses one gold medal in a different event.

Reply to  John26
1 month ago

Looks like she didn’t choke 🙄

Reply to  John26
1 month ago

14 people didn’t get this was a joke

Reply to  Yabo
1 month ago

Correct, I was just trying to make an on-the-nose comment about how every discussion about Ledecky-Titmus over the last month has devolved to a discussion about Ledecky not being tapered or Aussies also underperform at majors.

1 month ago

USA will get gold in all events today you heard it here first

Reply to  Drake
1 month ago

As much as I want this to happen, no shot Michael Andrew throws down what Peaty is about to serve.

Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free
Reply to  Drake
1 month ago

Given that some of the events are semi finals, that would be interesting to see.

Bill G
Reply to  Drake
1 month ago

Get thee to a legal sports book!

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Drake
1 month ago

Getting a medal in every event today is more likely.

Reply to  Drake
1 month ago

It’s likelier that they don’t win a single event today

Reply to  Drake
1 month ago

well, except for #USRPT….

Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free
Reply to  Drake
1 month ago

This aged well after the 1st event!

Reply to  Drake
1 month ago

USA is stinking up the joint. Serves them right

1 month ago

Good luck to all the swimmers this morning and swim fast!

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
Reply to  PFA
1 month ago

Thanks! Wish me luck.

Philip Johnson
1 month ago

Let’s go!!!

Will TItmus take the crown and win her first Olympic gold medal? We shall see.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

Bloody hope so!!!!!! Go Ariane!!!!

Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

Dean Boxall is me after USA Swimming re-establishes the 50 Backstroke as an open event

1 month ago

Who’s got them relay lineups boys

Philip Johnson
Reply to  DMacNCheez
1 month ago

Dressel, Blake, Becker, Apple.

Philip Johnson
1 month ago

The Americans has medaled in ever event thus far, will that continue? We shall see.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

100 breast gonna be a tough one

Bill G
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

Americans have looked sharp. Some plausible podiums in the 100m fly without Huske too. Top 4 qualifiers (McKeon, Zhang, Wattel, Sjoestroem) and defending world champion (Mac Neil) in Lane 7.

Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

Nope, not after the 100 fly.

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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