Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Day 7 Finals Live Recap


We’ve reached the penultimate finals session from the pool at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with a busy night ahead for Caeleb Dressel and a three-peat on the line for Katie Ledecky.

Dressel is the massive favorite to win gold in the men’s 100 butterfly final, which will open the morning session, entering as the reigning two-time world champion and current world record holder.

The 24-year-old American blew away the field in the semis, posting the third-fastest swim in history for an Olympic Record of 49.71. Hungary’s 200 fly winner, Kristof Milak, is the #2 seed, six tenths back.

Dressel is scheduled for an unprecedented triple over the span of approximately 73 minutes, with his semi-final heat in the men’s 50 free going off about 46 minutes after the 100 fly final. Then, he’ll swim on the U.S. mixed 400 medley relay, scheduled 27 minutes after the 50 free.

Dressel has tacked triples before, swimming the 100 fly/50 free/mixed 400 free relay all in the same night at the last two World Championships, and he showed no signs of weakness in doing so.

Ledecky is set to go head-to-head with Australian Ariarne Titmus for the third time this week in the women’s 800 free, with a chance to win a third straight gold after triumphing in 2012 and repeating in 2016.

If Ledecky were to come out on top, she would join Dawn Fraser (women’s 100 freestyle) and Krisztina Egerszegi (200 backstroke) as the only women to win the same event at three successive Olympic Games.

Michael Phelps holds the overall record with four straight wins in the men’s 200 IM (he also won three in a row in the 100 fly).

Ledecky looked comfortable in the heats, and her qualifying time of 8:15.67 is only one tenth shy of Titmus’ lifetime best, meaning the Aussie will likely have to drop a sizable amount of time to challenge the American.

In the women’s 200 backstroke, world #1 Kaylee McKeown has the opportunity to become the first Australian Olympic champion in the event, and similar to the Ledecky/Titmus battle, it would take a herculean effort from another swimmer to upset her for gold.

McKeown’s personal best time of 2:04.28 sits almost a second and a half clear of the next-fastest competitor in the field, American Rhyan White (2:05.73).

Australian veteran Emily Seebohm ranks first coming out of the semis in 2:07.09, while 100 back silver medalist Kylie Masse and 2021 NCAA champion Phoebe Bacon will also feature prominently in the battle for medals.

In addition to the men’s 50 free semis, where Dressel comes in seeded first by three tenths of a second, we’ll also have the second round of the women’s event, where Australia’s Emma McKeon holds the #1 time from the heats after setting an Olympic Record of 24.02.

The session will be capped off with the inaugural Olympic final in the mixed 400 medley relay, where at least four countries—Great Britain, United States, Australia and China—have a shot at the gold medal.

Find the full mixed 400 medley relay lineups here.


  1. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 49.45 WR
  2. Kristof Milak (HUN), 49.68 ER
  3. Noe Ponti (SUI), 50.74
  4. Andrei Minakov (ROC), 50.88
  5. Jakub Majerski (POL) / Matthew Temple (AUS), 50.92
  6. Luis Martinez (GUA), 51.09
  7. Josif Miladinov (BUL), 51.49

In a race for the ages, Caeleb Dressel narrowly held off Kristof Milak to win gold in the men’s 100 butterfly, setting a new world record in a time of 49.45.

Dressel used his explosive start and breakout to open up the early lead, turning in 23.00 at the 50 to sit 65 one-hundredths clear of Milak and ROC’s Andrei Minakov.

Dressel appeared well on his way to the gold, and likely the world record, but Milak began closing on him like a madman, reminiscent of the way Michael Phelps used to run down swimmers like Ian Crocker and Milorad Cavic.

Despite Milak nearly inching ahead, Dressel was able to put his head down over the final few strokes and hang on for the victory, lowering his previous world record of 49.50 set at the 2019 World Championships.

Milak closed in possibly the fastest back-half split of all-time, 26.03, to finish in a time of 49.68, breaking Cavic’s European Record of 49.95 to become the second-fastest performer in history.

Milak’s previous best, also the old Hungarian Record, was 50.18, which ranked him fourth all-time.

