Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap


Tonight’s four prelims events will feature all four reigning world record-holders.

The women’s 200 free is the highlight, because the world record-holder doesn’t come in as the gold medal favorite. Italy’s Federica Pellegrini has been a staple of the world swimming stage in this event winning World Championships medals in 2009 (gold), 2011 (gold), 2013 (silver), 2015 (silver), 2017 (gold) and 2019 (gold). Despite that decade of dominance and her world record from 2009, Pellegrini comes into the event trailing Australia’s Ariarne Titmusa 20-year-old breakout star who went 1:53.0 at Australian Olympic Trials to rattle Pellegrini’s 12-year-old record.

And you can’t count out 2016 Olympic champ Katie Ledecky of the United States. Titmus, Pellegrini, and Ledecky will lead the three circle-seeded heats tonight.

Ledecky will swim twice in the session – she’s also the top seed and gold medal favorite in the 1500 free, where she’s the runaway world record-holder.

In between, Hungary’s Kristof Milak heads the 200 fly, where he broke Michael Phelps’ world record back at the 2019 World Championships. And in the 200 IM, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu is the world record-holder and reigning Olympic champ. She’s won four consecutive world titles in the event.

Women’s 200 freestyle

  • World Record: Federica Pellegrini (ITA) – 1:52.98 (2009)
  • Olympic Record: Allison Schmitt (USA) – 1:53.61 (2012)
  • World Junior Record: Yang Junxuan (CHN) – 1:55.43 (2019)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 1:53.73
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Women’s 200 freestyle

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Katie Ledecky (USA) – 1:55.28
  2. Penny Oleksiak (CAN) – 1:55.38
  3. Madison Wilson (AUS) – 1:55.87
  4. Ariarne Titmus (AUS) – 1:55.88
  5. Summer McIntosh (CAN) – 1:56.11
  6. Yang Junxuan (CHN) – 1:56.17
  7. Barbora Seemanova (CZE) – 1:56.38
  8. Siobhan Haughey (HKG) – 1:56.48
  9. Isabel Gose (GER) – 1:56.80
  10. Charlotte Bonnet (FRA) – 1:56.88
  11. Freya Anderson (GBR) – 1:56.96
  12. Allison Schmitt (USA) – 1:57.10
  13. Annika Bruhn (GER) – 1:57.15
  14. Erika Fairweather (NZL) – 1:57.26
  15. Federica Pellegrini (ITA) – 1:57.33
  16. Valeriia Salamatina (ROC) – 1:58.33

There were no earth-shattering times in heats of the women’s 200 free, but the event was probably faster than it could have been, with so many of this morning’s 400 free finalists returning to qualify here. Katie Ledecky is coming off of her first-ever individual loss in an Olympic final, and she bounced back nicely with the top time in heats.

Ledecky was 1:55.28, only about a tenth slower than she went at U.S. Trials in the final. She’s still about six-tenths of a second off her season-best of 1:54.44 from the Mission Viejo Pro Swim Series.

Both Canadians had nice swims. Penny Oleksiak broke 1:56 for the first time in her career, qualifying second behind Ledecky. And 14-year-old Summer McIntosh cut almost a tenth of a second to finish 5th.

Australia will also advance two to the semifinals. Madison Wilson went 1:55.87 and 400 free gold medalist Ariarne Titmus 1:55.88, joining Ledecky and Oleksiak as the only swimmers under 1:56 in heats.

Most of the top contenders moved on, though two-time defending world champ Federica Pellegrini of Italy barely snuck in in 15th. She was still a full second from missing semis, though, as the depth dropped off precipitously.

6 of the 8 swimmers in last night’s 400 free final competed in this event. Titmus, Ledecky, McIntosh, Isabel Gose and Erika Fairweather all moved on, while China’s Li Bingjie missed semis in 20th. She was the 13th seed coming in.

Men’s 200 butterfly

  • World Record: Kristof Milak (HUN) – 1:50.73 (2019)
  • Olympic Record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:52.03 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Kristof Milak (HUN) – 1:52.71 (2018)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:53.36
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 200 butterfly

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Kristof Milak (HUN) – 1:53.58
  2. Kuan-Hung Wang (TPE) – 1:54.44
  3. Leonardo de Deus (BRA) – 1:54.83
  4. Zach Harting (USA) – 1:54.92
  5. Noe Ponti (SUI) – 1:55.05
  6. Tomoru Honda (JPN) – 1:55.10
  7. Federico Burdisso (ITA) – 1:55.14
  8. Tamas Kenderesi (HUN) – 1:55.18
  9. Daiya Seto (JPN) – 1:55.26
  10. Giacomo Carini (ITA) – 1:55.33
  11. Gunnar Bentz (USA) – 1:55.46
  12. Aleksandr Kudashev (ROC) – 1:55.54
  13. Krzysztof Chmielewski (POL) – 1:55.77
  14. Louis Croenen (BEL) – 1:55.78
  15. Leon Marchand (FRA) – 1:55.85
  16. Chad le Clos (RSA) – 1:55.96

Hungary’s Kristof Milak wasted no time in reminding everyone just how dominant he has become in this event. Milak blew out the prelims field in 1:53.58, a time that ranks just outside the top 25 performances of all-time.

