Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


The action rolls on from Tokyo with the second night of Olympic swimming featuring preliminary heats in the women’s 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle, along with the men’s 200 free, 100 back and the 400 free relay.

After some of the sport’s biggest international stars made their debuts at the Games on Day 1, some of the top American swimmers will hop in for Day 2, including defending Olympic champions Katie Ledecky (women’s 400 free), Lilly King (women’s 100 breast) and Ryan Murphy (men’s 100 back).

We’ll also see the loaded women’s 100 back, which features the only three swimmers that have broken 58 seconds in history: world record-holder Kaylee McKeown, former world record-holder Regan Smith, and Kylie Masse, who has also held the WR previously and is the reigning two-time world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist.

One of the most anticipated duels early in the program comes in the women’s 400 free, where Ledecky will take on current world #1 Ariarne Titmus, who swam a time of 3:56.90 last month, faster than all of Ledecky’s swims other than her Rio victory (3:56.46).

The men’s 200 free projects to be a wild event with a very wide open field, while the 400 free relay is always must-see TV.

Women’s 100 Backstroke – Prelims

  1. Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 57.88 OR
  2. Regan Smith (USA), 57.96
  3. Kylie Masse (CAN), 58.17
  4. Kathleen Dawson (GBR), 58.69
  5. Emily Seebohm (AUS), 58.86
  6. Rhyan White (USA), 59.02
  7. Kira Toussaint (NED), 59.21
  8. Margherita Panziera (ITA), 59.74
  9. Peng Xuwei (CHN), 59.78
  10. Maria Kameneva (RUS), 59.88
  11. Taylor Ruck (CAN), 59.89
  12. Anastasia Gorbenko (ISR), 59.90
  13. Anastasiia Fesikova (ROC), 59.92
  14. Cassie Wild (GBR), 59.99
  15. Maaike de Waard (NED), 1:00.03
  16. Anna Konishi (JPN), 1:00.04

The top-ranked swimmers in the women’s 100 backstroke wasted no time in showing off just how much faster this event has gotten since Rio, with the Olympic Record falling in three consecutive heats to open up the second prelim session.

The records came from the only three women that have broken 58 seconds in history—Kaylee McKeownRegan Smith and Kylie Masse.

Masse opened things up with a time of 58.17 in Heat 4, downing the previous Olympic Record of 58.23 set by Emily Seebohm in 2012. Smith then broke it in 57.96, and McKeown, the world record holder at 57.45, finished the event off with a third OR in 57.88.

That gives the Australian McKeown the fourth-fastest swim in history, Smith the seventh, and Masse the 15th-fastest ever. It’s also McKeown’s fourth sub-58 swim and Smith’s third, with Masse having done so once last month at the Canadian Olympic Trials.

Joining that trio under 59 seconds was Great Britain’s Kathleen Dawson (58.69) and Seebohm (58.86), both doing so from the sixth and final heat alongside McKeown. Dawson ranks fourth in the world this year, having been 58.08 when winning the European title in May, while Seebohm owns a 2021-best of 58.59.

A total of 14 women broke one minute, and the time required to make it back for the semis, 1:00.04, is more than eight-tenths quicker than it took in 2016 (1:00.89).

Anastasiya Shkurdai and Louise Hansson were both no-shows.

Men’s 200 Freestyle – Prelims

  • 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) – 1:44.96 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Sun Yang (CHN) – 1:44.65
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 200 Freestyle
  1. Hwang Sunwoo (KOR), 1:44.62
  2. Fernando Scheffer (BRA), 1:45.05
  3. Tom Dean (GBR), 1:45.24
  4. David Popovici (ROU), 1:45.32
  5. Duncan Scott (GBR), 1:45.37
  6. Martin Malyutin (ROC), 1:45.50
  7. Stefano Ballo (ITA), 1:45.80
  8. Thomas Neill (AUS), 1:45.81
  9. Danas Rapsys (LTU), 1:45.84
  10. Townley Haas (USA), 1:45.86
  11. Kregor Zirk (EST), 1:46.10
  12. Nandor Nemeth (HUN), 1:46.19
  13. Kieran Smith (USA), 1:46.20
  14. Velimir Stjepanovic (SRB), 1:46.26
  15. Antonio Djakovic (SUI), 1:46.37
  16. Stefano Di Cola (ITA), 1:46.67

South Korea’s Hwang Sunwoo asserted himself as the man to beat in the first round of the men’s 200 freestyle, blasting his way to a new World Junior Record of 1:44.62 in the first circle-seeded heat on Sunday night in Tokyo.

