Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Day 5 Prelims Live Recap


It’s hard to believe, but we’re already past the halfway mark of the swimming competition in Tokyo, with Day 5 prelims marking the ninth of 15 total sessions in the pool.

Some of the world’s top female sprinters will get in on the action on Wednesday with their first individual swims of the meet in the 100 freestyle, including Australia’s Cate Campbell, Denmark’s Pernille Blume and American Abbey Weitzeil.

The field will also feature Campbell’s teammate Emma McKeon, who had the fastest split on the women’s 400 free relay by a mile on the opening morning of finals in 51.35 as the Aussies broke the world record.

World record holder Sarah Sjostrom will look to bounce back after a seventh-place finish in the 100 butterfly, and defending champion Penny Oleksiak aims to keep the momentum rolling after a 52.2 split on the relay and a bronze medal victory in the 200 free earlier in the day.

We’ll also see heats in the men’s 200 backstroke, where Evgeny Rylov enters as the odds-on favorite as the reigning two-time world champion, not to mention that he won gold in the 100 back on Tuesday morning in a European Record time of 51.98.

Defending champion Ryan Murphy will aim to bounce back after falling to third in the 100 back. The same goes for American Lilly King, who takes on the women’s 200 breast after losing her Olympic title in the 100-meter event.

South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker and King’s U.S. teammate Annie Lazor are the top two seeds.

The men’s 200 IM will be highlighted by top-seeded American Michael Andrew and 400 IM Olympic champion Chase Kalisz, along with Great Britain’s Duncan Scott, who has had an amazing show fare here in Tokyo.

This is also the session to watch for Australia’s Mitch Larkin, as he’s opted to swim the men’s 200 IM over the 200 back. Unfortunately for Larkin, his two best events follow the same schedule at the Olympics.

The women’s 4×200 free relay will close out the session. The United States has won five of the six gold medals in the event’s Olympic history, but the Australians have established themselves as huge favorites after the times their top-four finishers at the Olympic Trials added up to be under the existing world record.

The Aussies will use Mollie O’CallaghanMeg HarrisBrianna Throssell and Tamsin Cook on the prelim relay, notably leaving off fourth-place Trials finisher Leah Neale.

If everyone is healthy, Australia would likely exchange all four swimmers for the final—Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon, Madi Wilson and Neale.

Canada (Savard, Smith, Harvey, Pickrem) could do the same, depending on whether or not they want to use Taylor Ruck, and the United States (Sims, Madden, McLaughlin, Forde) has kept Katie Ledecky and Allison Schmitt in reserve. Penny OleksiakSummer McIntosh and Kayla Sanchez will certainly move in for Canada in the final.

Women’s 100 Freestyle – Prelims

  1. Emma McKeon (AUS), 52.13 OR
  2. Siobhan Haughey (HKG), 52.70
  3. Anna Hopkin (GBR), 52.75
  4. Cate Campbell (AUS), 52.80
  5. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 52.91
  6. Penny Oleksiak (CAN0, 52.95
  7. Pernille Blume (DEN), 52.96
  8. Yang Junxuan (CHN), 53.02
  9. Femke Heemskerk (NED), 53.10
  10. Kayla Sanchez (CAN), 53.12
  11. Abbey Weitzeil (USA), 53.21
  12. Michelle Coleman (SWE), 53.53
  13. Signe Bro (DEN), 53.54
  14. Freya Anderson (GBR), 53.61
  15. Charlotte Bonnet (FRA), 53.67
  16. Marie Wattel (FRA) / Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), 53.71*

It was an eventful preliminary in the women’s 100 freestyle, and more specifically, an action-packed sixth heat.

Emma McKeon torched the opening 50 in that penultimate heat, flipping in 24.98 before closing in a very strong 27.15 to put up a time of 52.13, smashing the Olympic Record of 52.62 set by Sarah Sjostrom leading off Sweden’s 400 free relay earlier in the meet.

The swim is also a new best time for McKeon, as the Aussie had gone 52.19 earlier this year, and registers as the eighth-fastest swim of all-time. (The 52.19 was also done in a prelim.)

Following McKeon in that heat was Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey, who broke the Asian Record in 52.70, and Anna Hopkin, who took down the British Record in 52.75. Those previous records stood at 52.79 and 52.87, respectively, while Haughey’s previous best was 52.92 and Hopkin’s was 53.21.

Top seed Cate Campbell was the best of the rest, winning Heat 7 in 52.80 over Penny Oleksiak (52.95), while the world record-holder Sjostrom (52.91) led Denmark’s Pernille Blume (52.96) in the first circle-seeded heat.

