Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Day 5 Finals Live Recap

2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games

Thursday morning’s session, which consists of Day 5’s finals and semifinals, will produce five new Olympic champions.

The morning will begin with the first-ever final of the men’s 800 freestyle, a new Olympic event this year. (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.) Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk took over 1.2 seconds off the Ukraine national record in prelims and established the first Olympic Record of 7:41.28. He will be chased on either side, in lanes 5 and 3, by Germany’s Florian Wellbrock (7:41.77) and USA’s Bobby Finke (7:42.72). The fastest time coming into this event belonged to 2019 World Champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy. He swam 7:47.73 in prelims and qualified eighth for the final.

The men’s 200 breast final should be a tight race, with the first and eighth qualifiers only separated by 1.4 seconds. Australia’s Zac Stubblety-Cook (2:07.35) led the semifinalists with a 2:07.38. He owns the second-fastest time in history, 2:06.28, from the Australian Olympic Trials this year. 2016 bronze medalist Anton Chupkov of the Russian Olympic Committee broke the World Record winning this event at 2019 World Championships in 2:06.12. He qualified seventh for the final. Arno Kamminga (NED), James Wilby (GBR), Nic Fink (USA), and Ryuya Mura (JPN) also have their eye on the gold.

China’s Zhang Yufei is heavily favored in the women’s 200 butterfly final. She was the top seed coming into the meet and improved her time in the semis, going 2:04.89 to crack the top-10 list of all-time performers. Americans Hali Flickinger and Regan Smith will be in lanes 5 and 6, while Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas will race in lane 3.

The last individual race of the morning, and by far the most anticipated, is the men’s 100 freestyle. The star-studded final will feature international sprint icons Kliment Kolesnikov (ROC), who broke the Olympic Record in the semis with 47.11; Caeleb Dressel (USA), the third-fastest performer of all time; defending Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers (AUS); and the current World Junior Record-holder, David Popovici (ROU).

The morning will conclude with the final of the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay. Australia’s depth in the 200 freestyle is unmatched, and the only question seems to be by how much they will lower their own World Record.

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

Men’s 800 Freestyle – Final

  • World Record: Zhang Lin (CHN) – 7:32.12 (2009)
  • Olympic Record: Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) – 7:41.28 (2021)
  • World Junior Record: Mack Horton (AUS) – 7:45.67 (2013)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: N/A
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 800 Freestyle
  1. GOLD: Bobby Finke (USA) – 7:41.87
  2. SILVER: Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) – 7:42.11
  3. BRONZE: Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) – 7:42.33
  4. Florian Wellbrock (GER) – 7:42.68
  5. Jack McLoughlin (AUS) – 7:45.00
  6. Serhii Frolov (UKR) – 7:45.11
  7. Felix Auboeck (AUT) – 7:49.14
  8. Guilherme Costa (BRA) – 7:53.31

Reigning World Champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy took it out quickly from lane 8, turning at 55.15 ahead of Australia’s Jack McLoughlin and USA’s Bobby Finke at the 100. He was a full body up with 1:52.86 at the 200. Behind him were Florian Wellbrock and Mykhailo Romanchuk. At the 300, the field began to close the distance but it was still Paltrinieri, followed by Wellbrock and Romanchuk 2:51.47.

At the 600, it was still Romanchuk followed by Wellbrock and Romanchuk, but the middle of the pool turned on the jets over the last 100. At the 750 it was Wellbrock, Paltrinieri and Romanchuk.

With 25 meters left, Bobby Finke made his move. He powered past the field, coming from 5th place to take it home in 26.39 and win the gold medal with 7:41.87. Finke lowered his own American Record, set in prelims with 7:42.72, and moved to #13 all-time.


