Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Day 3 Finals Preview

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

Haven’t done your homework? Cram for tonight’s Day 3 Olympic Swimming Finals with our quick-hitting session preview:

Men’s 200 Free final

The men’s 200 free looks as wide open as any race in the Olympic program this year.

British talents Duncan Scott and Tom Dean entered these Olympics ranked #1 and #2 in the world in this event. Scott bested the field out of semifinals and will claim the middle lane for tonight’s medal final. But the two will have to avenge a 2020 European Championships loss to Russia’s Martin Malyutinwho lurks out in lane 2.

Speaking of redemption, Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys has as much to avenge as anyone. Rapsys outswam the entire field at the 2019 World Championships and was set to become the first Lithuanian man to win Worlds gold in swimming – only to find out he’d been disqualified for movement on the blocks. He now has a chance to become Lithuania’s first man to win an Olympic swimming medal.

Also keep an eye on 18-year-old Hwang Sun-woo of Korea and 16-year-old David Popovici of Romania who should battle over the world junior record, currently owned by Sun-woo.

It’s a field where all eight men have a realistic chance of medaling. American Kieran Smith is the #2 seed and the bronze medalist in the 400 free already this week. Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer was the 2019 Pan Ams gold medalist in this race, and his swim from the heats here in Tokyo (1:45.05) is the second-fastest time anyone swam in heats or semifinals.

Women’s 100 Back Final

The women’s 100 back is one of the most highly-anticipated races of these entire Olympics – and the Olympics have already been a microcosm of the ferocious world record scramble we’ve seen in this event over the past few years.

In 2017, Canada’s Kylie Masse won the Worlds gold, setting the world record to 58.10. In 2018, American Kathleen Baker reset that record to 58.00, and in 2019, American Regan Smith dropped it to 57.57 on a relay at 2019 Worlds. Then just last month, Australia’s Kaylee McKeown shaved it to 57.45 at Australian Olympic Trials.

In Tokyo, the crew basically repeated their game of record keep-away. Masse won a circle-seeded heat in a new Olympic record 58.17. But Smith quickly erased that with a 57.96 win in the next heat before McKeown wiped both out with a 57.88 to win the final heat.

Not to be outdone, Smith took the record back in semifinals with a 57.86. Masse, Smith, and McKeown will do battle one final time in today’s final. Also keep an eye on Great Britain’s Kathleen Dawson, who is looking to become the fourth woman ever under 58 seconds along with the three world record battlers.

Men’s 100 Back Final

The men’s 100 back is yet another race without an odds-on favorite. American Ryan Murphy is the world record-holder and the defending Olympic champ. His goal is to continue a streak of 6 consecutive U.S. golds in the Olympic 100 back, including the gold Murphy won in 2016.

China’s Xu Jiayu is the two-time defending world champ, flying under the radar outside in lane 7.

Meanwhile Russia has a shot to sweep gold and silver medals with Kliment Kolesnikov and Evgeny Rylovranked #1 and #2 in the world this season heading into the Olympics.

Women’s 100 Breast Final

In contrast, the women’s 100 breast has a much more clear favorite: Lilly King is the world record-holder, defending Olympic champ and two-time defending world champ.

It would be surprising to see King lose this race – but it’s worth noting King was surprisingly… not-brash in her interviews after yesterday’s semifinals when South African Tatjana Schoenmaker bested her head-to-head by 0.33 seconds. The typically-confident King said she expected a tight race with Schoenmaker, who is swimming lights-out so far at these Olympics.

Those two will claim the middle of the pool, with 17-year-old American Lydia Jacoby and Swedish standout Sophie Hansson flanking them. Jacoby and 16-year-old Russian Evgeniia Chikunova have an outside shot to challenge the world junior record (1:04.35) with great swims.

Day 3 Semi-finals Quick Hits

  • In the Women’s 200 free, we’ll get a rematch of the show-stopping 400 free final between Australia’s Ariarne Titmus and the United States’ Katie Ledecky. Titmus will swim the early semifinal, hoping to better her blazing 1:53.0 from Australian Olympic Trials and perhaps challenge a super-suited world record. She lines up against Canadian standout Penny Oleksiak in that heat, with Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey another top threat.
  • Ledecky will go next, leading a slightly-less-loaded second semifinal against Australia’s Madison Wilson.
  • In the Men’s 200 fly, keep a close eye on world record-holder Kristof Milak, who was head and shoulders head of the rest of the field in heats, though Japan’s Daiya Seto (sharing the same semifinal) should be a breakout threat from an outside lane.
  • In the women’s 200 IM, world record-holder Katinka Hosszu battles world junior record-holder Yu Yiting with American Alex Walsh right in the middle of one semi that also includes 400 IM champ Yui Ohashi of Japan. In the second semi, top-qualifying Kate Douglass of the United States looks to hold onto her top spot against Great Britain’s Abbie Wood.