There have now been 10 swims sub-50 in history, five of them coming in 2021.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 100 Butterfly (LCM)

Rank Swimmer Country Time Year
1 Caeleb Dressel USA 49.45 2021
2 Caeleb Dressel USA 49.50 2019
3 Caeleb Dressel USA 49.66 2019
4 Kristof Milak HUN 49.68 2021
5 Caeleb Dressel USA 49.71 2021
6 Caeleb Dressel USA 49.76 2021
7 Michael Phelps USA 49.82 2009
8 Caeleb Dressel USA 49.86 2017
9 Caeleb Dressel USA 49.87 2021
10 Milorad Cavic SRB 49.95 2009

Switzerland’s Noe Ponti chopped .02 off his National Record from the semis in 50.74, winning the bronze, while Minakov took fourth in 50.88.

Poland’s Jakub Majerski also set a new National Record in 50.92, tying for fifth with Australia’s Matthew Temple.


  • World Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 2:03.35 (2019)
  • Olympic Record: Missy Franklin (USA) – 2:04.06 (2012)
  • World Junior Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 2:03.35 (2019)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Maya DiRado (USA) – 2:05.99
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Women’s 200 Backstroke
  1. Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 2:04.68
  2. Kylie Masse (CAN), 2:05.42
  3. Emily Seebohm (AUS), 2:06.17
  4. Rhyan White (USA), 2:06.39
  5. Phoebe Bacon (USA), 2:06.40
  6. Taylor Ruck (CAN), 2:08.24
  7. Peng Xuwei (CHN), 2:08.26
  8. Liu Yaxin (CHN), 2:08.48

Kaylee McKeown completed the sweep and won gold in the women’s 200 backstroke, coming from behind on the last 50 to run down Canadian Kylie Masse and touch first in a time of 2:04.68.

Masse set the pace early, and really took off on the second 50, flipping eight tenths clear of McKeown in 1:00.74. McKeown made up a tenth on the third length, and then took off coming home, splitting a blazing 31.08 to win by almost three quarters of a second.

McKeown becomes the first Australian woman to win gold in this event, and records the seventh-fastest swim of all-time. McKeown owns a PB of 2:04.28, set earlier this year, which ranks fourth among historical performances.

Masse, the bronze medalist in this event behind McKeown’s silver at the 2019 World Championships, breaks her Canadian Record of 2:05.94 in 2:05.42 for the silver, moving up from 10th to sixth all-time among performers in the event.

All-Time Performers, Women’s 200 Backstroke (LCM)

Rank Swimmer Country Time Year
1 Regan Smith USA 2:03.35 2019
2 Missy Franklin USA 2:04.06 2012
3 Kaylee McKeown AUS 2:04.28 2021
4 Kirsty Coventry ZIM 2:04.81 2009
5 Anastasia Fesikova RUS 2:04.84 2009
6 Kylie Masse CAN 2:05.42 2021

29-year-old Aussie veteran Emily Seebohm, the two-time world champion in this event (2015, 2017), came back from fifth at the 150 with a 31.45 final split to clock in at 2:06.17 and snag bronze, edging out Americans Rhyan White (2:06.39) and Phoebe Bacon (2:06.40).

The 2019 world champion, American Regan Smith, failed to qualify in this event at the U.S. Olympic Trials, placing third.


  1. Katie Ledecky (USA), 8:12.79
  2. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 8:13.83
  3. Simona Quadarella (ITA), 8:18.35
  4. Katie Grimes (USA), 8:19.38
  5. Wang Jianjiahe (CHN), 8:21.93
  6. Kiah Melverton (AUS), 8:22.25
  7. Sarah Kohler (GER), 8:24.56
  8. Anastasiia Kirpichnikova (ROC), 8:26.30

Katie Ledecky exacted her revenge after back-to-back losses to Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, winning her third consecutive Olympic title in the women’s 800 freestyle.

Ledecky took the lead on the opening 50 and never relinquished it—though Titmus stayed close the entire way. Separated by just over a second at the 400, Ledecky’s lead doubled over the next 350 meters, and a late charge was too little too late for Titmus.

Ledecky finished in a time of 8:12.79, the 17th-fastest swim of all-time and of her career.

