Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap


It’ll be one of the busier prelims sessions of the 2020 Summer Olympics, and it all kicks off with perhaps the highlight race on the men’s side.

Two-time defending world champ Caeleb Dressel will take on defending Olympic champ Kyle Chalmers in the 100 free – though they won’t go head-to-head yet this morning.

Dressel is the #3 performer of all-time in the event and the fastest ever in textile. He was 46.96 at the 2019 World Championships – watch his prelims swim today to see one of swimming’s best starts and some elite underwater kicking.

Chalmers is the #6 performer of all-time and #3 in textile. His Olympic win five years ago featured the best second-half split we’ve ever seen, and Chalmers should be closing like a freight train in his circle-seeded heat.

The event should be very deep and very exciting, including Italian star Alessandro Miressi and Russian standouts Kliment Kolesnikov and Andrei Minakov.

The women’s 200 fly is an extremely small field, with just 17 entries heading into the meet prior to day-of scratches. China’s Zhang Yufei is the favorite, coming off of a silver medal performance in the 100 fly. Americans Hali Flickinger and backstroke superstar Regan Smith will lead circle-seeded heats.

Two-time defending world champ and world record-holder Anton Chupkov leads the 200 breast heats for Russia, looking to bounce back from a disappointing 100 breast. Australia’s Zac Stubblety-Cook will look to carry momentum off of his huge performance at Australian Olympic Trials, a swim that put him #2 all-time behind only Chupkov.

Bounce-backs will be a theme today: Great Britain will look for redemption from their 4×100 free relay, which missed the final. They’re gold medal contenders in the 4×200, with Australia leading the heats and Russia also looking for a bounce-back after struggling and missing the medals in the 4×100.

The session will conclude with the 800 free, where Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri looked like an unstoppable force earlier this year before coming down with mono in the leadup to Tokyo. Norway’s Henrik Christiansen was the silver medalist behind Paltrinieri at 2019 Worlds.

Keep refreshing this page for live, event-by-event recaps of tonight’s (local time; morning in the U.S.) qualifying heats.

Men’s 100 freestyle – Prelims

  • 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

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Thomas Ceccon (ITA) – 47.71
  2. Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 47.73
  3. Kyle Chalmers (AUS) – 47.77
  4. Alessandro Miressi (ITA) – 47.83
  5. Kliment Kolesnikov (ROC) – 47.89
  6. Hwang Sunwoo (KOR) – 47.97
  7. Andrei Minakov (ROC) – 48.00
  8. David Popovici (ROU) – 48.03
  9. Nandor Nemeth (HUN) – 48.11
  10. Yuri Kisil (CAN) – 48.15
  11. Zach Apple (USA) – 48.16
  12. Maxime Grousset (FRA) – 48.25
  13. Andrej Barna (SRB) – 48.30
  14. Joshua Liendo (CAN) – 48.34
  15. Roman Mityukov (SUI) – 48.43
  16. Jacob Whittle (GBR) – 48.44

Yesterday’s 100 back silver medalist Kliment Kolesnikov took over the top spot here in the early circle-seeded heat, going 47.89. But the heats just kept getting faster and faster, eventually bumping Kolesnikov to just fifth.

Things are very tightly-packed, though, with the top six all within the 47.7-47.9 range. One heat after Kolesnikov, defending Olympic champ Kyle Chalmers rocked a 47.77 to take over the top spot. Chalmers has notoriously good closing speed, and split 23.1/24.5 this morning.

It was the final heat that gave us three of the top five qualifiers. Italy’s Thomas Ceccon ran down defending world champ Caeleb Dressel with a 24.7 back half to win the heat. Ceccon was 47.71, his first time ever breaking 48 seconds. Dressel finished second in the heat and sits second overall, and Alessandro Miressi also joined the top five out of that heat.

The other swimmer under 48 was Korean youngster Hwang Sun-woo, who went 47.97 to break his own Korean national record and take it below 48 for the first time ever.