1 Zhang Lin (CHN) 7:32.12 2009
2 Oussama Mellouli (TUN) 7:35.27 2009
3 Sun Yang (CHN) 7:38.57 2011
4 Grant Hackett (AUS) 7:38.65 2005
5 Ian Thorpe (AUS) 7:39.16 2001
6 Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) 7:39.27 2019
7 Gabriele Detti (ITA) 7:40.77 2017
8 Henrik Christiansen (NOR) 7:41.28 2019
9 Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) 7:41.28 2021
10 Wojciech Wojdak (POL) 7:41.73 2017
11 Florian Wellbrock (GER) 7:41.77 2021
12 Ryan Cochrane (CAN) 7:41.86 2011
13 Bobby Finke (USA) 7:41.87 2021

Men’s 200 Breaststroke – Final

  • 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. GOLD: Zac Stubblety-Cook (AUS) – 2:06.38
  2. SILVER: Arno Kamminga (NED) – 2:07.01
  3. BRONZE: Matti Mattson (FIN) – 2:07.13
  4. Anton Chupkov (ROC) – 2:07.24
  5. Nic Fink (USA) – 2:07.93
  6. James Wilby (GBR) – 2:08.19
  7. Ryuya Mura (JPN) – 2:08.42
  8. Erik Persson (SWE) – 2:08.88

Arno Kamminga of Netherlands set the pace early on, turning under World Record pace at the 50 wall in 28.14. James Wilby of Great Britain was in second place, ahead of Matti Mattson from Finland. Kamminga was still under WR pace at the 100 with 1:00.09. Mattson moved past Wilby into second place. Also under WR pace, he turned at 1:00.85.

At the 150 wall, Zac Stubblety-Cook of Australia moved into the top three, passing Wilby and closing the gap with the leaders.

Stubblety-Cook powered home to earn the gold medal and a 2:06.38 Olympic Record. Kamminga touched second in 2:07.01. Mattson’s 2:07.13 third-place finish lowered his Finnish record by 1.1 seconds.

Women’s 100 Freestyle – Semifinals

  1. Emma McKeon (AUS), 52.32
  2. Siobhan Haughey (HKG), 52.40
  3. Cate Campbell (AUS), 52.71
  4. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 52.82
  5. Penny Oleksiak (CAN), 52.86
  6. Femke Heemskerk (NED), 52.93
  7. Abbey Weitzeil (USA), 52.99
  8. Anna Hopkin (GBR), 53.11

Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong led from start to finish in semifinal 1, establishing a new Asian Record with her winning time of 52.40. Cate Campbell was right behind her the entire way. She stopped the clock in 52.71 for second. France’s Marie Wattel was in second place at the 50 wall but fell to fifth at the touch. Both Penny Oleksiak of Canada (52.97) and Femke Heemskerk of Netherlands (52.93) passed on the second 50.

Australia’s Emma McKeon, who set the Olympic Record with 52.13 in heats, won the second semifinal with 52.32 to lead the qualifiers for the final. Great Britain’s Anna Hopkin flipped in second place ahead of USA’s Abbey Weitzeil at the halfway mark, but Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom passed by Hopkin and Weitzeil on the back half to finish second with 52.82. Weizeil touched out Hopkin, 52.99 to 53.11, for third.

Men’s 200 Backstroke – Semifinals

  • World Record: Aaron Peirsol (USA) – 1:51.92 (2009)
  • Olympic Record: Tyler Clary (USA) – 1:53.41 (2012)
  • World Junior Record: Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 1:55.14 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Ryan Murphy (USA) – 1:53.62
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 200 Backstroke
  1. Evgeny Rylov (ROC), 1:54.45
  2. Luke Greenbank (GBR), 1:54.98
  3. Ryan Murphy (USA), 1:55.38
  4. Adam Telegdy (HUN), 1:56.19
  5. Nicolas Garcia Saiz (ESP), 1:56.35
  6. Bryce Mefford (USA), 1:56.37
  7. Radoslaw Kawecki (POL), 1:56.68
  8. Ryosuke Irie (JPN), 1:56.69

Reigning World Champion Evgeny Rylov of the Russian Olympic Committee, who won gold in the 100 back here in Tokyo, scored a wire-to-wire victory in the first semifinal of the men’s 200 back. France’s Yohann Ndoye-Brouard, who had scratched into the semis, was in second place at the 100 wall from out in lane 8. Hungary’s Adam Telegdy moved into second place at the 150 and held on to touch second behind Rylov at the finish. Rylov went 1:54.45, while Telegdy was 1:56.19. Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki (1:56.68) and Japan’s Ryosuke Irie (1:56.69) touched 3rd and 4th.

