Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games

Day Four finals session, which is taking place Wednesday morning, July 28 in Tokyo, will feature three semifinals and five finals, including the first-ever women’s 1500 freestyle final. The International Olympic Committee added three events to the lineup for the 2020 Olympic Games: the women’s 1500 free, the men’s 800 free, and the mixed 4×100 medley relay.

USA’s Katie Ledecky dominated the heats of the women’s 1500 free on Monday evening in Tokyo, setting the first-ever Olympic Record in the event with 15:35.35. Ledecky now owns the 11 fastest times in history. Her latest 15:35.35 ranks 8th and moves Lotte Friis’s 15:38.88 (2013) down to 12th. The 1500 free will be Ledecky’s second final of the night, as she will also contest the 200 free an hour and 13 minutes earlier. That will be a much tougher contest for the American freestyle specialist.

Ledecky heads into the 200 final with the third-fastest qualifying time (1:55.34) behind Australia’s Ariarne Titmus (1:54.82) and Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey (1:55.16). Titmus is looking to take home her second Olympic gold medal, after her stunning performance on Sunday morning in which she touched out Ledecky for the 400 free win.

After the 200 free final, Ledecky will face her competitors in the 1500, trying to hold off challengers Wang Jianjiahe of China (15:41.49 in prelims), American teammate Erica Sullivan (15:46.67), and Italy’s Simona Quadarella (15:47.34).

The women’s 200 individual medley final will feature the current World and Olympic Record-holder Katinka Hosszu of Hungary trying to hold off the young guard en route to defending her title. Hosszu qualified seventh for the final (2:10.22). The middle lanes will be tightly packed with 2:09s. American teammates Kate Douglass and Alex Walsh qualified first and third for the final with 2:09.21 and 2:09.57; Great Britain’s Abbie Wood (2:09.56) was second; World Junior Record-holder Yu Yiting of China, 15, was fourth with 2:09.72; and Yui Ohashi (2:09.79) of Japan, the 6th all-time performer in this event, qualified sixth.

The two men’s finals being contested this morning are the 200 butterfly and the 4×200 freestyle relay. World Record-holder Kristof Milak of Hungary, who missed Michael Phelps’ Olympic Record by .19 in the semifinals, was head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field on Tuesday morning. He qualified through to the final with 1:55.22, more than 1.7 seconds faster than Brazil’s Leonardo de Deus. The next six qualifiers are only separated by .25, with third-place Chad le Clos of South African posting a 1:55.06 and eighth-place Tomoru Honda from Japan going 1:55.31 in semis. While Milak looks to have a lock on Olympic gold, the rest of the podium is wide open.

Great Britain (7:03.25) dominated the heats of men’s 4×200 freestyle relay, qualifying nearly 2 seconds ahead of Australia (7:05.00), Italy (7:05.05), and the Russian Olympic Committee (7:05.16). British swimmers swept gold and silver in the men’s 200 freestyle individual event on Day 3. Tom Dean went 1:44.22 to win the event with a new GBR record, while Duncan Scott was just .04 behind. In heats of the 4×200 relay, James Guy went 1:44.66 while Calum Jarvis was 1:45.53, giving the British squad enough depth to look untouchable.

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

Men’s 100 Freestyle – Semifinals

  • World Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 46.91 (2009)
  • Olympic Record: Eamon Sullivan (AUS) – 47.05 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: David Popovici (ROU) – 47.30 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Kyle Chalmers (AUS) – 47.58
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 100 freestyle
  1. Kliment Kolesnikov (ROC) – 47.11
  2. Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 47.23
  3. Alessandro Miressi (ITA) – 47.52
  4. Hwang Sunwoo (KOR) – 47.56
  5. David Popovici (ROU) – 47.72
  6. Kyle Chalmers (AUS) – 47.80
  7. Nandor Nemeth (HUN) – 47.81
  8. Maxime Grousset (FRA) – 47.82

USA’s Caeleb Dressel shot off the block to lead heat 1 from the outset. He turned first in 22.55, .26 ahead of Italy’s Alessandro Miressi and France’s Maxime Grousset. At the finish, Dressel touched in 47.23 for the fastest time in the world this year. Miressi was second in 47.52. Hwang Sunwoo was third with 47.56, establishing a new Asian Record. Hwang had the fastest second half, coming home in 24.39. 16-year-old David Popovici was fourth with 47.72.