The 18-year-old went out fast, flipping in 50.12 at the 100, with Great Britain’s Tom Dean and USA’s Townley Haas close behind. Hwang opened up a bit of gap with a sub-27 third 50 split (26.89), and then held things at bay coming home. His time was the only sub-1:45 of the prelims, and also lowers the South Korean Record of 1:44.80 previously held by Park Tae Hwan.

Hwang’s previous WJR was 1:44.96, set earlier this year. He moves up from 18th to 11th on the all-time performers list.

Dean (1:45.24) put up a solid time to take second in the heat, ultimately qualifying third overall into the semis.

Brazilian Fernando Scheffer took the second circle-seeded heat by storm, touching first in a new South American Record of 1:45.05 for second overall. That improves Scheffer’s previous South American and Brazilian Records of 1:45.51, set in 2018.

World #1 Duncan Scott took second to Scheffer in that heat in 1:45.37, good for fifth overall, while Australia’s Thomas Neill (1:45.81) held off Danas Rapsys (1:45.84) in the last heat.

16-year-old Romanian David Popovici was right on his personal-best form in Heat 2, clocking 1:45.32, just .06 off his National Record of 1:45.26, to easily qualify fourth overall.

Katsuhiro Matsumoto, the fourth seed coming in, ends up tying with Germany’s Lukas Märtens for 17th in 1:46.69, meaning he’ll miss out on the semis barring a scratch.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke – Prelims

  1. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 1:04.82 OR
  2. Lydia Jacoby (USA), 1:05.52
  3. Lilly King (USA), 1:05.55
  4. Sophie Hansson (SWE), 1:05.66
  5. Martina Carraro (ITA), 1:05.85
  6. Evgeniia Chikunova (ROC), 1:06.16
  7. Ida Hulkko (FIN), 1:06.19
  8. Yuliya Efimova (ROC), 1:06.21
  9. Mona McSharry (IRL), 1:06.39
  10. Tang Qianting (CHN), 1:06.47
  11. Sarah Vasey (GBR), 1:06.61
  12. Chelsea Hodges (AUS), 1:06.70
  13. Lisa Mamie (SUI), 1:06.76
  14. Eneli Jefimova (EST), 1:06.79
  15. Kotryna Teterevkova (LTU), 1:06.82
  16. Anna Elendt (GER), 1:06.96

South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker absolutely destroyed the African Record to lead the women’s 100 breaststroke heats by seven tenths of a second, clocking 1:04.82 in what was also a new Olympic Record.

Schoenmaker, 24, takes down her previous Continental and National Records of 1:05.74, set earlier this year, and lowers Lilly King‘s Olympic Record of 1:04.93 set in 2016.

Known more her prowess in the 200 breast, Schoenmaker rockets up the all-time rankings from 17th to fifth in the 100 with her swim.

King won a tightly-contested final heat in 1:05.55, looking around throughout the heat, while her American teammate Lydia Jacoby led the first circle-seeded heat in 1:05.52 as they qualify 2-3 for the semis.

Jacoby was just off her best time of 1:05.28, set at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.

Sophie Hansson chopped .03 off her Swedish Record in 1:05.66, and Ida Hulkko broke her Finnish Record in 1:06.19.

The sixth seed coming in, Italy’s 16-year-old standout Benedetta Pilato was disqualified.