There was a tie for 16th between the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo and France’s Marie Wattel in 53.71, meaning we’ll need a swim-off to settle who will advance to the semis.

American Erika Brown finished 18th in 53.87 and will miss the semi-finals.

Men’s 200 Backstroke – Prelims

  • 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. Luke Greenbank (GBR), 1:54.63
  2. Evgeny Rylov (ROC), 1:56.02
  3. Bryce Mefford (USA), 1:56.37
  4. Lee Juho (KOR), 1:56.77
  5. Grigory Tarasevich (ROC), 1:56.82
  6. Radoslaw Kawecki (POL), 1:56.83
  7. Ryan Murphy (USA), 1:56.92
  8. Ryosuke Irie (JPN), 1:56.97
  9. Keita Sunama (JPN), 1:57.07
  10. Tristan Hollard (AUS), 1:57.24
  11. Roman Mityukov (SUI), 1:57.45
  12. Brodie Williams (GBR), 1:57.48
  13. Nicolas Garcia Saiz (ESP), 1:57.62
  14. Adam Telegdy (HUN), 1:57.70
  15. Xu Jiayu (CHN), 1:57.76
  16. Markus Thormeyer (CAN), 1:57.85

Great Britain has been on fire over the last few events in the pool, and Luke Greenbank kept things rolling in the men’s 200 backstroke by annihilating the rest of the field in the prelims with a time of 1:54.63.

Greenbank soared to the victory in Heat 2, posting that time that falls just two tenths outside of his British Record set earlier this year (1:54.43).

South Korean Lee Juho went sub-1:57 for the first time to reset his National Record in 1:56.77, taking second to Greenbank in the heat and ultimately fourth overall.

Defending gold medalist Ryan Murphy did what was necessary to touch first in the penultimate heat, cruising through for the seventh-fastest time overall in 1:56.92.

Reigning world champion and 100 back Olympic champion Evgeny Rylov looked even easier in winning the final heat, putting up a time of 1:56.02 to qualify second overall. American Bryce Mefford had a successful debut Olympic race by clocking 1:56.37 to touch second to Rylov and third overall heading to the semis.

Russian Grigory Tarasevich, who was a late addition to the ROC team, qualifies for the semis out of the non-circle-seeded opening heat, clocking 1:56.82 to rank fifth and break 1:57 for the first time.

China’s Xu Jiayu was fourth in this event in 2016 and fifth at the 2017 World Championships, but barely squeaked into the semis with a time of 1:57.76.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke – Prelims

  • World Record: Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN) – 2:19.11 (2013)
  • Olympic Record: Rebecca Soni (USA) – 2:19.59 (2012)
  • 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), 2:19.16 OR
  2. Lilly King (USA), 2:22.10
  3. Evgeniia Chikunova (ROC), 2:22.16
  4. Kaylene Corbett (RSA), 2:22.48
  5. Annie Lazor (USA), 2:22.76
  6. Molly Renshaw (GBR), 2:22.99
  7. Mariia Temnikova (ROC), 2:23.13
  8. Yu Jingyao (CHN), 2:23.17
  9. Jenna Strauch (AUS), 2:23.30
  10. Jessica Vall Montero (ESP), 2:23.31
  11. Fanny Lecluyse (BEL), 2:23.42
  12. Sophie Hansson (SWE), 2:23.82
  13. Francesca Fangio (ITA), 2:23.89
  14. Lisa Mamie (SUI), 2:23.91
  15. Abbie Wood (GBR), 2:24.13
  16. Kelsey Wog (CAN), 2:24.27

Tatjana Schoenmaker dropped the second-fastest swim of all-time in the last heat of the women’s 200 breaststroke, throwing down a time of 2:19.16 to narrowly miss the world record of 2:19.11 set in 2013 by Denmark’s Rikke Moeller Pedersen.

Schoenmaker was slightly off WR pace at each turn, and sat 18 one-hundredths back at the 150 before closing in 36.09 to make up some ground on Pedersen’s pace. Schoenmaker’s splits over the first 150 were 31.98/35.76/35.33.

The swim for the South African lowers the Olympic Record of 2:19.59 set by American Rebecca Soni in 2012, and smashes her African Record of 2:20.17 set earlier this year.

Schoenmaker’s performance marks the 13th in history sub-2:20, and the first since 2017.