With the three-peat Ledecky joins Australian Dawn Fraser (100 free, 1956-64) and Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi (200 back, 1988-96) as the only women to win three consecutive Olympic titles in the same swimming event.

Titmus dropped almost two seconds from her Commonwealth, Oceanian and Australian Record in 8:13.83, winning silver and moving up from seventh into second all-time in the event. Titmus’ previous PB stood at 8:15.57, set at the Australian Olympic Trials in June.

Reigning two-time European champion and 2019 World Championship silver medalist Simona Quadarella held off a late charge from American Katie Grimes to win bronze, clocking 8:18.35. Quadarella holds the Italian Record of 8:14.99, set in 2019.

Grimes, who swam a personal best time of 8:17.05 in the prelims, was 8:19.38 to take fourth in her first Olympic final at the age of 15.

China’s Wang Jianjiahe, who came into the meet as the third-fastest performer in history (8:14.64), finished fifth in 8:21.93.

All-Time Performers, Women’s 800 Freestyle (LCM)

Rank Swimmer Country Time Year
1 Katie Ledecky USA 8:04.79 2016
2 Ariarne Titmus AUS 8:13.83 2021
3 Rebecca Adlington GBR 8:14.10 2008
4 Wang Jianjiahe CHN 8:14.64 2019
5 Simona Quadarella ITA 8:14.99 2019


  • World Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 20.91 (2009)
  • Olympic Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 21.30 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Michael Andrew (USA) – 21.75 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Anthony Ervin (USA) – 21.40
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 50 freestyle

Top 8 Qualifiers

  1. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 21.42
  2. Florent Manaudou (FRA), 21.53
  3. Bruno Fratus (BRA) / Kristian Gkolomeev (GRE), 21.60
  4. Ben Proud (GBR) / Michael Andrew (USA), 21.67
  5. Lorenzo Zazzeri (ITA), 21.75
  6. Thom De Boer (NED), 21.78

Caeleb Dressel got the job done in his second of three swims in this morning’s session, holding off Greece’s Kristian Gkolomeev to win the second semi of the men’s 50 freestyle in a time of 21.42.

Dressel, who hit a time of 21.32 in the prelims, qualifies first into the final, overtaking the time posted by 2012 Olympic champion Florent Manaudou in the first semi.

Dressel owns a personal best time of 21.04—the fastest swim ever in a textile suit—first set in 2019 and then matched at the U.S. Olympic Trials last month.

Manaudou, who is eyeing a third consecutive Olympic medal in this event after adding a silver in 2016, led that first heat in 21.53, marking his fastest swim since taking an extended hiatus from the sport in 2017 and 2018.

Brazilian Bruno Fratus touched second to Manaudou in 21.60, tying Gkolomeev for third overall, while American Michael Andrew and Great Britain’s Ben Proud tied for fifth in 21.67. Fratus’ swim is his 90th time breaking 22 seconds, more than any other swimmer in history.

ROC’s Kliment Kolesnikov and Canada’s Brent Hayden tied for fourth in the first semi, producing matching 21.82s, and it looked like a swim-off might be on the horizon. But it was not to be after five men went faster in the next heat, leaving them in a tie for ninth.

Hayden’s swim tied his fastest swim since his comeback in 2019, and less than a tenth off his National Record set of 21.73 set in a super-suit in 2009.

Having a disastrous 16th-place finish was Vladimir Morozov, who came into the meet ranked second in the world this year but finishes more than eight tenths off his time from the Russian Olympic Trials (21.42) in 22.25.


Top 8 Qualifiers

  1. Emma McKeon (AUS), 24.00 OR
  2. Pernille Blume (DEN), 24.08
  3. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 24.13
  4. Abbey Weitzeil (USA), 24.19
  5. Katarzyna Wasick (POL), 24.26
  6. Cate Campbell (AUS), 24.27
  7. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), 24.29
  8. Wu Qinfgeng (CHN) / Zhang Yufei (CHN), 24.32*

Emma McKeon breaks her fourth individual Olympic Record of the meet to lead the women’s 50 freestyle semi-finals, winning the second heat in a time of 24.00 to erase her preliminary mark of 24.02.

McKeon set a personal best time of 23.93 at last month’s Australian Olympic Trials. She will turn right around and swim the mixed 400 medley relay in a matter of minutes.