Men’s 100 Backstroke – Prelims

  1. Kliment Kolesnikov (ROC), 52.15
  2. Thomas Ceccon (ITA), 52.49
  3. Xu Jiayu (CHN), 52.70
  4. Mitch Larkin (AUS), 52.97
  5. Ryosuke Irie (JPN), 52.99
  6. Yohann Ndoye Brouard (FRA), 53.13
  7. Ryan Murphy (USA) / Evgeny Rylov (ROC), 53.22
  8. Hugo Gonzalez (ESP), 53.45
  9. Mewen Tomac (FRA), 53.49
  10. Guilherme Guido (BRA), 53.65
  11. Robert Glinta (ROU), 53.67
  12. Isaac Cooper (aus), 53.73
  13. Marek Ulrich (GER), 53.74
  14. Hunter Armstrong (USA) / Apostolos Christou (GRE), 53.77

Kliment Kolesnikov let it all hang out in his first-ever Olympic swim, flipping in a scorching 24.89 in Heat 5 of the men’s 100 backstroke before closing in 27.26 for a final time of 52.15.

That showing falls six one-hundredths shy of the Russian’s unofficial best time, 52.09, set on a mixed medley relay lead-off at the European Championships. His official PB is 52.13, narrowly missing that, along with the Russian Record of 52.12 held by Evgeny Rylov.

Including mixed relay lead-offs, Kolensikov’s time in the prelims is the 14th-fastest swim ever.

Taking second to Kolesnikov in Heat 5 was 20-year-old Thomas Ceccon, who lowered his Italian Record of 52.84 in 52.49 to qualify second overall into the semis. Ceccon was the only swimmer in the field to come home sub-27 (26.86).

That fifth heat was the fastest overall with four of the five sub-53s coming out of it, as Mitch Larkin (52.97) and Ryosuke Irie (52.99) advance in fourth and fifth.

China’s Xu Jiayu led the first circle-seeded heat in 52.70, qualifying third, while France’s Yohann Ndoye Brouard (53.13) won the last heat for sixth.

Defending champion Ryan Murphy and top seed Evgeny Rylov tied for second in that final heat in 53.22, advancing in a tie for seventh.

Murphy’s American teammate Hunter Armstrong and Greece’s Apostolos Christou narrowly got into the semis, tying in 53.77 for 15th, while Luke Greenbank and Simone Sabbioni tied for 17th in 53.79 and will miss out.

Women’s 400 Freestyle – Prelims

  1. Katie Ledecky (USA), 4:00.45
  2. Li Bingjie (CHN), 4:01.57
  3. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 4:01.66
  4. Erika Fairweather (NZL), 4:02.28
  5. Summer McIntosh (CAN), 4:02.72
  6. Isabel Gose (GER), 4:03.21
  7. Paige Madden (USA), 4:03.98
  8. Tang Muhan (CHN), 4:04.07

Defending Olympic champion Katie Ledecky looked strong in claiming the top seed for the final of the women’s 400 freestyle, making her way through the third heat in a time of 4:00.45 to qualify first by over a second.

The time for Ledecky is notably faster than she was in last month’s Olympic Trials final (4:01.27), a positive sign in her first swim of the meet.

Pursuing Ledecky in the heat was China’s Li Bingjie, who made up nine tenths on the American over the final 100 to finish in a time of 4:01.57, dipping under her Asian Record of 4:01.75 set in 2017.

The world’s fastest swimmer this year, Ariarne Titmus touched first in Heat 4 in 4:01.66, advancing to the final with the third spot, with fellow Oceanian Erika Fairweather hot on her tail in 4:02.28.

Fairweather, a native of New Zealand, dropped four seconds from her best time to take down the Kiwi Record of 4:03.63, set by Lauren Boyle back in 2012.

Fairweather is just 17, and another teenager, Canadian Summer McIntosh also broke a National Record.

The 14-year-old dropped almost two and a half seconds from her lifetime best in 4:02.72, breaking Brittany Maclean‘s Canadian Record of 4:03.43 set in 2016. Maclean and McIntosh share the swim home club, Etobicoke Swimming.

