Olympic Swimming Live: Ledecky Wins More Gold


Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

TOKYO — It was the Katie and Caeleb Show, an ongoing series at swimming, as the Americans continued their medal haul at the Olympics.

Caeleb Dressel won his third gold medal of these Olympics, setting a world record in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 49.45 seconds. He will look for his fourth gold on Sunday, the meet’s final day, in the 50-meter fly.

Katie Ledecky finished her meet at the Tokyo Games with a gold medal in one of her signature races, the women’s 800-meter freestyle, becoming the first swimmer to win the event in three consecutive Olympics.

She finished in 8 minutes 12.57 seconds, beating rival Ariarne Titmus of Australia by 1.26 seconds. And while Ledecky is finished in Tokyo, floating away with two gold medals (the other in the 1,500 free) and two silver medals, she said she is already looking forward to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, just three years away, and toying with the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.

“I’m definitely going through Paris,” Ledecky said. “And maybe beyond, as well. We’ll see.”

Her four medals in Tokyo give her 10 total across three Olympics, including seven golds and three silvers.

Ledecky, 24, already held the Olympic and world record in the event, established at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Back then, she swam it in a blistering 8:04.79, winning by nearly 12 seconds. In Rio, it was the last of her four gold medals, to go with one silver.

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

But this is a different Ledecky and a different time. She remained the slight favorite, and her qualifying time of 8:15.67 would have still won in Brazil five years ago. Rivals are closing in, including Katie Grimes, her 15-year-old United States teammate, an heir apparent, perhaps, in some of Ledecky’s best events.

Grimes finished fourth, behind bronze medalist Simona Quadarella of Italy.

But Titmus has become Ledecky’s primary rival at the moment. She beat Ledecky in two other individual events here, the 200 free (where Ledecky was fifth) and the 400 free (Ledecky earned silver, missing gold by 0.67 seconds).

“I’m really, really thrilled to have that kind of competition,” Ledecky said. “It’s something that fuels me, and I know it fuels her as well. And I hope that I can keep up and stay competitive here moving forward.”

Ledecky said she was “really happy” with her meet in Tokyo, which also included a rare fifth-place finish in the 200 free. She was motivated to finish with a win in the 800 free.

“I really just wanted to end on a really good note,” she said. “I just knew it would just linger with me if I ended on a bad note, so I just tried to use that as motivation to finish on the best stone possible.”

Dressel finished the 100 fly on the best possible note — a world record — but had more swimming to do. He cruised through a semifinal heat in the 50 free, and will be favored to win another gold on the meet’s last day.

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

He then joined the American team in the final of the inaugural mixed 4×100 medley relay, swimming free in the final leg, but it was not enough to earn the United States a medal. Britain won, with a world record, followed by China and Australia.

The United States was fifth, three seconds behind the winners.

But Dressel has not lost any individual events. In the 100 fly, Dressel already held the world record (49.5 seconds, in 2019) and the Olympic record (49.71, Friday). Kristof Milak of Hungary, the gold medalist in the 200 fly, swam to Dressel’s left, and Dressel suspected that is where his closest competition would be.

He was right. Milak followed Dressel to the finish, touching in 49.68, a European record.

“What a close race — two of the fastest times in history,” Dressel said. “You don’t get that very often, so to be a part of that is really special.”

The two of them, along with Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic, remain the only athletes to swim sub-50 seconds in the event’s history.

“That event’s only going to get faster, I’m aware of that,” Dressel said. “It’s just exciting that it took a world record to win.”

The Americans had hoped for another medal or two in the 200-meter women’s backstroke, but ended up fourth and fifth.

Kaylee McKeown of Australia won in a time of 2:04.68.

There was something missing from the event: the world-record holder, Regan Smith, who did not qualify because she finished third at the U.S. trials. It is indicative of American depth, in this event and across the sport.

The two swimmers who beat her in June — Rhyan White and Phoebe Bacon — were positioned to medal here, swimming on either side of 29-year-old Emily Seebohm of Australia, who had the fastest qualifying time.

White, 21, finished fourth. Bacon, 18, finished fifth.

(As for Smith, she finished her schedule, leaving Tokyo with a silver medal and a bronze medal.)

That left the stage clear for Dressel and Ledecky, who now exits with her legacy firmly intact, and looking to grow.

