2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES
- When: Pool swimming: Saturday, July 24 – Sunday, August 1, 2021
- Open Water swimming: Wednesday, August 4 – Thursday, August 5, 2021
- Where: Olympic Aquatics Centre / Tokyo, Japan
- Heats: 7 PM / Semifinals & Finals: 10:30 AM (Local time)
- Full aquatics schedule
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We’ve reached the final prelims session of the Tokyo 2020 Games which will feature the men’s and women’s 50 freestyles, the women’s 800 freestyle, and both the men’s and women’s heats of the 4×100 medley relay.
Caeleb Dressel will be on the hunt for his another Olympic gold medal in the 50 freestyle, adding to his victory in the 100 free. Dressel downed the Olympic record in the 100 freestyle final with a 47.02. While he couldn’t quite hit the elusive 2009 world record from Cesar Cielo in the 100 free of 46.91, he has another shot here at history as he targets Cielo’s 20.91 WR in the 50. Between the prelims and finals of the men’s 50 freestyle, Dressel will have a chance to win a second medal in the 100 butterfly in which he’s entered as top seed.
A contingent of men have chased Dressel in both of his event thus far and we’ll see if anyone is able to deny him a chance at his 3rd Tokyo title. In the running behind Dressel Russia’s Vlad Morozov who enters with a 21.27, Brazilian rocket Bruno Fratus, and Great Britain’s Ben Proud.
2-time Olympic champion Florent Manaudou is going to be vying for a return to the podium as well, along will 2021 European Champ Ari-Pekka Liukkonen of Finland, Dressel’s American teammate Michael Andrew, and Greek’s Kristian Gkolomeev.
On the women’s side, Emma McKeon will be attempting a similar feat to Dressel as she attempts to collect 50 freestyle gold following a first-place finish in the 100. She pulled off the victory in the 100 against an elite field which included teammate Cate Campbell. Campbell won Olympic silver in the event with a 52.27 to McKeon’s 51.96 but will turn around and try to get a gold for herself. Campbell actually won an Olympic bronze in the 50 freestyle back in 2008 and didn’t reach the podium again individually until her Tokyo 100.
It’s not just up to McKeon or Campbell, however, in the women’s 50 freestyle as we still have 2 50 freestyle Olympic champions to mention. Ranomi Kromowidjojo took gold in the event in 2012 and was succeeded by Pernille Blume who topped the podium 4 years later. Both will be in the field here as 4th and 6th seeds, respectively. While they’ll need to move up in the rankings in order to make the podium, both have the experience and the skills that it takes to win.
Simone Manuel and Sarah Sjostrom will be in the mix as well and will both be searching for redemption. Manuel is set to make her individual event debut in Tokyo with the 50 after being shut out of the 100 free at US Trials. She won World Championships gold in the event back in 2019 and will likely come in flying. Sjostrom on the other hand has already raced the 100 free and fly in Tokyo but was left of the podium in both as she continues to suffer the effects of the elbow break she sustained earlier this year. Perhaps the 50 will be just short enough to hold off the field and finally make her way onto a Tokyo 2020 Olympic podium.
Adding to the action will be Polish veteran Kasia Wasick as she makes her post-retirement comeback, Russian Olympic Committee sprinter Mariia Kameneva, Michelle Coleman of Sweden, American Abbey Weitzeil, and 200 butterfly champion Zhang Yufei.
The longest event of the session will be the men’s 1500 freestyle in which Gregorio Paltrinieri will attempt to repeat his 2016 gold medal swim. Paltrnieri is the top seed in the men’s distance event with a 14:33.10, while Florian Wellbrock holds a 14:36.45 for 2nd overall and Mykhailo Romanchuk a 14:37.63 for 3rd. The 3 top seeds represent the podium finishers at the 2019 World Championships where Wellbrock and Romanchuk notched their respective entry times with a gold and silver medal finish respectively. Paltrinieri was a 14:38.75 for bronze.
The top 3 men hold a decent lead ahead of the field as Henrik Christiansen sits in 4th place with a 14:45.35 entry time. Behind him is Bobby Finke of the USA who holds a 14:46.06 for 5th overall but can’t be counted out yet after a dominant performance earlier on at Tokyo 2020. Rounding out the top 8 seeds in the field will be Great Britain’s Daniel Jervis with a 1:46.51, Alexander Norgaard of Denmark who holds a 14L47.75, and Jan Micka with a 14:48.52.
The final 2 events of the prelims session will be the men’s and women’s 4×100 medleys as 2016 Olympic and 2019 Worlds champions on the women’s side, the USA attempt to formulate the best possible roster to fend off the competition. On the men’s side, Great Britain took the most recent gold medal at 2019 World Championships but the USA will be coming for vengeance to defend their 2016 crown.