Kliment Kolesnikov of Russia won heat 2 in a blazing 47.11, breaking Alain Bernard’s European Record of 47.12 from 2009 Worlds. Koleksnikov split 22.52/24.59 to go 47.11, versus Bernard’s splits of 22.22/24.90. Australia’s Kyle Chalmers was second in the semifinal with 47.80, touching one .01 ahead of Hungary’s Nandor Nemeth.

Andrei Minakov of Russia, who came in with the 5th-fastest entry time, missed the final. USA’s Zach Apple did not advance, either.


Rank Swimmer Time Date
1 Cesar Cielo (BRA) 46.91 2009
2 Alain Bernard (FRA) 46.94 2009
3 Caeleb Dressel (USA) 46.96 2019
4 Cameron McEvoy (AUS) 47.04 2016
5 Eamon Sullivan (AUS) 47.05 2008
6 Kyle Chalmers (AUS) 47.08 2019
7 James Magnussen (AUS) 47.10 2012
8 Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) 47.11 2021
9 Frederick Bousquet (FRA) 47.15 2009
10 Brent Hayden (CAN) 47.27 2009

Women’s 200 Freestyle – Final

  1. GOLD: Ariarne Titmus (AUS) – 1:53.50
  2. SILVER: Siobhan Haughey (HKG) – 1:53.92
  3. BRONZE: Penny Oleksiak (CAN) – 1:54.70
  4. Yang Junxuan (CHN) – 1:55.01
  5. Katie Ledecky (USA) – 1:55.21
  6. Barbora Seemanova (CZE) – 1:55.45
  7. Federica Pellegrini (ITA) – 1:55.91
  8. Madison Wilson (AUS) – 1:56.39

Ariarne Titmus of Australia picked up her second gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics, taking down the Olympic Record in the 200 free with 1:53.50. Canada’s Penny Oleksiak took it out first, turning at the 50 in 26.40, followed by Yang Junxuan of China and Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong. At the 100 wall, Haughey had taken over, turning at 55.10.

Haughey maintained the lead at the 150, followed by Yang and Titmus, who had moved into third. Titmus closed on Haughey over the final 50 meters, coming from behind to get the touch, as she had done in the 400 free final.

Titmus took down the Olympic Record with 1:53.50, going .11 faster than the time Allison Schmitt swam to win gold in 2012. Haughey finished second, winning Hong Kong’s first-ever medal in swimming. She also broke the Asian Record with her 1:53.92. Oleksiak took the bronze medal with 1:54.70.

Defending champion Katie Ledecky of USA finished 5th in 1:55.21.

Men’s 200 Butterfly – Final

  • 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
  1. GOLD: Kristof Milak (HUN) – 1:51.25
  2. SILVER: Tomoru Honda (JPN) – 1:53.73
  3. BRONZE: Federico Burdisso (ITA) – 1:54.45
  4. Tamas Kenderesi (HUN) – 1:54.52
  5. Chad le Clos (RSA) – 1:54.93
  6. Leonardo de Deus (BRA) – 1:55.19
  7. Gunnar Bentz (USA) – 1:55.46
  8. Krzysztof Chmielewski (POL) – 1:55.88

World Record-holder Kristof Milak of Hungary led wire-to-wire to win the men’s 200 fly final with an Olympic Record of 1:51.25. Milak broke Michael Phelps’ World Record in this event in 2019 and today he replaced Phelps in the Olympic record books, as well.

Milak had an emergency suit change just before the race, as his ripped, but it didn’t take anything out of his performance.

Chad le Clos of South Africa, the 2012 gold medalist in this event, went out hard -as is his style- and turned in second place at the 50. Italy’s Federico Burdisso was third, about half a second behind Milak.

By the 150 wall, Burdisso had taken over second place behind Milak, who was now a body length ahead of the field.

Over the final 50 meters, Tomoru Honda went from fourth to second and Hungary’s Tamas Kenderesi pulled past le Clos. Milak held on for the win. Honda earned a silver medal for the host country, while Italy’s Burdisso claimed the bronze. Le Clos finished fifth behind Kenderesi.