A few other notes: Kolesnikov had the best opening split of the field (22.72). While Chalmers had a tight split between his two 50s, it was actually Romania’s David Popovici who had the closest splits at 23.6/24.4. The 16-year-old Popovici is the world junior record-holder.

After his 46.6 relay heroics, American Zach Apple was just 48.16 here, but still easily made the semifinals.

Great Britain’s Matthew Richards was a no-show, saving up his energy for Great Britain’s 4×200 free relay which he will lead off later this session. Japan’s Katsumi Nakamura just missed the semifinals in 17th at 48.48. A few other key names missing out include 23rd-place Mehdy Metella of France, 24th-place Cameron McEvoy of Australia and 25th-place Pedro Spajari of Brazil.

Women’s 200 Butterfly – Prelims

  • 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

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Zhang Yufei (CHN) – 2:07.50
  2. Hali Flickinger (USA) – 2:08.31
  3. Yu Liyan (CHN) – 2:08.36
  4. Regan Smith (USA) – 2:08.46
  5. Boglarka Kapas (HUN) – 2:08.58
  6. Svetlana Chimrova (ROC) – 2:08.84
  7. Laura Stephens (GBR) – 2:09.00
  8. Alys Thomas (GBR) – 2:09.06
  9. Brianna Throssell (AUS) – 2:09.34
  10. Helena Bach (DEN) – 2:09.37
  11. Fraziska Hentke (GER) – 2:09.98
  12. Defne Tacyildiz (TUR) – 2:10.00
  13. Suzuka Haswegawa (JPN) – 2:10.43
  14. Ana Monteiro (POR) – 2:11.45
  15. Remedy Rule (PHI) – 2:12.23
  16. Julimar Avila (HON) – 2:15.36

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu was a no-show in this event, a somewhat-expected move given she would have had a tough 200 fly/200 IM double in tomorrow’s finals session. But that move was significant for a 17-swimmer field in that a Hosszu no-show allowed every swimmer to automatically make semifinals as long as they avoided a prelims DQ.

As such, we saw a pretty casual morning session in this event, without a ton of blowout times. China’s Zhang Yufei is the favorite after taking silver in the 100 fly, and she easily paced the morning heats in 2:07.50, going out more than two seconds faster than anyone in any prelims heat at 59.1 for her 100 split.

Hali Flickinger cruised a pretty consistent 2:08.31. She actually had a better final 50 split than Zhang did at 33.3. (Zhang was 34.7 while clearly shutting it down late).

Both of their Olympic teammates qualified third and fourth, giving China (Yu Liyan) and the United States (100 back bronze medalist Regan Smith) the entire top four qualifiers. In tomorrow’s semifinals, the two Americans will take the middle of heat 1 and the two Chinese swimmers the middle of heat 2.

Hungary still has a medal threat even without Hosszu: Boglarka Kapas was 2:08.58 for fifth.

Men’s 200 breaststroke – Prelims

  • 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

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Zac Stubblety-Cook (AUS) / Arno Kamminga (NED) – 2:07.37
  2. Matti Mattson (FIN) – 2:08.44
  3. Nic Fink (USA) – 2:08.48
  4. Anton Chupkov (ROC) – 2:08.54
  5. Erik Persson (SWE) – 2:08.76
  6. Dmitriy Balandin (KAZ) – 2:08.99
  7. Ryuya Mura (JPN) – 2:09.00
  8. Kirill Prigoda (ROC) – 2:09.21
  9. Matthew Wilson (AUS) – 2:09.29
  10. Shoma Sato (JPN) – 2:09.43
  11. Antoine Viquerat (FRA) – 2:09.54
  12. Andrius Sidlauskas (LTU) – 2:09.56
  13. Lyubomir Epitropov (BUL) – 2:09.68
  14. James Wilby (GBR) – 2:09.70
  15. Ross Murdoch (GBR) – 2:09.95

The final heat was by far the fastest, really shaking up the order with 6 of the 8 swimmers in the final heat making the semifinals. And that didn’t even include China’s Qin Haiyang, who tied for the win in that heat at 2:08.48 but took a DQ.