Great Britain’s Luke Greenbank, who had qualified first for semis, took it out early and flipped ahead of Keita Sunama of Japan and USA’s Ryan Murphy at the 50. Green led at the 100, with Murphy and Spain’s Nicolas Garcia Saiz trailing. Murphy’s American teammate Bryce Mefford moved into third place at the 150 wall. At the touch, it was Greenbank (1:54.98), Murphy (1:55.38), Garcia (1:56.35), and Mefford (1:56.37).

Women’s 200 Butterfly – Final

  • 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. GOLD: Zhang Yufei (CHN) – 2:03.86 OR
  2. SILVER: Regan Smith (USA) – 2:05.30
  3. BRONZE: Hali Flickinger (USA) – 2:05.65
  4. Boglarka Kapas (HUN) – 2:06.53
  5. Svetlana Chimrova (ROC) – 2:07.70
  6. Yu Liyan (CHN) – 2:07.85
  7. Alys Thomas (GBR) – 2:07.90
  8. Brianna Throssell (AUS) – 2:09.48

China’s Zhang Yufei dominated the women’s 200 butterfly in heats and semis, where she was the fastest qualifier for the next round, first with 2:07.50, then with 2:04.89. In the final, she was untouchable, leading by a body length with running times of 26.92, 58.29, and 1:31.03 at the 50/100/150 walls. She brought it home in 32.8 to take down the Olympic Record with 2:03.86. It was the fastest 200 butterfly performance in 12 years.

American’s Regan Smith and Hali Flickinger traded leads but remained in second and third place behind Zhang throughout the race. Flickinger had led Smith in the silver medal race, but Smith came home with the fastest final 50 in the field, 32.10. She slipped past Flickinger and earned the silver with 2:05.30. Flickinger settled for the bronze with 2:05.65.

This marks the second podium finish for each of the three medalists. Earlier this week, Zhang earned a silver in the 100 fly. Smith and Flickinger both won bronze medals – in the 100 back and 400 IM, respectively.


Rank Swimmer Time Date
1 Liu Zige (CHN) 2:01.81 2009
2 Jessicah Schipper (AUS) 2:03.41 2009
3 Zhang Yufei (CHN) 2:03.86 2021
4 Jiao Liuyang (CHN) 2:04.06 2012
5 Mary Descenza (USA) 2:04.14 2009
6 Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2:04.27 2009
7 Natsumi Hoshi (JPN) 2:04.69 2012
8 Mireia Belmonte (ESP) 2:04.78 2013
9 Ellen Gandy (GBR) 2:04.83 2009
10 Madeline Groves (AUS) 2:04.88 2016

Men’s 100 Freestyle – Final

  • 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. GOLD: Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 47.02 OR
  2. SILVER: Kyle Chalmers (AUS) – 47.08
  3. BRONZE: Kliment Kolesnikov (ROC) – 47.44
  4. Maxime Grousset (FRA) – 47.72
  5. Hwang Sunwoo (KOR) – 47.82
  6. Alessandro Miressi (ITA) – 47.86
  7. David Popovici (ROU) – 48.04
  8. Nandor Nemeth (HUN) – 48.10

As expected, USA’s Caeleb Dressel used his explosive start to get out in front of the field off the block. He had a clear advantage when he took his first stroke, and he flipped .10 ahead of second-place Kliment Kolesnikov of Russia, at the 50. Dressel knew that Kolesnikov and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Kyle Chalmers of Australia would close hard. He managed to get his hand to the wall just ahead of Chalmers, who came home .26 faster over the second half.