Women’s 200 Butterfly – Semifinals

  • World Record: Liu Zige (CHN) – 2:01.81 (2009)
  • Olympic Record: Jiao Liuyang (CHN) – 2:04.06 (2012)
  • World Junior Record: Suzuka Hasegawa (JPN) – 2:06.29 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) – 2:04.85
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Women’s 200 butterfly
  1. Zhang Yufei (CHN) – 2:04.89
  2. Hali Flickinger (USA) – 2:06.23
  3. Boglarka Kapas (HUN) – 2:06.59
  4. Regan Smith (USA) – 2:06.64
  5. Yu Liyan (CHN) – 2:07.04
  6. Brianna Throssell (AUS) – 2:08.41
  7. Svetlana Chimrova (ROC) – 2:08.62
  8. Alys Thomas (GBR) – 2:09.07

It was a battle between the Americans in semifinal 1 of the women’s 200 butterfly. Regan Smith led through the 150, with teammate Hali Flickinger just behind. Flickinger outsplit Smith over the final 50 meters to win 2:06.23 to 2:06.64. Russia’s Svetlana Chimrova was third in 2:08.62. She passed Alys Thomas of Great Britain down the stretch. Puerto Rico’s Ana Monteiro finished fifth with 2:09.82.

Zhang Yufei of China, the silver medalist in the 100 fly, was out 1.2 seconds faster at the 100 than Smith and Flickinger. She split 58.8/1:06.1 to come to the wall in 2:04.89 for the fastest time overall. That moves her to #10 on the all-time performers list.

Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas moved from 3rd to second over the final 50 meters, pushing pas China’s Yu Liyan. Kapas went 2:06.59, just .06 faster than Smith. Yu came to the wall a full body length ahead of fourth-place Brianna Throssell of Australia (2:08.41).


Rank Swimmer Time Date
1 Liu Zige (CHN) 2:01.81 2009
2 Jessicah Schipper (AUS) 2:03.41 2009
3 Jiao Liuyang (CHN) 2:04.06 2012
4 Mary Descenza (USA) 2:04.14 2009
5 Katinka Hosszú (HUN) 2:04.27 2009
6 Natsumi Hoshi (JPN) 2:04.69 2012
7 Mireia Belmonte García (ESP) 2:04.78 2013
8 Ellen Gandy (GBR) 2:04.83 2009
9 Madeline Groves (AUS) 2:04.88 2016
10 Zhang Yufei (CHN) 2:04.89 2021

Men’s 200 Breaststroke – Semifinals

  • World Record: Anton Chupkov (RUS) – 2:06.12 (2019)
  • Olympic Record: Ippei Watanabe (JPN) – 2:07.22 (2016)
  • World Junior Record: Qin Haiyan (CHN) – 2:07.35 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Dmitriy Balandin (KAZ) – 2:07.46
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 200 breaststroke
  1. Zac Stubblety-Cook (AUS) – 2:07.35
  2. James Wilby (GBR) – 2:07.91
  3. Arno Kamminga (NED) – 2:07.99
  4. Nic Fink (USA) – 2:08.00
  5. Matti Mattson (FIN) – 2:08.22
  6. Ryuya Mura (JPN) – 2:08.27
  7. Anton Chupkov (ROC) – 2:08.54
  8. Erik Persson (SWE) – 2:08.76

Arno Kamminga of Netherlands opened the men’s 200 breast semifinals with a dominant performance from start to finish. He led Erik Persson of Sweden and Ryuya Mura of Japan at the halfway mark. Nic Fink of USA moved to second place at the 150 wall and held his position through to the finish, touching in 2:08.00, just .01 off Kamminga’s 2:07.99. Mura was third in the semifinal with 2:08.27. Eric Persson of Sweden was fourth, and Great Britain’s Ross Murdoch tied France’s Antoine Viquerat for fifth.

The second semi-final saw Great Britain’s James Wilby in front for the first 100 meters. Australia’s Zac Stubblety-Cook moved to take over the lead on the second half; he edged Wilby for the heat win, 2:067.35 to 2:07.91. Matti Mattson of Finland took third with 2:08.22, coming to the wall just .32 ahead of the World Record-holder, Anton Chupkov of Russia (2:08.54).

Women’s 200 Individual Medley – Final

  1. GOLD: Yui Ohashi (JPN) – 2:08.52
  2. SILVER: Alex Walsh (USA) – 2:08.65
  3. BRONZE: Kate Douglass (USA) – 2:09.04
  4. Abbie Wood (GBR) – 2:09.15
  5. Yu Yiting (CHN) – 2:09.57
  6. Sydney Pickrem (CAN) – 2:10.05
  7. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2:12.38
  8. Alicia Wilson (GBR) – 2:12.86

The much-anticipated women’s 200 IM final did not disappoint. Yui Ohashi of Japan won her second IM gold of the Games with a 2:08.52. On Day 1, she won the 400 IM ahead of USA’s Emma Weyant and Hali Flickinger. Once again, Americans took silver and bronze but this time it was Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass.