One heat earlier, Australia’s Zac Stubblety-Cook tied with the Netherlands’ Arno Kamminga, with both men going 2:07.37 for the fastest times of the morning. Kamminga got it done in the front half with a 1:00.94 split at the 100 (best in the field), but Stubblety-Cook roared back with a 1:04.78 split over the back 100.

Matti Mattson was two-tenths off his Finnish record at 2:08.44, and sits third. Nic Fink won that hotly-contested final heat in 2:08.48, and he sits just ahead of two-time world champ and world record-holder Anton Chupkov.

American Andrew Wilson was the top swimmer to miss the semifinals, going 2:09.97 for 17th. (That’s just .02 out of 16th). ISL 200 breast dominator Marco Koch of Germany (2:10.18) also missed the semifinals.

Men’s 4×200 freestyle relay – Prelims

  • 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

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Great Britain – 7:03.25
  2. Australia – 7:05.00
  3. Italy – 7:05.05
  4. Russian Olympic Committee – 7:05.16
  5. USA – 7:05.62
  6. Switzerland – 7:06.59
  7. Germany – 7:06.76
  8. Brazil – 7:07.73

The British men are looking as dominant here as the Australian women have been in the 4×100 free relay – and that’s saying something.

The Brits won tonight’s heats by nearly two full seconds, and they didn’t use 200 free silver medalist Duncan Scott, who is a very likely 1:44 split. 200 free gold medalist Tom Dean went 1:46.7 on his leg, but is expected to be much, much faster in the final when Great Britain should be chasing gold and perhaps a sub-7:00 time.

It was a great morning for Great Britain, though, because even with Dean cruising, the relay found yet another 1:44 leg: James Guy split 1:44.66 swimming second this morning to stake GBR to a huge lead. Here’s a look at the splits in heats:

  • Matthew Richards – 1:46.35
  • James Guy – 1:44.66
  • Calum Jarvis – 1:45.53
  • Tom Dean – 1:46.71

It’s worth noting that Jarvis’s solid split came with a 0.11 reaction time, a somewhat-risky relay exchange for this relay in particular. Scott should join this relay in the final in place of either Richards or Jarvis, and the team has a real shot to have three 1:44-or-better legs. It’s difficult to have all four legs swim their best on the same day, but if Dean (1:44.22) and Scott (1:44.26) can match their gold and silver winning times from this morning and Guy can repeat his 1:44.6 split, then Great Britain could legitimately challenge the world record if Jarvis can roughly match his 1:45.5 leg.

Australia sits second, getting a 1:45.5 anchor from Zac IncertiThey should add Kyle Chalmers and perhaps Thomas Neill for the final. Mack Horton splitting just 1:47.5 in heats (slowest of the relay) probably keeps him off the team in the final even though he was the best split (1:44.8) on Australia’s World Championships gold relay in 2019.

European Championships bronze medalists Italy got near-identical 1:45.6 splits from Matteo Ciampi and Filippo Megli to go 7:05.05. Megli was not on this relay at Euros, but he probably swam his way onto the team with this morning’s split. They should add Stefano Ballo (1:45.8 twice in the individual 200) with a shot to go at least a second faster.

Russia won the Euros gold over Italy, but they lost to Italy in a head-to-head heats battle this morning. Ivan Girev split 1:45.7 for Russia, but we’d expect to see a very different lineup in the final tomorrow.

The United States went 7:05.62, taking just 5th of the relays in the heats. They’ll have the potential to swim an entirely new lineup for the final, and they may need to. Drew Kibler‘s 1:46.1 leadoff was probably the best swim of the prelims four. Andrew Seliskar split 1:46.1 from a flying start. Blake Pieroni didn’t make the Olympic team in this event, but got the nod for a prelims leg; his 1:46.2 split probably isn’t enough to book a finals spot.

Olympic 200 free finalist Kieran Smith should join the relay for finals, along with semifinalist Townley Haas. Olympic Trials 5th-placer Zach Apple could swim the final, but doesn’t have to like relay-only entrants would. Caeleb Dressel would be the biggest gamble option. Both Dressel and Apple will swim the individual 100 free semifinals earlier in the session.