In sixth, a third National Record fell at the hands of 19-year-old Isabel Gose, as her time of 4:03.21 breaks the German Record of 4:03.96 previously held by Sarah Kohler (2017). Gose advances sixth into the final.

Men’s 4×100 Freestyle Relay – Prelims

  • 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. Italy, 3:10.29
  2. United States, 3:11.33
  3. Australia, 3:11.89
  4. France, 3:12.35
  5. Brazil, 3:12.59
  6. Hungary, 3:12.73
  7. Canada, 3:13.00
  8. ROC, 3:13.13

The Italian men staked their claim as the team to beat in the 400 free relay, dropping a sizzling time of 3:10.29 to qualify first for the final by over a second.

Breaking their existing National Record of 3:11.39, Italy was the only nation to keep all four swimmers sub-48, led by Alessandro Miressi coming within .01 of his Italian Record on the lead-off leg in 47.46.

Santo Condorelli (47.90), Lorenzo Zazzeri (47.29) and Manuel Frigo (47.64) closed things off, as Italy will be tough to beat for anyone in the final.

France took second to the Italians in Heat 1, clocking 3:12.35 with a notable 47.41 split from Maxime Grousset. Brazil and the Russians (ROC) were the other teams advancing from the opening heat, putting up times of 3:12.59 and 3:13.13, respectively. Marcelo Chierighini (47.34) was the lone sub-48 split for the Brazilians, and Andrei Minakov (47.48) was the only 47 for ROC.

The defending champion United States won Heat 2 in a time of 3:11.33, receiving a trio of 47-second splits from Blake Pieroni (47.71), Bowe Becker (47.59) and Zach Apple (47.19). Expect those three to remain on the final relay and be joined by Caeleb Dressel.

Australia was close behind in 3:11.89, with Kyle Chalmers ripping a scorching 46.63 anchor leg, and the Hungarians (3:12.73) and Canadians (3:13.00) also made the final from the second heat. Nandor Nemeth anchored in 47.46 for Hungary, while Joshua Liendo (47.67) and Yuri Kisil (47.78) produced strong legs for Canada.

Great Britain was the most noteworthy team to miss the final, opting not to use Duncan Scott, who had the 200 free prelims. Joe Litchfield‘s 49.41 split was their undoing, and even a 47.50 from Jacob Whittle wasn’t enough to advance them.

Among the other teams, Stan Pijnenburg had an impressive 47.35 split for the Dutch, Andrej Barna was 47.50 for Serbia, and Jakub Kraska brought Poland home in 47.68.

Men’s 200 Free Swim-Off

  1. Katsuhiro Matsumoto (JPN), 1:46.06
  2. Lukas Märtens (GER), 1:46.40

Matsumoto and Märtens both went faster than their 1:46.69 preliminary in the swim-off, with Matsumoto’s early aggression paying off as he opened up a one-second lead after 50 meters and held on by three tenths in 1:46.06.

We’ll wait and see if this was simply a race for first alternate, or if a scratch will move Matsumoto into the semis.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

So excited about the showdown between Titmus and Ledecky 🙂

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Sarah
1 month ago

Also excited about the race for bronze. 5 under 4:03 and takes 4:04 flat to final. Would be awesome if four were under 4:00

Dunks 2 golds
1 month ago

Men’s 4×100 prelim start list is out

Margalis Stan
1 month ago

Day 2!!

1 month ago

anyone got a link to watch?

Reply to  Eddie
1 month ago

Guaranteed 0 Rowdy Gaines content

Fortnite Nick
Reply to  AussieSwim
1 month ago

Instead we’ve got Basil Zempilas… far worse

Harshad Inamdar
Reply to  Eddie
1 month ago

Yes please .. any links to watch the heats

Reply to  Eddie
1 month ago
Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Eddie
1 month ago

No Rowdy, no ads, Nicole Livingstone as commentator.

Just point your VPN to Canada

Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

Here’s the link for CBC finals and yes no ads, no Rowdy.