American Abbey Weitzeil took second to McKeon in Semi #2 in a personal best time of 24.19, improving upon her 24.27 from the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Defending champion Pernille Blume paced the first semi in 24.08, .02 off her season-best, while world record holder Sarah Sjostrom put together a very solid 24.13 to qualify third.

China’s Wu Qingfeng and Zhang Yufei tied for eighth in 24.32, setting up a swim-off, unless one of them withdraws.

2016 Olympic silver medalist and 2019 world champion Simone Manuel finished outside of the final in a tie for 11th, clocking 24.63.


  • World Record: China (Xu, Yan, Zhang, Yang) – 3:38.41 (2020)
  • Olympic Record: Great Britain (Dawson, Peaty, Guy, Anderson) – 3:38.75 (2021)
  • World Junior Record: USA (Grant, Matheny, Huske, Walsh) – 3:44.84 (2019)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: N/A
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Mixed 4×100 medley relay
  1. Great Britain, 3:37.58 WR
  2. China, 3:38.86
  3. Australia, 3:38.95
  4. Italy, 3:39.28
  5. United States, 3:40.58
  6. Netherlands, 3:41.25
  7. ROC, 3:42.45
  8. Israel, 3:44.77

Great Britain emerges as the inaugural Olympic champions in the mixed 400 medley relay, receiving superb splits from all four swimmers en route to a new world record of 3:37.58.

The Brits had Kathleen Dawson lead off in 58.80, three tenths slower than she was in the prelims, but then Adam Peaty (56.78) and James Guy (50.00) rattled off a pair of historically fast splits on breast and fly, putting the team into the lead heading into the freestyle.

Anna Hopkin torched a 52-flat split on the anchor, giving the Brits a massive 1.28-second margin of victory.

China, the now former world record holders, took second in 3:38.86, just off the Asian Record of 3:38.86, receiving strong splits all around, including a 55.48 fly leg from Zhang Yufei, who was just a few minutes out of racing the 50 freestyle semis.

The Australians nabbed bronze in 3:38.95, with Emma McKeon (also right out of the 50 free) anchoring in scorching 51.73.

The Italians, who led early with the fastest 100 back swim in the country’s history (not an official record due to it being a mixed relay) by Thomas Ceccon (52.23) and a 57.73 breast leg from Nicolo Martinenghi, finished fourth in 3:39.28.

The Americans employed a different strategy than everyone else, going putting a male swimmer on the freestyle leg.

Ryan Murphy (52.23), Lydia Jacoby (1:05.09) and Torri Huske (56.27) left Caeleb Dressel trailing the leaders by eight seconds at the final exchange, and albeit a 46.99 split, the U.S. only mustered fifth in a time of 3:40.58.

Jacoby’s goggles notably came off right off the start, swimming the entire race with them down on her face.

Arno Kamminga made it three male breaststrokers splitting sub-58, going 57.89 for the sixth-place Dutch.

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Sapnu puas
1 month ago

I want more James Guy winning tears please

1 month ago

Murphy or Jacoby should not be on this relay. But Dave Durden is pushing for Murphy. Smith-Fink-Dressel-Weitzeil OR Smith-Fink-Huske-Dressel. I’d go the first option because Huske hasn’t swam in a week and form isn’t known. Even with Weitzeil’s semi-final 4 minutes before the relay, adding a few tenths from her best split still makes it the best line-up option in my opinion.

Reply to  wow
1 month ago

That’s not enough time to recover lmao. You’re telling me she’s gonna put up a 52 high-53 low right after getting out of the 50 free semis? That’s ludicrous!

Reply to  TeamDressel
1 month ago

I mean…. Dressel also just out of semi’s 😂

John Aselton
Reply to  wow
1 month ago

Coaches really have made extremely poor relay decisions this Olympics

Reply to  wow
1 month ago

Regan, fink/Wilson/andrew (any of them would have been better than the lineup they put out), dressel, hinds/Erika brown would have undoubtedly been faster. Nothing against jacoby but the gap between men and women is just greater in breastroke. I would love to hear the coaches justification for that decision cause I just can’t think of one. Dressel could have cruised the fly and gone a 50.5 and they would have still place better 🤔

Reply to  Swimmin’
1 month ago

This is the right answer. Breaststroke should pretty much always be swam by men in the mixed relay.