The splits of the top three finishers:

  • Dressel 22.39/24.63
  • Chalmers 22.71/24.37
  • Kolesnikov 22.49/24.95

Dressel notched his second-fastest 100 free time and took down Eamon Sullivan’s super-suit-era Olympic Record by .03.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke – Semifinals

  • World Record: Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN) – 2:19.11 (2013)
  • Olympic Record: Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA) – 2:19.16 (2021)
  • World Junior Record: Viktoriya Zeynep Gunes (TUR) – 2:19.64 (2015)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Rie Kaneto (JPN) – 2:20.30
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Women’s 200 Breaststroke
  1. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:19.33
  2. Evgeniia Chikunova (ROC), 2:20.57
  3. Annie Lazor (USA), 2:21.94
  4. Kaylene Corbett (RSA), 2:22.08
  5. Lilly King (USA), 2:22.27
  6. Abbie Wood (GBR), 2:22.35
  7. Molly Renshaw (GBR), 2:22.70
  8. Fanny Lecluyse (BEL), 2:23.73

Great Britain’s Molly Renshaw held the lead through 150 meters in the first semifinal. USA’s Lilly King held onto second place from beginning to end, while South Africa’s Kaylene Corbett moved past China’s Yu Jingyao, who was 3rd at the 100 to challenge King and Renshaw over the second half. Corbett moved from third to first (2:22.08) in the heat over the final 50 meters. King passed Renshaw to touch second with 2:22.27. Canada’s Kelsey Wog was disqualified.

100 breast silver medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa led from start to finish in the second semi. After having broken the Olympic Record in prelims with the second-fastest time in history, Schoenmaker seemed to take an extra stroke coming into the 200 wall and clocked a 2:19.33. Otherwise, she looked on pace to break the World Record of 2:19.11 set by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen in 2013.

Russia’s Evgeniia Chikunova (2:20.57) held the second position from start to finish. Great Britain’s Abbie Wood was in third place through 150 meters but USA’s Annie Lazor, who moved from 6th at the 100 to 4th at the 150, slipped past Wood to touch third with 2:21.94. Wood stopped the clock at 2:22.35.

Men’s 200 Individual Medley – Semifinals

  • World Record: Ryan Lochte (USA) – 1:54.00 (2011)
  • Olympic Record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:54.23 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Hubert Kos (HUN) – 1:56.99 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:54.66
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 200 Individual Medley
  1. Wang Shun (CHN), 1:56.22
  2. Duncan Scott (GBR), 1:56.69
  3. Daiya Seto (JPN), 1:56.86
  4. Michael Andrew (USA), 1:57.08
  5. Jeremy Desplanches (SUI), 1:57.38
  6. Kosuke Hagino (JPN), 1:57.47
  7. Lewis Clareburt (NZL), 1:57.55
  8. Laszlo Cseh (HUN), 1:57.64

Hungary’s Lazlo Cseh got off to an early lead on the butterfly leg, with Norway’s Tomoe Hvas and Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches following in second and third. Cseh stayed in front on backstroke. At the 100 wall he turned into the breaststroke leg first, followed by Desplanches, who had passed Hvas.

Daiya Seto, the 2019 World Champion, swimming in lane 8 after having qualified 16th, came roaring to the front of the pack with a 32.92 breaststroke split, by far the fastest in the field. Duncan Scott of Great Britain, who anchored the gold-medal 800 free relay yesterday, closed in 27.55 to touch first with 1:56.69. Seto (1:56.86) beat Desplanches (1:57.38) and Cseh (1:57.64) for second place.

Michael Andrew of USA did his usual thing, jumping out to the lead with his strong front-half speed. South Africa’s Matthew Sates was in second place after the fly, ahead of China’s Wang Shun. Wang moved past Sates on the backstroke and Kosuke Hagino of Japan took over at third. It was Andrew, Wang, and Hagino, in that order, at the 150. Andrew was up by 1.93 second over Wang, and by 2.43 over Hagino. Wang blew past Andrew on the freestyle, outsplitting him 27.89 to 30.68. Hagino’s final 28.61 made up a lot of ground, as well. Wang touched first with 1:56.22. Andrew was second with 1:57.08, just ahead of Hagino (1:57.47).

Third-seeded Mitch Larkin of Australia, who chose the 200 IM over the 200 back, missed the final, finishing 10th overall with 1:57.80. Larkin holds the Commonwealth and Oceanian Records with 1:55.72.

Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay – Final

  • World Record: Australia (Titmus, Wilson, Throssell, McKeon) – 7:41.50 (2019)
  • Olympic Record: USA (Franklin, Vollmer, Vreeland, Schmitt) – 7:42.92 (2012)
  • World Junior Record: Canada (Sanchez, Oleksiak, Smith, Ruck) – 7:51.47 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: USA (Schmitt, Smith, DiRado, Ledecky) – 7:43.03
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay
  1. GOLD: China, 7:40.33 WR
  2. SILVER: United States, 7:40.73
  3. BRONZE: Australia, 7:41.29
  4. Canada, 7:43.77
  5. Russian Olympic Committee, 7:52.15
  6. Germany, 7:53.89
  7. Hungary, 7:56.62
  8. France, 7:58.15

The biggest plot twist of the Games took place in the final of the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay.

The pre-race chatter had been focused on Australia and their incredible depth, allowing them to swap out all four swimmers from prelims with fresh legs for the final. It wasn’t a question of whether the Australian quartet would win. The question was how low would they take the World Record.

China had other plans for the outcome of this race, and it was evident from the start. Yang Junxuan went head to head against Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, the Olympic gold medalist in the 200 free on Day 4. Yang got out to an early lead, up by .16 at the 100 and .5 at the 150. She held on and denied Titmus her come-from-behind victory with which she won both the 200 and 400 free finals at these Games.

Yang went 1:54.37 and handed off to Tang Muhan. She split an even 1:55.00, going .31 faster than Australia’s Emma McKeon. There were moments when it looked like Australia would take their rightful place at the head of the field, but each time China fought back. Zhang Yufei, straight from the medal ceremony for her 200 butterfly win, swam the third leg in 1:55.66. Li Bingjie anchored in 1:55.30. China’s combined 7:40.33 took 1.17 seconds off Australia’s World Record and 2.59 seconds off USA’s Olympic Record.

Zhang finished the session with two gold medals and two Olympic Records.

The United States, meanwhile, moved past Canada, from fourth place to third place, after the second leg. Veteran Allison Schmitt had led off with 1:56.34. She was followed by Paige Madden (1:55.25) and Katie McLaughlin (1:55.38). When Katie Ledecky began her anchor leg, the Americans trailed the Australians by about 1.5 seconds. Ledecky split 1:53.76 on the end to hand the USA the silver medal. Their final time of 7:40.73 was also under World Record pace. It marked the second time in the last two years that the USA’s 4×200 free relay has finished under the WR but placed second, seeing another team write their names in the record books. Schmitt, Madden, McLaughlin, and Ledecky broke the American Record.

Australia finished third with an Australian, Commonwealth, and Oceanian Record of 7:41.29. Titmus went 1:54.51; McKeon was 1:55.31; Madison Wilson split 1:55.62; and Leah Neale anchored in 1:55.85.

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1 year ago


1 year ago

Anyone else think Chalmers would’ve won had he not swam the 4×2 relay the previous night? and if Dressel HAD swam the relay?

The unoriginal Tim
1 year ago

I was going to add a joke about the Aussies choking to get us to 2000 but I didn’t need to.

1 year ago

Woot, more than 2k comments. Highest ever?

1 year ago

Schmitt has shown crazy longevity at one of the most competitive distances in swimming. Close to 15 years at an international level is incredible.

1 year ago

US with 2 Gold 2 Silver and 1 Bronze, and a lot of clutch swims. Best day for them at these games so far, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Day 5 quick thoughts

I think that was a very good day for US swimming.
Usually and at least for a few years the second part of the week at worlds or olympics is better and the gold medals rain for USA. I think it will be the case once again in Tokyo.

What a fantastic end of the race! We don’t care about the times here. We’ll always remember the amazing finish of Bobby Finke to win the first ever 800 free gold medal. Florida guys bear US men’s swimming so far with Finke, Dressel and Smith. He can win the 1500 free too!

Nothing to say.

WOMEN’S… Read more »

1 year ago

Delighted by Grousset’s 4th place in the 100m(which I question the statues of “Queen race”), it is encouraging for the rest of his career.
Move by the 800m with Finke’s final and Paltrinieri’s crazy race tactics.
Intrigued by China’s world record victory in the women’s 4×200m relay.
I can’t wait for the 200m medley final which looks great !

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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