Bo Swims
Reply to  Jane
1 month ago

Get the ” CBC Gem ” app better than the web

Sapnu puas
1 month ago

I fear GB might struggle to qualify for the relay final…but I am perched to see these backstroke heats. Both events are mouth watering

Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

Bit of a gamble but with Dean and Scott both swimming the 200 earlier makes sense. Whittle on anchor suggests he’s been looking good.

Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

Agree – We had no choice, but it looks like everyone else (Italy, Hungary, France, Canada) have gone full strength, or very close to it. We’re gonna need to step up!

Last edited 1 month ago by Dee
Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

I am very worried already.

Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

Just out of interest – any reason they haven’t gone with Proud? He swam in Gwangju and he’s got more experience. I know that Litchfield had a decent swim at trials but I thought that he might have steadied the ship a little.

NornIron Swim
Reply to  Jamie5678
1 month ago

I don’t think Proud has ANY interest in swimming more than a 50, even for a relay. Similar to Mark Foster in that regard.

Boy C
Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

4 one hundredths… ouch!

Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

You were right to fear GB PD and Head Coach over confident in their selections
Scott will be extremely angered by this as he was when they failed to qualify in a previous year
Their selections for the remaining relays will have to be on point

1 month ago

4×100 teams: (h2)

AUS McEvoy Incerti Graham Chalmers
USA Curry Pieroni Becker Apple
GBR Richards Guy Litchfield Whittle

Lex Soft
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago


  1. Vladislav Grinev
  2. Andrei Minakov
  3. Vladimir Morozov
  4. Aleksandr Shchegolev

Italy :

  1. Alessandro Miressi
  2. Santo Condorelli
  3. Lorenzo Zazzeri
  4. Manuel Frigo
1 month ago

So where are Rowdy, Dan and MP commentating on? I was watching NBC last night and it had Nicole Livingstone on.

Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

NBC are showing the generic Olympic feed for the heats sessions, regular Rowdy etc for the finals.

Reply to  CMOK
1 month ago

Oh so that’s it. Thanks for the answer.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  CMOK
1 month ago

I watched the prelims again on one of the NBC feeds on YouTubeTV and Rowdy/Dan were on the reply. I don’t know if they are doing that live or after the fact, but Van Dkyken on the live 4:00AM broadcast and Rowdy and Dan later.

1 month ago

GBR have given 16 year old Whittle anchor. That’s some call when the margins for the final are going to be so tight. As expected, no Dean or Scott, so we’ll be on the bubble – Squeaky bum time. We had no choice, but I have to be honest, I’m nervous – It looks like most teams have put out their strongest line ups.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dee
Relay Enthusiast
Reply to  Dee
1 month ago

I think that we may go around 3:13 which will be enough. Usually the cut off is around 3:14
Matt Richards needs to perform on the lead-off (48 low)
James Guy has to split 47.7-47.8
Joe Litchfield 48 low
Jacob Whittle 48 low

If they all to the above performances we’ll be fine. Whittle is definitely the wildcard.

Reply to  Relay Enthusiast
1 month ago

Backhalf is key – We need one of them to step up and give us a 47 split imo. I’ve heard Whittle has been flying, but at 16 in your first Olympic race… talk about baptism of fire.

Relay Enthusiast
Reply to  Dee
1 month ago

Where did you hear that Whittle is flying?

Reply to  Relay Enthusiast
1 month ago

From somebody at Luff, I just worry about putting that pressure on a kid. He’s very wise for his years though.

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

I think this was always what I expected. I think they’ll be fine – Whittle and Richards are both back-enders, so I back them to bring it home even if behind towards the end.

Boy C
Reply to  Dee
1 month ago

almost! bad finish.. let the russians squeak in

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

Yeah I know. Agonising cus I reckon if Whittle had glided in rather than take that extra stroke we would have made it in, but oh well, onwards and upwards. At least now Scott and Dean will be ever so slightly fresher for their 200 (assuming they make it through tonight).

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 …

Read More »