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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1 month ago

Guessing many of the Americans won’t have bothered setting their alarms for this session.

Good to Great
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

you will see millions of comments flooding in once CD is on

Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

Why not? Don’t you wanna see dressel?

Reply to  TheSwan
1 month ago

I thought you would’ve all been tired and maybe taken the chance to sleep through what be a bit of a snoozer of a session.

Heck I’m Olympic-tired and the swim sessions start at 11am & 8pm my zone.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

At this point I am now a morning person again.

Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

always fun to watch him swim faster than Prince Chalmers

Reply to  Yup
1 month ago

King 👑 Kyle you peasant!

Max Hardie
Reply to  Yup
1 month ago

You know that Chalmers will beat him, much faster and closing speed.

Reply to  Max Hardie
1 month ago

It wouldn’t surprise me, the way things have been going for the U.S. Lots of tough competition and it seems like it’s been something of a struggle for us this Olympics.

Reply to  Max Hardie
1 month ago

I see the way this race is shaping up already. It’s gonna be fun, as everyone will be thrown off but not surprised at the result.

1 month ago

Are the psych sheets for the 800 relay heats in yet?

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

I just checked the Olympic page – they don’t seem to have been updated there yet.

Good to Great

Last minute psych sheet change?


Line-ups out.

GBR: Richards, Guy, Jarvis, Dean
USA: Kibler, Seliskar, Callan, Pieroni
AUS: Graham, Horton, Winnington, Incerti

Reply to  ice
1 month ago

Glad to see Blake in there. Zapple is very hot RN

Scott P
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

At the risk of sounding like an idiot, did anyone see Thomas Ceccon coming? I mean I know the article said its his first time under 48 but this just got more exciting.

Suman Lall Sachdev
1 month ago

more on siobhan haughey please….first HK swimmer in a finals EVER! Could we see her prelims in other races please?

1 month ago

Interested to hear some thoughts on how USA are getting on from an American pov?

Likewise, who have been the standouts so far?

Reply to  Eurovision
1 month ago

One word: bad

Reply to  Eurovision
1 month ago

Haven’t closely looked at times v best times, but seems they’re meaningfully under performing their best times

Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free
1 month ago

GB Have gone Richards, Guy, Jarvis, Dean


AUS: Graham, Horton, Winnington, Incerti. So Neill and Chalmers straight to finals.

US: Kibler, Seliskar, Callan, Pieroni. (Smith, Haas, Apple? straight to finals)


Correct decision putting Richards out 1st.. testing the water for him on leg 1 in the final

Sapnu puas
1 month ago

Oh that GB line up…they really said we aren’t missing this final lads. Love that

Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

glad to see the litchields are not swimming
so.much hype
good luck GB any one has an issue with my comments come back to me I will gladly give you my name

1 month ago

AUS: Graham Horton Winnington Incerti
USA: Kibler Seliskar Callan Pieroni
GBR: Richards Guy Jarvis Dean
ROC: Dovgalyuk Krasnykh Girev Vekovishchev
ITA: di Cola Ciampi de Tullio Megli

Good to Great
1 month ago

Interesting line up for AUS Graham – Horton – Winnington – Incerti

Last edited 1 month ago by Good to Great
Reply to  Good to Great
1 month ago

Makes sense. They are fighting for two final spots. Neill proved himself and Chalmers is in as he won trials.

Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

Let’s do a little prayer and hope Winnington finds some form

Reply to  ice
1 month ago

Even a 1.46 should be ok

Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

Was Horton the 6th place finisher at trials?

Hope Winnington goes a better time to redeem himself but I’m expecting to see Graham and Horton in the final probably. Incerti could do well too, his 100 was good.

Good to Great
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

Horton is a great anchor. Haven’t seen Incerti in this role before.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Good to Great
1 month ago

His 100 split was 47.5 . Plus he has been racing 400s in summer for 3.49s . Looks like he really upped his distance work so good probabilities.

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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