All-Time Performances (Sub-2:20), Women’s 200 Breaststroke (LCM)

  1. Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.11 – 2013
  2. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:19.16 – 2021
  3. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.41 – 2013
  4. Rebecca Soni (USA), 2:19.59 – 2012
  5. Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.61 – 2014
  6. Viktoriya Zeynep Gunes (TUR) / Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.64 – 2015/2017
  7. Rie Kaneto (JPN), 2:19.65 – 2016
  8. Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.67 – 2014
  9. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.83 – 2017
  10. Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.84 – 2014
  11. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.85 – 2013
  12. Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.94 – 2014

Lilly King set the pace in the previous heat, actually turning faster than Schoenmaker at the 100 (1:07.58) before losing ground coming home to ultimately clock 2:22.10. That qualified King second overall, while her teammate Annie Lazor (2:22.76) advanced fourth from the heat in her Olympic debut.

Overall it was an amazing event for South Africa, with the country’s other entrant, Kaylene Corbett, winning Heat 2 in 2:22.48 for a big best time (previous was 2:24.18) and the fourth-fastest time of the session.

Russian teenager Evgeniia Chikunova was third-fastest overall from Schoenmaker’s heat in 2:22.16, notably closing faster than anyone in the field with a 35.86 final length.

Men’s 200 Individual Medley – Prelims

  • 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. Michael Andrew (USA), 1:56.40
  2. Jeremy Desplanches (SUI), 1:56.89
  3. Lewis Clareburt (NZL), 1:57.27
  4. Chase Kalisz (USA), 1:57.38
  5. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) / Duncan Scott (GBR), 1:57.39
  6. Wang Shun (CHN), 1:57.42
  7. Alberto Razzetti (ITA), 1:57.46
  8. Mitch Larkin (AUS), 1:57.50
  9. Laszlo Cseh (HUN), 1:57.51
  10. Hugo Gonzalez (ESP), 1:57.61
  11. Tomoe Hvas (NOR), 1:57.64
  12. Philip Heintz (GER), 1:57.72
  13. Andrey Zhilkin (ROC), 1:57.94
  14. Matthew Sates (RSA), 1:58.08
  15. Daiya Seto (JPN), 1:58.15

Michael Andrew opened up a big lead in the final heat of the men’s 200 IM using his patented opening 150, and despite getting a late push from Jeremy Desplanches, held on to claim the top seed of the evening in a time of 1:56.40.

Andrew had the fastest splits in the field on both fly (24.09) and breast (32.66), but was far and away the slowest of the 16 semi-finalists on freestyle (30.03). In fact, only the swimmers occupying the last three places in the event, all from Heat 1, were slower than Andrew on free.

Daiya Seto, the 2019 world champion, was the only other semi-finalist that wasn’t sub-29 on the closing leg, placing 16th with a 29.24 freestyle split.

Desplanches, the 2019 World Championship silver medalist, closed in 28.9 to take second to Andrew in 1:56.89, and New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt clocked a new Kiwi Record of 1:57.27 to take third in the heat and overall.

Five of the top-six qualifiers ended up coming from that last heat, including 2016 Olympic silver medalist Kosuke Hagino and 200 free silver medalist Duncan Scott tying in 1:57.39.

400 IM champion Chase Kalisz paced the penultimate heat in 1:57.38, and Australian Mitch Larkin opened the first circle-seeded heat with a victory in 1:57.50, .01 ahead of legendary Hungarian Laszlo Cseh.

21-year-old Tomoe Hvas was the lone semi-final qualifier from one of the early heats, smashing his Norwegian Record by almost two seconds in 1:57.64 to snag 12th.

Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay – Prelims

  • 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. Australia, 7:44.61
  2. United States, 7:47.57
  3. China, 7:48.98
  4. Canada, 7:51.52
  5. Russian Olympic Committee, 7:52.04
  6. Germany, 7:52.06
  7. France, 7:55.05
  8. Hungary, 7:56.16

The Australians cruised their way to the top time of the evening session in the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay, clocking 7:44.61 to lead the United States by three seconds.

The highlight for the Aussies was the lead-off swim from 17-year-old Mollie O’Callaghan, who set a new World Junior Record in a time of 1:55.11, lowering the 1:55.43 mark set by China’s Yang Junxuan at the 2019 World Championships. Missy Franklin was 1:55.06 when she was young enough to set a WJR, but that was before they started being recognized.

O’Callaghan’s previous best was 1:56.29 at the Australian Olympic Trials.

Meg Harris (1:57.01), Brianna Throssell (1:56.46) and Tamsin Cook (1:56.03) followed for the Aussies, who put up the 13th-fastest time in history with the possibility of exchanging all four swimmers for the final. However, given O’Callaghan’s performance, it seems Leah Neale won’t swim on the relay at all.

The Canadians took second to Australia in the second heat, clocking 7:51.52 with a quick 1:55.99 split from Rebecca Smith. That could result in Taylor Ruck being left off the relay entirely.