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Meow
1 month ago

Let’s goooo, Lydia!

Oceanian
1 month ago

Very doubtful that Titmus will be ‘hoping to better her 1-53’ PB in the semi. Much more likely to win as comfortably as possible.

There are almost no certainties in this session – will likely be a few surprises.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

I agree. As we have always seen in Titmus past races, she never went full throttle in prelims/semis.

commonwombat
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

Time would not be her prime focus but she would probably not want to give any of her opponents any openings. Being drawn alongside Oleksiak and Haughey may be to her advantage as they may drag her out (ala McKeon at Trials). She clearly has good speed at this meet but she needs to avoid match-racing as this has been what’s brought her unstuck at 2019 Worlds & McKeon at 2017.

jeff
1 month ago

is this Popovici’s first ever final in international competition? really looking forward to seeing that

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

You meant global senior competition?

Yes.

He won golds in European Youth Summer Olympics and European Junior Swimming Championship.

Last edited 1 month ago by Texas Tap Water
Admin
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

Depends on how you define international competition. He made the final at both the European Championships and European Junior Championships earlier this year.

jeff
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

ah yeah my bad, I didn’t count the Euro Juniors but wasn’t aware he was at the European Championships too

Khachaturian
1 month ago

Another day of finals, another day of waking up at 3:30 am

Last edited 1 month ago by Khachaturian
Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

#TeamSchoenmaker

#LydiaJacobi

#AnyoneButLilyKing

dresselgoat
1 month ago

The men’s 100 back is yet another race without an odds-on favorite. American Ryan Murphy is the world record-holder and the defending Olympic champ. His goal is to continue a streak of 6 consecutive U.S. golds in the Olympic 100 back, including the gold Murphy won in 2016.


Wouldn’t that make him the odds-on favorite?

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  dresselgoat
1 month ago

SwimSwam #HumbleBrag

huh
Reply to  dresselgoat
1 month ago

I mean no, not necessarily.

GATOR CHOMP 🐊
Reply to  dresselgoat
1 month ago

I mean, it’s been 5 years since then

HJones
Reply to  dresselgoat
1 month ago

From what we’ve seen, it would be splitting hairs to determine the favorite between Murphy and KK. I’d say 40% Murph gets it, 40% KK, 18% chance either Xu or Rylov wins, and a 2% chance to the rest of the field.

T S
1 month ago

Jesus the women’s 100 back is gonna be a helluva final. Probably another OR at least. I think Reagan takes it, and Masse/McKeon/white battle for 2-4 all within 2 tenths

Not sure how I feel about the men’s. I’m gonna call murph to keep the streak alive, then kolesnikov, then rylov. This all is if for some reason Hunter doesn’t come and take all 3 medals.

Not much to say bout the 100 breast. It will be tight, gonna say king/schoenmaker/jacoby.

T S
Reply to  T S
1 month ago

I forgot the 2 free but I think smith/Scott/sun-woo but I’m not sure of the order. I want that order but it could go any way

Joel
Reply to  T S
1 month ago

Smith – 100 back and 200 free. Doubt it.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

Pssh.

It’s TS. He also said Titmus looked asthmatic, and therefore would lose in 400.

T S
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

Half of everyone who watched that race thought the same thing

Robbos
Reply to  T S
1 month ago

Which half?

M d e
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

The dumb half.

T S
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

There’s 2 smiths, Reagan and Kieran. Not hard

Joel
Reply to  T S
1 month ago

I know. Neither will win I think.

mds
Reply to  T S
1 month ago

She’s clearly not a oddsmaker favorite at this stage of her career, but the Masse/Smith/McKeown shuffling of the Olympic 100 Back record actually starts with another finalist, Emily Seebohm. Her either prelim or semi in London (:58.23) was the OR from which Masse started the merry-go-round this week. She is in the final. Four, not just three, Olympic record setters in this event in this final.

Dean Boxall
Reply to  T S
1 month ago

You must be Australian

Swimingggg
1 month ago

“Ledecky will go next, leading a slightly-less-loaded second semifinal against Australia’s Madison Wilson.”
Pellegrini may only be 15th, but deserves a mention in the second semi as the world record holder, 2008 Olympic champion, 4x world champ and 2x defending world champ in this event. I think she’ll be faster tonight.

Last edited 1 month ago by Swimingggg

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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