Milak, of course, owns the fastest performance of all-time with his world-record swim from the 2019 World Championships. The 21-year-old is heavily favored to win tomorrow night’s final for his first Olympic medal of any kind. He’s now only about a second and a half off the Olympic record held by Michael Phelps.

Kuan-Hung Wangknown to many as Eddie Wang of the ISL, set a new national record for Taipei, going 1:54.44. That was part of a flood of national records here, including a Swiss record for Noe Ponti (1:55.05) and a Norwegian record for Tomoe Hvas (1:56.30).

Joining Milak and Wang under 1:55 this morning were Brazil’s Leonardo de Deus (1:54.83) and Team USA’s Zach Harting (1:54.92). Both were lifetime-bests. De Deus cut a few hundredths from his own career-best time and is now about seven-tenths off the national record.

Harting managed to get faster in each of his three swims at U.S. Olympic Trials (1:55.3/1:55.2/1:55.0) without hitting a personal best. But his swim tonight was his first time ever under 1:55, bettering his 1:55.06 from 2018.

The youngest semifinalist will be Poland’s Krzysztof Chmielewski, who is just 17. He was 13th in 1:55.77.

Women’s 200 individual medley

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Kate Douglass (USA) – 2:09.16
  2. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2:09.70
  3. Abbie Wood (GBR) / Alex Walsh (USA) – 2:09.94
  4. Maria Ugolkova (SUI) – 2:10.04
  5. Sydney Pickrem (CAN) – 2:10.13
  6. Anastasia Gorbenko (ISR) – 2:10.21
  7. Yu Yiting (CHN) – 2:10.22
  8. Alicia Wilson (GBR) – 2:10.39
  9. Yui Ohashi (JPN) – 2:10.77
  10. Cyrielle Duhamel (FRA) – 2:11.11
  11. Miho Teramura (JPN) – 2:11.22
  12. Ilaria Cusinato (ITA) – 2:11.41
  13. Sara Franceschi (ITA) – 2:11.47
  14. Kim Seoyeong (KOR) – 2:11.54
  15. Kristyna Horska (CZE) – 2:12.21

Compared to the last two Olympic Games, heats of this event were much less explosive at the top – but also much deeper.

In 2012, 2:08.9 was the top prelims time. In 2016, it was a then-Olympic-record 2:07.4. Tonight, no one broke 2:09, though four women were under 2:10. But on the flip side, it took 2:12.2 to make the semifinals his time around, compared to 2:14.2 in 2012 and 2:13.0 in 2012.

It’s American Kate Douglass leading the way in 2:09.16. That was a drop of two-tenths from her career-best. Douglass got consistently faster from heats to semis to finals at U.S. Trials, so there’s reason to believe she’s got a 2:08 coming later this week. Her college teammate Alex Walsh is also in the top four, tying for third with Great Britain’s Abbie Wood.

Defending Olympic champ Katinka Hosszu missed out on a title defense in the 400 IM, but this event probably suits her better at age 32. She and Maria Ugolkova (also 32) are the clear veterans of the field, with the next-oldest swimmers in the semis a solid five years younger. (Kim Seoyeong is 27 and Miho Teramura 26). Hosszu went 2:09.70 and qualified second. Ugolkova broke a Swiss national record in 2:10.04 to qualify 5th.

Tomorrow morning, keep an eye on China’s Yu Yiting, the 15-year-old world junior record-holder who was six-tenths off her WJR this morning. She sits 8th into semis. 400 IM champ Yui Ohashi of Japan should be another major factor, sitting further back in the field in 10th.

Women’s 1500 freestyle

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Katie Ledecky (USA) – 15:35.35
  2. Wang Jianjiahe (CHN) – 15:41.49
  3. Erica Sullivan (USA) – 15:46.67
  4. Simona Quadarella (ITA) – 15:47.34
  5. Anastasia Kirpichnikova (RUS) – 15:50.22
  6. Sarah Kohler (GER) – 15:52.67
  7. Maddy Gough (AUS) – 15:56.81
  8. Kiah Melverton (AUS) – 15:58.96

Katie Ledecky handled the second half of her 200 free/1500 free double just fine, going 15:35.35 to easily pace the field in the 1500. That’s the #8 performance of all-time in the event, giving Ledecky the top 11 swims in history. The fastest non-Ledecky swim in the women’s 1500 is a 15:38.88 from Lotte Friis back in 2013.