Other notable splits from around the field:

  • Switzerland made the final on a 1:45.8 anchor leg from Roman Mityukov. The quartet set a new national record and will get a shot to re-set it in the final.
  • Germany had 1:45.5 from Jacob Heidtmann and 1:45.8 from Poul Zellman.
  • Brazil also made the final on a 1:46.0 from Fernando Scheffer.
  • China missed the final in 9th, with two late 1:46 splits unable to overcome some struggles early in the relay.
  • Hungary took a DQ, but they had also swum a pretty “off” lineup compared to their national record-setting swim from earlier this year. Kristof Milak and Nandor Nemeth did not swim in the heats of the relay this morning.
  • Katsuhiro Matsumoto was 1:45.3 for Japan, which took 12th.
  • Jack McMillan broke the Irish record leading off Ireland’s relay in 1:46.66.

Men’s 800 freestyle – Prelims

  • World Record: Zhang Lin (CHN) – 7:32.12 (2009)
  • Olympic Record: N/A
  • World Junior Record: Mack Horton (AUS) – 7:45.67 (2013)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: N/A
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 800 freestyle

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) – 7:41.28
  2. Florian Wellbrock (GER) – 7:41.77
  3. Bobby Finke (USA) – 7:42.72
  4. Felix Auboeck (AUT) – 7:45.73
  5. Guilherme Costa (BRA) – 7:46.09
  6. Jack McLoughlin (AUS) – 7:46.94
  7. Serhii Frolov (UKR) – 7:47.67
  8. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) – 7:47.73

The session ends with the brand-new Olympic event on the men’s side. The new Olympic spotlight clearly came with an increased focus for many top distance swimmers, and we saw a flood of national records in heats of this race. In fact, every swimmer in the top 5 broke a national record this morning.

Ukrainian Mykhailo Romanchuk is the top qualifier at 7:41.28. He broke his own national record of 7:42.49, previously set at an in-season meet in 2019. Ukraine will be the only nation with two finalists in the first-ever men’s 800 free final, with Serhii Frolov also making the cut.

Florian Wellbrock broke the German record in second place, just a half-second back of Romanchuk. Bobby Finke broke the American record that had stood since 2013; he’s third heading into the final and solidly ahead of the rest of the pack.

Felix Auboeck took down his own Austrian record and Guilherme Costa broke both the Brazilian and South American records in fifth place.

The top swimmer to not break his nation’s record was Australia’s Jack McLoughlin, who has a guy named Grant Hackett to contend with.

A few notable finals misses: Italy’s Gabriele Detti (a former world champ in this race) is out, sitting 12th in 7:49.47. His teammate Gregorio Paltrinieri snuck in via 8th place. Paltrinieri is battling mono this summer, but was the 2019 world champ in this race.

Henrik Christiansenwho took silver at Worlds behind Paltrinieri in 2019, also missed the final, taking 9th in 7:47.73 – he was just .06 away from making the cut. Breakout 400 free Olympic gold medalist Ahmed Hafnaoui finished in a tie for 10th in 7:49.14, also just outside of the final.

Daniel Wiffen gave Ireland its second national record in as many events, going 7:51.65 to win an early heat, though he didn’t make the final.

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Murphy is my dad
1 year ago

Yufei doesn’t keep her feet together when she swims fly
*ducks to avoid the downvotes*

A Fan
1 year ago

Are they going to keep Andrew Seliskar in the final team for the 4×200?

Reply to  A Fan
1 year ago

We don’t know for sure, but it seems very unlikely.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Kibler or Dressel?

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

I don’t think it’s unlikely. I doubt Apple or Dressel are pulling double duty. They simply haven’t shown that that’s the smart move. Seli was the second best split and way over swam it. I say he’s on it

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

does this IG post counted as source?

“SELI! Finals bound.

Andrew Seliskar (1:46.17 split) helped @TeamUSA advance to the 4×200 freestyle relay final as the fifth seed (7:05.62). They’ll be back in action with medals on the line tonight.”

