Tokyo Rapid-Fire: Day 5 Swimming Headlines


Day 5 Finals Recap

Last night in Tokyo was the longest finals session thus far in the pool, featuring 5 Olympic finals (two that were 800 meters long) and 4 semi-finals events, totaling 9 different events contested last night in the U.S./in the morning in Tokyo. A lot of big headlines happened. Read on for the biggest swimming headlines from day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

USA’s Finke Crowned First-Ever Men’s 800 Free OLY Champion

It was a dogfight for the first-ever contested Olympic title in the men’s 800 free. For the majority of the race, Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri looked to be on his way to winning the title from lane eight, until Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk and an accelerating Bobby Finke of the USA inched at him during the final 50.

During the final meters, however, Finke turned on his primal speed towards the wall to hit another American record and first-ever 800 free Olympic gold. Despite drastically fading in speed, Paltrinieri graciously accepted silver as Romanchuk snagged bronze in a historic final.

Aussie Stubblety-Cook Emerges Men’s 200 Breast Champion in OR Fashion

20-year-old Aussie Zac Stubblety-Cook stormed the men’s 200 breast final, featuring some of the fastest men in history to ever swim the event, and won the Tokyo 2020 Olympic title in an Olympic record time of 2:06.38.

Picking up his second breaststroke silver medal of these Games was Dutchman Arno Kamminga, finishing ahead of Finnish veteran Matti Mattson, who both knocked off the current world record-holder and defending Olympic champion, ROC’s Anton Chupkov.

Aussies McKeon/Campbell Will Swim Side-By-Side in 100 Free Final

In the first women’s 100 free semifinal, Hong Kong’s first swimming Olympic medalist Siobhan Haughey reset the Asian record with a swift 52.40. Taking second in the semifinal was Aussie Cate Campbell, staying ahead of Rio 2016 Olympic champion Penny Oleksiak.

Newly-minted Olympic record-holder Emma McKeon of Australia will accompany Campbell into the final, looking to upgrade her Olympic bronze from the 100 fly final. Also qualifying into their second 100 free Olympic final are Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and USA’s Abbey Weitzeil.

Rylov Aiming to Topple Murphy A Second Time in 200 Back Final

Reigning World champion and 100 back Olympic champion Evgeny Rylov of the ROC has set himself up to top another backstroke final, this time the 200 back. Gliding into the wall, Rylov will be joined by Brit Luke Greenbank, also registering a sub-1:55 effort.

Both Americans, defending Olympic champion Ryan Murphy and teammate Bryce Mefford, will also swim in the final alongside Japanese great Ryosuke Irie.

China’s Zhang Picks Up Olympic Gold With Women’s 200 Fly OR

After picking up Olympic silver in the 100 fly final, China’s Zhang Yufei demolished the 200 fly final to upgrade to Olympic gold in a sub-2:04 Olympic record. Zhang’s time marked the fastest time in the textile suit era (2010-present) and is now the No. 3 performer all-time and No. 2 performer in Chinese and Asian history.

Also upgrading her Olympic medal was American Regan Smith, who smashed a second off her lifetime best to earn silver in this event after taking bronze in the 100 back final. Teammate Hali Flickinger took her second bronze medal of Tokyo 2020 for a USA 1-2 finish.

Dressel Becomes OLY Champion in 100 Free, De-Thrones Chalmers

American Caeleb Dressel was out like a lighting off the blocks for the men’s 100 free final, yet he knew that the defending Olympic champion, Aussie Kyle Chalmers, is a strong closer. It was extremely close at the finish, with Dressel and Chalmers touching 0.06s within each other for the gold. Looking at the scoreboard, it was Dressel who took the win with a new Olympic record time of 47.02.

Picking up his second Olympic medal of the Games was ROC’s Kliment Kolesnikov.

RSA’s Schoenmaker Could Win 200 Breast Gold AND Break the WR in Final

After breaking the Olympic record with the No. 2 performance in history in prelims, South African Tatjana Schoenmaker will once again swim lane four of an Olympic final, this time in the 200 breast. She will be joined by teammate Kaylene Corbett, making it two RSA representatives in the women’s 200 breast final.

Following suit were the Americans, where Annie Lazor and Lilly King will both contend for 200 breast medals alongside ROC teen Evgeniia Chikunova.

CHN’s Wang, GBR’s Scott, JPN’s Seto, USA’s Andrew Headline Men’s 200 IM

The last Olympic final that was determined on day five was the men’s 200 IM, which is shaping up to be a race to watch. Taking the top seed will be China’s Wang Shun, who came home with a blazing 27.89 closing 50 free split. Also in will be USA’s Michael Andrew, who swam a bold racing strategy that landed him 4th into the final.

Closing with an even faster 50 free split was Brit Duncan Scott, who snagged the No. 2 seed with a 27.55 closing 50. He will be accompanied by medal threat Japan’s Daiya Seto, who swam out of lane eight but is the No. 3 final seed. Rio 2016 Olympic champion in the 400 IM, Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, will also swim the 200 IM final.

Chinese Women Win Historic 800 Free Relay Gold in a WR

It was the fastest women’s 800 free relay final in history, with the entire top 3 countries all obliterating the world record. Taking the surprise win was the Chinese relay of Yang Junxuan, Tang Muhan, Zhang Yufei, and Li Bingjie, setting the world and Olympic record at 7:40.33.

Finishing in silver medal position with a clutch anchor leg by Katie Ledecky was Team USA (7:40.73), taking down Team Australia (7:41.29). The Aussies formerly held the world record, which was a 7:41.50 from the 2019 World Championships.

Catch up on more of the biggest Tokyo 2020 swimming headlines:

  • Day 1 Headlines: Hafnoui Stuns for Gold, AUS Women Smash 400 FR-R WR, US Men Go 1-2 in 400 IM
  • Day 2 Headlines: MacNeil De-Thrones Sjostrom, Titmus De-Thrones Ledecky, US Men Defend 400 FR-R Title
  • Day 3 Headlines: Dean/Scott Go 1-2 for GBR, Rylov Snaps U.S. Back Winning Streak, Jacoby De-Thrones King
  • Day 4 Headlines: Milak Now Olympic Champion, Ledecky Wins 1500 FR Title, British Men Win 800 FR-R Title

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Being the TEAM USA supporter, I gotta go with these 3:

  1. Bobby Finke closing in the last 30 meters of the 800 free – Whoa! Talk about the ultimate closer to Gold!
  2. The sheer JOY AND RELIEF on the face of Dressel was a thing of beauty!
  3. Katie L’s closer in the 4 X 200 free relay should get some kinda true grit aware – Such an inspirational swim!

And the fact that the Aussies totally shafted themselves in the same race doesn’t hurt either.

1 month ago

Why? In another thread, we said we were just sad for MA. But you have to cheer when Aussies get defeated. Why ?

Sam B
1 month ago

It was a dogfight for the first-ever contested Olympic title in the men’s 1500 free.”
1500 free > 800 free

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

Read More »