The U.S. topped the opening heat in 7:47.57, led by Paige Madden (1:55.96) and Katie McLaughlin (1:56.02) swimming second and third.

China advances in third, going 7:48.98, and can bring in the aforementioned Yang for the final, who was fourth individually in the 200 free.

Women’s 100 Freestyle – Swim-off

For first alternate

  1. Erika Brown (USA), 53.51
  2. Wu Qingfeng (CHN), 54.47

Ranomi Kromowidjojo withdrew from a potential swim-off in the women’s 100 freestyle after tying with Marie Wattel for 16th in the prelims, moving Wattel into the semi-finals.

Erika Brown and Wu Qingfeng then raced a swim-off went to vie for the position of first alternate in the semis, with Brown using a huge underwater off the 50 wall to take a decisive victory in 53.51.

Brown and Wu tied in the heats in 53.87, and Brown’s time would’ve ranked her 12th had it been done about two hours earlier.

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1 year ago

So apparently Milak was angry after the 200 fly final because his suit got a hole in it which he thinks held him back from the WR…

Reply to  IM FAN
1 year ago

Boo hoo! He can break the WR another time.

Not a Sprinter
1 year ago

Looks like Erika Brown was moved into the 100 free semifinal. She’s in semi 1 in lane 8. Someone else must have scratched.

Reply to  Not a Sprinter
1 year ago


Gogo bibi
1 year ago

I will eat my shoe if australia doesn’t break the WR by 3 or 4 seconds in the final

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Gogo bibi
1 year ago

should’ve made that bet after you’ve seen the lineup

Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 year ago

they’ll honestly still probably do it.

Reply to  swimfast
1 year ago

3 or 4 seconds is a country mile though. I just hope they break it, even if they just sneak under.

Gogo bibi
Reply to  BairnOwl
1 year ago

7.44.6 with a B team is just completely nuts

1 year ago

The double 200back/200IM from Lochte is still remarkable. No one now can try & do it 🙁

1 year ago

Schoenmaker really reminds me of Rebecca Soni back in Olympics London 2012. They both entered the competition as the overwhelming favour for 100 and 200 breast but lost the 100 with a close margin then destroyed the whole field in the 200 with consecutive record. Can’t wait to see her record in the next 2 days.

Reply to  Ryan
1 year ago

Rebecca Soni placed second to Breeja Larson in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 year ago


Mediocre Swammer
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 year ago

And that made her not the overwhelming favorite to win gold in the 100?

Reply to  Ryan
1 year ago

She’s super easy to root for, too. She was almost happier for Lydia in the 100 breast than Lydia was! I think she’s got the 200 on lock and Chikunova, Lazor, and King are fighting for the minor medals.

Reply to  Ryan
1 year ago

Schoenmaker was never the overwhelming favourite to win the 100

Reply to  Ryan
1 year ago

Schoenmaker wasn’t really ever in the medal conversation before the start of the meet, though.

Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

F the Dressel hype. MOLLLIIIEEE!!!

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

If Dressel had ever put down a 1.44 swim in the 200 free, I would understand the Dressel hype, but he hasn’t.

Swim Dad
1 year ago

Has Phelps given any thought to coaching? His overall confidence and ability to get the best possible results from the relay teams would be a huge boost.

Reply to  Swim Dad
1 year ago

Sometimes really good swimmers don’t make the best coaches because they don’t understand why some people just can’t figure it out like they did. I think he could be a great coach to high level athletes though!

Reply to  Swim Dad
1 year ago

He is obviously really knowledgeable, but I think like a lot of former athletes he is mainly knowledgeable about what worked for him. I think his biggest challenge would be to adapt and coach swimmers who are wired much differently than he is. For example, I think much of what worked for him would probably NOT work for a true sprinter. Probably he can make that adjustment, if he wants to, but it will require him to step back a bit and re-think.

In the documentary about his Olympic races on Peacock, one thing that struck me was how he much he talked about finishing his races strong, especially in the last 15 meters. That made sense, but then he… Read more »

Reply to  Swim Dad
1 year ago

He did some volunteer coaching at Loyola Towson before moving to Michigan. I don’t know if he ever did any after.

It might be possible in 10 years or so. Right now of he coaches at a club and possibly college I think it would be a distraction of sorts.

Reply to  Swim Dad
1 year ago

He said in an interview that he didn’t think he would be a very good coach.

1 year ago

Lol, what on Earth was Thorpe talking about in the commentary? Why would they consider Cate Campbell for the 4×200 relay?

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

Cate would probably think the same thing.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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