Reply to  wow
1 month ago

Uhhhhh why not MA?

Reply to  Coachy
1 month ago

Personal bias’ > Logic

Reply to  wow
1 month ago

I would have gone smith, jacoby, dressed, apple. Smith had a great swim in the prelims, 57.5, and imo caeleb has to do fly no matter what. Apple is also a pretty clutch relay swimmer (ignoring the 800 free relay)

Miss M
1 month ago

Not Kaylee for the swimswam photo curse!

1 month ago

Knew y’all would choose an Aussie! Rhyan for the upset!!

Reply to  Hswimmer
1 month ago

You mean Phoebe!

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  N80m80
1 month ago

Bacon fried!

Miss M
Reply to  Hswimmer
1 month ago

Emily Seebohm enters the chat.

Reply to  Miss M
1 month ago

Tru just being American

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

“You could be me.
Actually… you could be better than me.
… score more victories than me.
You could be the me I always dreamed I could be.
Just imagine how far you can go.
You don’t need to be amazing to start, but you need to start to be amazing.”

steps of the podium
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

“You could be me.
Actually… you could be more obnoxious than me.
… blow a marketing budget better than me.
You could be the me I always dreamed I could be.
Just imagine how many ads you could play.
You don’t need to be annoying to start, but you need to start to be annoying.”

1 month ago

Just wanted to share with you guys this:

All past races in its entirety, with Nicole Livingstone commentary uploaded here: It updates about half a day after the races end.

Live stream here:, just find the channel that is showing swimming.

Singapore VPN needed

Last edited 1 month ago by ice
Reply to  ice
1 month ago

Awseome. There’s some non-final swims I wanna see again that aren’t available anywhere.

Reply to  ice
1 month ago

Ace stuff my friend

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  ice
1 month ago

Thanks to the miracle of VPN, have not heard Rowdy a single time this Olympics & not missing it in the least either. Nicole Livingstone is the queen of swimming announcers – respectful, mostly quite knowledgeable & with a very smooth vocal delivery. The other announcer (sad it is not Bruce McEvany!!!) is knowledgeable but a bit too “smart” & he also puts some swimmers down during their races unnecessarily. We need someone else for the male announcer role, FINA / IOC!

1 month ago

I really hope they stick a couple of medal ceremonies between the 50 frees and the MMR. It’s such a stupid schedule.

Last edited 1 month ago by Troyy
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

The second heat of the W 50 fr semis is scheduled to start about 6 minutes before the MMR.

1 month ago

Is there a lineup for the MMR order yet?

Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
1 month ago

Yep. Murphy Jacoby Huske Dressel

Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free in Paris
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
1 month ago

Yep – USA have gone Murphy, Jacoby, Huske and Dressel


Dressel should be on fly no matter what, he’s way better there than in free

Reply to  N80m80
1 month ago

yea seems a little weird, Dressel is more than 7 second faster than Huske but less than 7 seconds faster than Weitzeil so they’d drop more time going Dressel-Weitzeil than Huske-Dressel

Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

Try the math again.

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
1 month ago

Against expectations, USA actually goes with the MMFF order that everyone else uses, featuring their stars… this meet’s gold medalists.

Chase Kalisz.
Bobby Finke.
Katie Ledecky.
Lydia Jacoby.

In that order.

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

What a great relay. Probably better than the current order

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

Kalisz- 55.9 backstroke
Finke- 1:04.0 breastroke
Ledecky- 59.1 100 fly
Jacoby- ?? 100 free


Reply to  Buttafly
1 month ago

Question is Jacobys breast faster than her free???

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

In retrospect, they should have tried it.

Reply to  Pags
1 month ago

At least it would have been good fortv 😂 should have just thrown weitzel, manuel, Dressel and Andrew in there. Give Andrew the first aerobic set of his life in the warm down pool between to make it even more interesting. Weitzel and Manuel still wet from the 50 should do back and breast obviously. Let MA do fly and give Dressel a nice victory lap through the raging waves to Celebrate his 100 fly victory. Like what

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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