China’s Wang Jianjiahe could challenge that Friis swim in the final later this week. The Chinese 19-year-old went 15:41.49 to break her own Chinese and Asian records in the event. That registers as the #18 swim of all-time and moves Wang up to the #5 performer of all-time. She was the #7 performer of all-time heading into the meet.

With this event joining the Olympic program for the first time, the Olympic record went down five times in five heats. Canada’s Katrina Bellio won the three-swimmer opening heat to officially set the first Olympic record at 16:24.37. One heat later, Marlene Kahler of Austria went 16:20.05 to lower it before Hungary’s Viktoria Mihalyvari-Farkas dropped it to 16:02.26 one heat later.

Then two Americans lowered it in consecutive heats to close out the event and the session. Erica Sullivan went 15:46.67 to win heat 4 and lower the record – she remained #3 overall after all the heats and should be a medal contender in the final. Ledecky’s 15:35.35 win in the final heat set the Olympic record a fifth time.

2019 World champ Simona Quadarella is into the final in fourth, seven seconds off her best time. Between Ledecky, Quadarella and Wang, this final should feature three of the top five performers of all-time, and the final could finish with the top three of all-time if Quadarella can cut about two seconds from her best time and if Wang can drop three from today’s heats.

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Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free
1 month ago

Expecting Abbie Wood to be strong today…

1 month ago

Will ledecky take revenge in 200m free against titmus ?

Max Hardie
Reply to  Gladstone
1 month ago

No way in 200, maybe in 800.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Gladstone
1 month ago

Agree, she doesn’t have the speed of Titmus in the 200. Silver is the most likely outcome.

Reply to  Gladstone
1 month ago

i think katie has a better 200 in her than most expect..

1 month ago

Tough day for Ledecky.
Hard, hard 400 free this morning
Tonight 200 & the 1500 prelims.
Tough lady.

Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

Honestly I’m surprised how many people want her to drop the 200. She’s so far ahead in the 1500 that the 200 is not going to make any difference. She is guaranteed gold.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

. She is kicking less & less & that makes me happy . Kicking should be banned.

reliable source
Reply to  Corn Pop
1 month ago

bruh what

Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

Amazing, she does so easy!

1 month ago

It’s a very tough double, to have a 200m final and then about an hour later the 1500, especially after a tough 400.

Reply to  Ger
1 month ago

All in a single day without a sleep in between. At least with the traditional format, she’d have gotten a sleep in after the 400m final. Thanks, NBC and $$$

Li Shu
Reply to  ice
1 month ago

why can’t she just take a nap?

Reply to  ice
1 month ago

I thought I heard she took a 4hr nap.

Reply to  Ger
1 month ago

She’s going to top the 1500 heat for sure.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Ger
1 month ago

Yes, AND she used to do it at Stanford regularly, the 200 & the 1000. She is tough.

1 month ago

Wonder if Titmus could do something super fast this evening.

The evening races seem quicker (certainly compared to heats usually) and she must be riding a huge wave of confidence from the morning swim.

Reply to  Togger
1 month ago

Doubt she will do anything more than qualify comfortably.

Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

Based on what she did in 400 prelims and how she swam the final, she seems to have her tactics down and is swimming really smart races. I’d guess an easy 155 in semis and then right around a WR in finals.

Reply to  Togger
1 month ago

I hope she saves it from the final.

Reply to  Togger
1 month ago

This is the evening swims ….semis and finals in the morning

Gen D
Reply to  Stephen
1 month ago

i’m quite sure this is referring to the 200 FR heats

1 month ago

What’s the deal with the rescheduling!?

Reply to  Swammer
1 month ago

It’s just a Tokyo website glitch – ignore it

Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

Honestly the swimming section on the Olympic site is not really user friendly

Ray Bosse
Reply to  Swimmer
1 month ago

I agree!!

Gen D
Reply to  Swammer
1 month ago

it could be because the heats are running a few minutes late vs what is scheduled

1 month ago

Will be a bit of a let-down after those finals earlier. Still – bring it on!

Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago


1 month ago

Interested to see how Wilson is in the 200 after being slower in the 4×100 than trials.

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

I wondered that too. Thank goodness she turned out just fine

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

1:55.87 is great. Not far of her PB.

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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