As someone who is engulfed in swimming 365 days a year, and we know many of our readers are as well, the question “how was the swim meet?”, while so simple on its surface, can be a challenge. We know our spouses, our families, and our friends are asking to be polite, to show interest in what we love, and to make conversation, but it’s easily to be paralyzed by how to explain this deep complex story of swimming into an answer that they’ll understand and care about.
So throughout this meet, we’ll take a shot at distilling the answer to that question into a couple of bite-sized pieces to get the conversation started. This is a perfect share on Facebook for your aunties to read or to email back to your cousin on a Sunday morning.
Hopefully these launch into more specific follow-up questions and discussions where you can really flex your muscles.
Biggest Day 5 Stories
- The men’s 100 free, which was the race coming into this meet, lived up to the hype. The American Caeleb Dressel, with all of the momentum, won to grab his 2nd gold medal of this meet. Kyle Chalmers of Australia, the defending champion (when he was only 18 in Rio) got 2nd with a great finish. Kliment Kolesnikov of Russia, the darkhorse in the race, got 3rd. That’s about how it read on paper coming into the meet, but it was fun to see it play out in real-time.
- The Americans, after a tough meet so far, had a really good day. Bobby Finke roared back in the last 50 meters to win the first ever Olympic gold medal on offer in the men’s 800 free, chasing down Gregorio Paltrinieri, who was aggressive early in the race. A 2-3 finish in the women’s 200 fly was also as good as they could have hoped for. The U.S. was always going to be a back-half team at this meet, though they probably hoped for more on the front-half, and it looks like they’re putting things together.
- China’s Zhang Yufei swam the fastest 200 fly we’ve seen in 12 years. The World Record in this event, set in 2009 in a special rubber suit that has since been outlawed, feels untouchable, but Zhang swam about as perfect of a race as we’ve seen in over a decade.
- The Chinese had an even better day than the Americans. They upset the Australian World Record holders to win gold after Australia made a lineup mistake (they put the wrong swimmers in prelims, and were forced into putting the wrong swimmers in finals). The top 3 teams (China, USA, Australia, in that order) were all under the old World Record. This was probably the most shocking upset of the meet so far. China’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in a swimming relay.
Here’s when the second finals session starts in your timezone, you can watch it on NBC, BBC, CBC, EuroSport, or whatever else is listed here.
On Day 6, watch Tatjana Schoenmaker chase the Olympics’ first individual World Record in swimming (we saw a relay record already) in the women’s 200 breaststroke. Russia’s Evgeny Rylov will chase a men’s backstroke sweep, the marquee women’s 100 free final is on tap, and the men’s 200 IM final where Michael Andrew will try, at long last, for his first Olympic medal.
TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS: POOL SWIMMING MEDAL TABLE AFTER DAY 5
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