China’s Yu Yiting was out first with the butterfly, followed by Douglass and Great Britain’s Abbie Wood. Yu held the lead through the backstroke leg, then fell off pace. Walsh took over on the breaststroke, while Douglass moved from sixth to fourth.

Ohashi was second throughout the first 150 meters. She and Walsh battled stroke for stroke over the final 50 meters, but it was Ohashi who got her hand to the wall first. Ohashi came home in 30.75 to Walsh’s 30.95, getting the win by .13.

Women’s 1500 Freestyle – Final

  1. GOLD: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 15:37.34
  2. SILVER: Erica Sullivan (USA) – 15:41.41
  3. BRONZE: Sarah Kohler (GER) – 15:42.91
  4. Wang Jianjiahe (CHN) – 15:46.37
  5. Simona Quadarella (ITA) – 15:53.97
  6. Kiah Melverton (AUS) – 16:00.36
  7. Anastasia Kirpichnikova (RUS) – 16:00.38
  8. Maddy Gough (AUS) – 16:05.81

Katie Ledecky of USA won the inaugural women’s 1500 Olympic gold, an hour and 13 minutes after she competed in the 200 free final. Ledecky is the World Record-holder in this event, and she posted the fastest time in heats with 15:35.35. That established an Olympic Record.

Ledecky got off to a strong start, leading by a body at the 200 and by two body lengths at the 300. China’s Wang Jianjiahe was in second place through the 400, when 2019 World Champion Simona Quadarella of Italy moved from third to take over second place.

It was still Ledecky, Quadarella, and Wang at the 600.

Germany’s Sarah Kohler was fourth through the first 800 meters. She moved into third place at the 850, overtaking Wang. By the 1200, both Kohler and Wang had passed Quadarella but now had to contend with hard-charging Erica Sullivan of the USA.

Sullivan moved to third place at the 1300, then passed Kohler at the 1400. She continued to outpace the field and moved closer to Ledecky. Sullivan and Kohler battled for the silver medal over the final 100 meters but Sullivan came out ahead by a second and a half, going 15:41.41 to Kohler’s 15:42.91.

Ledecky won with 15:37.34, 2 seconds off her Olympic Record. Sullivan made it a USA gold-silver sweep, while Kohler broke the German National Record by some 6 seconds and handed Germany its first pool swimming medal since 2008.

Sullivan and Kohler moved to 5th and 7th on the all-time performers list.


Rank Swimmer Time Date
1 Katie Ledecky (USA) 15:20.48 2018
2 Lotte Friis (DEN) 15:38.88 2013
3 Lauren Boyle (NZL) 15:40.14 2015
4 Simona Quadarella (ITA) 15:40.89 2019
5 Erica Sullivan (USA) 15:41.41 2021
6 Kate Ziegler (USA) 15:42.54 2007
7 Sarah Kohler (GER) 15:42.91 2021
8 Alessia Filippi (ITA) 15:44.93 2009
9 Wang Jianjiahe (CHN) 15:45.59 2020
10 Madeleine Gough (AUS) 15:46.13 2021

Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay – Final

  • World Record: USA (Phelps, Berens, Walters, Lochte) – 6:58.55 (2009)
  • Olympic Record: USA (Phelps, Lochte, Berens, Vanderkaay) – 6:58.56 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: USA (Magahey, Urlando, Mitchell, Foster) – 7:08.37 (2019)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: USA (Dwyer, Haas, Lochte, Phelps) – 7:00.66
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 4×200 freestyle relay
  1. GOLD: Great Britain – 6:58.58
  2. SILVER: Russian Olympic Committee – 7:01.81
  3. BRONZE: Australia – 7:01.84
  4. USA – 7:02.43
  5. Italy – 7:03.24
  6. Switzerland – 7:06.12
  7. Germany – 7:06.51
  8. Brazil – 7:08.22

Top-seeded Great Britain won the 800 free relay in a dominant 6:58.58. They missed the World and Olympic Records by a mere .02 but took down the European Record (6:59.15, set by Russia at the 2009 World Championships) and won Great Britain’s first-ever gold medal in this event.

USA’s Kieran Smith led off with 1:44.74, giving the Americans the lead at the first exchange. Russia’s Martin Malyutin was in second place (1:45.69), .03 ahead of Great Britain’s Tom Dean, who won the 200 free individual event on Day 3.

Great Britain took over the lead on the second leg with a 1:44.40 from James Guy. USA moved to second place, with Drew Kibler just holding off Russia’s Ivan Girev.

