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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ex-SEC swimmer
1 year ago

I really wonder how much faster Finke could go if he had someone faster to chase for the first 1450. So much left in the tank.

Sam B
1 year ago

it keeps coming, fascinating interview with Milak’s coach

Lex Soft
1 year ago

Trayvon Brommel is out, failed to reach the semifinal of 100m. He finished 4th in his heat, clocking 10.05.
Novak Djokovic failed to get medal, lost to Pablo Carreno Busta for the bronze.

Fraser Thorpe
Reply to  Lex Soft
1 year ago

Brommel made it through

Lex Soft
Reply to  Fraser Thorpe
1 year ago

Ah..sorry…. he was in the top 3 of next fastest to qualify. I was just too excited that I didn’t really read the complete rule.

Reply to  Lex Soft
1 year ago

And a young Australian won his heat over Asafa Powell….fun times!

Lex Soft
Reply to  torchbearer
1 year ago

It’s Yohan Blake, not Asafa Powel. But we will see in the semifinal.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Lex Soft
1 year ago

Jamaican women with the sweep in the 100m. Their ages 29, 34, and 27. Who says athletics is a young persons sport?!

Also Djokovic’s behavior was shameful, with him getting angry and smashing his racket and throwing it into the stands. Will the IOC sanction him for that behavior?

Lex Soft
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 year ago

I know the results of women’s 100m. Elaine Thompson breaks Flo Jo’s Olympic record after clocking 10.61.
I only read on Olympic official site, so I don’t know about Djokovic’s behaviour in that match. I will see about that later.

Lex Soft
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 year ago

I have never said Field and Tracks are only for young people. Because I saw the great Carl Lewis won gold in long jump for 4 times in a row at the age of 35 in Atlanta 1996. At the age of 31, he still managed to impressively anchor 4x100m relay in Barcelona 1992.
Prior to that, at Tokyo WC 1991, he won gold in 100m where 6 sprinters went sub 10 secs in the final for the 1st time and did his thing as the anchor in 4x100m relay. At the same WC, he gave a thrilling competition in long jump with his rival Mike Powell : four of his jumps were 8.80 meters or longer. That was fantastic.

Sean C.
Reply to  Lex Soft
1 year ago

Andre De Grasse looked great in his heat.

1 year ago

I keep waiting for the heats preview to be posted but I know it’s not coming 😭😭

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Sub13
1 year ago

Swimming is almost over … that makes me sad 🙁

Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 year ago

Me too

1 year ago

So I’ve just realised that there’s no heats tonight. 😭

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

I realised a couple of days ago that I’d have to convert to track and field tonight. And Rohan Browning just made 100 metre semis!

Reply to  Joel
1 year ago

I’ve been hoping he would but the final will be a lot harder. Hopefully he can dip under 10.

Lex Soft
Reply to  Joel
1 year ago

Trayvon Bromell is out, after only finished 4th in his heat. Michael Andrew is better, managed to reach the final in the fastest event in swimming. 🙂

Corn Pop
Reply to  Lex Soft
1 year ago

Trayvon & Big Mike are both 1% ers here.

Last edited 1 year ago by Corn Pop
Reply to  Lex Soft
1 year ago

Got thru based on time.

Lex Soft
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

My bad… sorry… so excited to see the raw results that I didn’t really read the complete rule.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Lex Soft
1 year ago

Made it through actually.

Lex Soft
Reply to  Joel
1 year ago

Elaine Thompson wins the gold, breaking Flo Jo’s OR : 10.61
Three Jamaicans are in top 3.

Reply to  Lex Soft
1 year ago

Dubious af.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t trust athletics as much as I trust swimming, though both has had their history.

Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Quick day 7 thoughts

Probably the men’s race of the meet.
You need two people to have a great race.
And it was the case here. Dressel in the role of Cavic or Crocker and Milak in the role of MP. But Milak didn’t win like MP has done it twice in 2004 and 2008.
It was close but Dressel held on. 5 more meters he would have lost. Congrats to him. First male swimmer to win the 100 free and the 100 fly at the same olympics since Mark spitz in 1972. Good company.
I didn’t expect to see Milak so close to Dressel this year. Maybe a 49 high.… Read more »

M d e
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Men’s 1 free > men’s 1 fly imo

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Would you rather sit and watch a 1500 free than a mixed medley? Like it or not sport is entertainment and however stupid you may think it is a mixed medley is entertaining and it’s here to stay

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

We have a salty Frenchmen here 🤣🤣🤣🤣

1 year ago

I’m starting a Go Fund Me to buy the USA coaches a calculator

1 year ago

Is GBR going too far in withdrawing from individual events to help the relays? Guy’s butterfly split of 50.00 in the MMR suggests he could have won a medal. McKeon, Yufei and others have had tougher schedules than what he would have faced. And Matt Temple’s swim in the MMR was arguably better than his individual swim in the 100BF about one and a half hours earlier.

1 year ago

Ultimately it’s up to the individual. I don’t think anyone should be pressured to drop an individual event, but if they think it’s best for their medal count they should do it. And it seems to be working out for GB. Zero relay wins in Rio, 2 so far (possibly 3) in Tokyo.

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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