I just checked nbcolympics but the start list has not been posted there.. 3 hours to go!

Last edited 1 year ago by Spectatorn
Reply to  Spectatorn
1 year ago

I mean…I don’t know how much time you’ve spent working with college swimming SIDs, but most of them don’t understand the nuance to know what they just said.

But, I guess we’ll see!

1 year ago

How is the absurd amount of dead heats registered on lane 4/5 is not getting more attention? It must’ve been the 4th time now that it has happened… Imo there’s clearly some sort of malfunction going on

Reply to  socalkook
1 year ago

Were those the lanes McKeon and that Chinese swimmer were in when they tied in the 100 Fly prelims? Because McKeon visibly touched first. I know there’s a pressure threshold, etc., but the system should be able to differentiate such visibly staggered touches.

Reply to  M L
1 year ago

Yes they were. And yes I agree.

Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

GB will easily win the 4X200 free relay and can break the world record.
I doubt USA will use Dressel in final the day before the 100 free final.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Meh. Australia will put Chalmers in 4×200 final

Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 year ago

But he is way better than Dressel over 200, and AUS has more to gain with him swimming (considering this evening semi) than the USA using Dressel

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

We’ve seen him do much tougher triples. Just short of 2 hours b/n his semi and the relay final, nothing in the evening, then a full night’s rest before the 100 final. Those 70k weeks with Troy have him more than ready.

1 year ago

As if I needed another reason to dislike Hosszu. She couldn’t have scratched earlier to give the other 16 swimmers a break from swimming in prelims? Ridiculous

Reply to  lightning
1 year ago

Hungary had another athlete that could have swam it too

Reply to  anonymous
1 year ago

Hungary have actually many athletes who could swim but none of them would have been a contender for the final😁

Reply to  lightning
1 year ago

It wouldn’t matter as they still had to swim for the lane allocation. ( as the first two of both semis are automatically in final the allocation of the swimmers must be equal for the two semis)

1 year ago

News out of Australia tonight confirms Matt Wilson has been battling illness and injuries the past 18 months. Goes a way to explaining his form recently.

Reply to  Kelsey
1 year ago


Reply to  Jackman
1 year ago

The Australian’s Olympic coverage

Reply to  Kelsey
1 year ago

That’s hard luck going into an Olympic year.

1 year ago

Under the radar: Young Swede Victor Johanson in the 800 Free. Grabs the NR+OR (for 30 minutes) but fails to Q for the final by a whisker.
This is remarkable considering Victor was so ill seven months ago he was put on a ventilator. And I think he had a bad case of COVID as well? And now back swimming faster than ever. Good for you, Victor!

Last edited 1 year ago by SwimReason
1 year ago

so are they going to stop running Simone Biles commercials now?

Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

I get that mental health is nothing to downplay but it’s just so odd that she would pull out in the middle of the team competition when she has always been so stellar and tough. I just don’t get it. Can you imagine if Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky just quit in the middle of the Olympics and were like oh I’m not gonna swim anymore I’m too stressed out by it all. Everyone is different and deals with mental anguish in their own way but I just think this is so uncharacteristic of such a tough competitor. It’s not like she woke up today and was suddenly anxious and stressed out. She must’ve felt this way for a while… Read more »

Reply to  lightning
1 year ago

Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps don’t deal with a dangerous sport like Simone does. She could seriously injure herself just by being off a couple inches. If she says she could not do it mentally for whatever reason that should be enough. A better comparison would be a high diver deciding not to dive because they felt unbalanced or anxious. Understandable.

Reply to  Patrick
1 year ago

Definitely eliminates the GOAT debate, the greatest wouldn’t leave the team hanging like that, like Jordan game six or curt shillings bloody sock game. Not comparing her athleticism to them, obliviously the last five years she’s been completely dominant and at her best no ones close, but it only includes one full games

Reply to  Patrick
1 year ago

Simone is doing vaults that could shatter her leg/s or break her neck if she is off.

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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