Matthew Richards kept Great Britain out front over the third 200. Russia held onto second place with Evgeny Rylov, while Filippo Megli took Italy past USA for the third position.

Duncan Scott brought it home for Great Britain in 1:43.45. Mikhail Dovgalyuk anchored for Russia in 1:45.23, holding off Australia’s Thomas Neill (1:44.74) for the silver medal by three hundredths.


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Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Another correction.
GB was 0.03s off the world record in the men’s 4X200 free relay final.
I wrote 0.02s.

Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Erica Sullivan will go to Texas in college.
I wrote USC. It was her initial choice but she decommitted.

2 years ago

Despite the “Götterdämmerung” (Seto, Hosszu) all (so far) three IM brought exciting finals. Double congratulations to Ohashi, and to two young Virginia girls, as well as to the medallists in the 400 IMs.
From the Hungarian side, congratulations to the novice M-Farkas Viktoria, and special congratulation to the Veteran Verraszto, who at age of 32-33 was so close to a medal.  

Reply to  octopus
2 years ago

Well seto is third going into the finals for the 2im so not too bad

2 years ago

Something went wrong for Hosszu in addition to the inevitable age. It was sad to see her struggle far behind. I expected a bronze, which would have been a more proper finish on her (likely) last Olympics. We’ll see how much she can rebound for the ISL season.

2 years ago

I don’t really get this obsession with the “what if someone but Apple had swam, the US would’ve won [insert medal]”. It’s not like all the countries finishing above (and below) the US had 4 perfect legs.. you can’t argue an “all else equal” in good faith in sports (or really anywhere else in life lol).. Off swims happen, bad coaching choices happen (again in every country – still have no clue why NEDs relay had Kira Toussaint on it and not Steenbergen, or why the Brits went with what they did in the 4×100 series). You can’t win them all, and you win *so many*. I think it’s exciting to see a more diverse set of countires win medals… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Koen
2 years ago

Can Greg Meehan finally get the recognition he deserves…..he did a terrible coaching job preparing his athletes.
Manuel not even in the 100 final AT TRIALS.
Ledecky not even on the podium in the 200, doesn’t claim gold 400.

Former Big10
Reply to  kolo
2 years ago

It’s shocking that top female recruits are still committing to Stanford. The downward spiral is more than a trend, at this point, and Greg needs to do some serious self-reflection. The team, as a whole, is weak. Legit non-medal threats in more events than I can ever remember. This is the worst Olympic meet, from the USA, in a long, long time.

Reply to  kolo
2 years ago

Not to mention Ella Eastin was in bad physical shape even before her career-ending illness because of overtraining. He owes it to his swimmers to rethink his program. If I were a Stanford commit, I’d be outta there unless I got reassurance that he’s taking this seriously.

Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Quick day 4 thoughts

Oh boy, once again that start of Dressel. 😯 I should be used to it but no, it always amazes me. It’s so unfair to his rivals. 🙂
Ok, so I want to thank Kolesnikov for making the final much more interesting than expected. Let’s hope he has not put all his eggs in semifinal. If not, at least we’ll have someone close to Dressel or even slightly ahead of him at the half-race. And Dressel is not used to that. But maybe Dressel has the plan to go much faster in the first 50, let’s say around 22.2. If we can legitimely wonder if Kolesnikov has shown all his… Read more »

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Loving all your great comments about the Australian swimmers!!!! Just loving it.

Reply to  Robbos
2 years ago

Yeah… maybe he’s forgotten the land down under. 4 gold so far . 9 medals

Reply to  Joel
2 years ago

Very dismissive of Chamers, Titmus & poor old Zac & 4×200 Aussie team, doesn’t even get a mention, interesting if not downright well not interesting.

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Bobo, Erica Sullivan is headed to Texas not USC anymore. I think it was announced when you were on hiatus from Swimswam.

2 years ago

Please don’t downvote me but here is what I think happened to Simone and Ledecky. They were the only 2 swimmers that managed to properly train through lockdown last year in a 25 yard pool or because of lockdowns Greg got them training a bit more when they returned to training to make up for lost time. They are both paying for it now but they both looked really fast towards the end of 2020 and at the beginning of the year. Because Ledecky is so dominant it didn’t appear at trials as it did for Simone. Also sprint events are more closely contested, so the slightest slip up and you lose. I think they have both been over trained.… Read more »

M d e
Reply to  Ttt
2 years ago

Ledecky had the 2nd best 400 of her career.

She just isn’t 15:20 Ledecky anymore, it’s ok, hard to stay as good as she is after such a long time, let alone as good as she was.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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