Britain won the mixed medley relay in a time of 3:37:58.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

TOKYO — Britain won the mixed medley relay in a time of 3 minutes 37.58, setting a world record in the first time the event was held at the Olympics. China took silver and Australia bronze, followed by Italy and the United States.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The mixed medley was the last final of the session, and one of the wackiest and most strategic of the meet.

Teams swim 100 meters of each stroke, back, breast, butterfly and free. Each team featured two men and two women, but each country decided the order in which they swam.

The American team of Regan Smith, Andrew Wilson, Tom Shields and Abby Weitzeil had the second-fastest qualifying time, well behind that of Britain, which established an Olympic record of 3:38.75.

For the final, however, the U.S. fielded Ryan Murphy (backstroke), Lydia Jacoby (breaststroke), Torri Huske (butterfly) and Caeleb Dressel (freestyle).

Manuel after her heat.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Simone Manuel of the United States failed to qualify for the 50-meter freestyle final after finishing 11th out of 16 swimmers in semifinal heats in a time of 24.63 seconds.

It was the only individual event for Manuel, who shockingly did not qualify for the Olympics in the 100 free, her signature event and one where she won gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

After the U.S. team trials in June, she revealed that she had been diagnosed with overtraining syndrome earlier in the year. Along with extreme fatigue, she had been experiencing depression and insomnia and had been required to step back from her normal, intense training routine.

She earned a bronze medal early in the Tokyo meet in the 4×100 free relay. She was not part of that team during qualifying heats, but was added for the final to bolster the medal chances.

Emma McKeon of Australia finished first among the semifinalists with a time of 24 seconds, an Olympic record.

The 4×100 mixed relay is the last final of the session, and one of the wackiest events of any meet. The hardest part about watching is trying to make sense of leads and deficits. Each team features two men and two women, but each country decides the order that they will swim.

The American team of Regan Smith, Andrew Wilson, Tom Shields and Abby Weitzeil had the second-fastest qualifying time, well behind that of Britain, which established an Olympic record of 3:38.75.

But not all the best swimmers in each discipline take part — no Caeleb Dressel, for example — which explains why Australia did not make the final. Do not tell that to those who earn a medal here.

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

TOKYO — Katie Ledecky concluded her Tokyo Olympics with another gold medal in an event she has dominated her entire career, the 800-meter freestyle.

She clocked in at 8 minutes 12.57 seconds, ahead of Ariarne Titmus of Australia and Simona Quadarella of Italy.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Ledecky will depart Tokyo with two gold medals (the other in the 1,500 free) and two silver medals. She finished fifth in the 200 free.

“It’s awesome,’’ she told NBC after the race. “I just wanted to finish on a really great note. That was not my last swim.” She said she’s aiming for the 2024 (Paris) and 2028 (Los Angeles) Games.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Ledecky already held the Olympic and world record in the event, established at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Back then, she swam it in a blistering 8:04.79, winning by nearly 12 seconds. In Rio, it was the last of her four gold medals, to go with one silver.

But this is a different Ledecky and a different time. She remains the slight favorite, and her qualifying time of 8:15.67 would have still won in Brazil five years ago. She was not expected to swim away from the competition this time, and her biggest challenge looked to come from the teammate next to her, 15-year-old Katie Grimes — an heir apparent, perhaps, in some of Ledecky’s best events.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Ledecky came to Tokyo having not lost a major final in this event since she emerged as a 15-year-old. She owned 24 of the 25 fastest times in history. If she went under 8:14.10, she would have all 25.

It also ends, for now, the small rivalry with Australia’s Ariarne Titmus. She beat Ledecky in two other individual events here, the 200 free (where Ledecky was fifth) and the 400 free (Ledecky earned silver, missing gold by 0.67 seconds).

Kaylee McKeown, center, won gold in the 200-meter backstroke, while Kylie Masse, left, of Canada got silver and Emily Seebohm of Australia took bronze.
Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Kaylee McKeown of Australia won the 200-meter women’s backstroke in a time of 2 minutes 4.68 seconds, defeating Kylie Masse of Canada and Emily Seebohm of Australia.

There was something missing from this event: the world-record holder, Regan Smith, who did not qualify because she finished third at the U.S. trials. It is indicative of American depth, in this event and across the sport.

The two who beat her in June — Rhyan White and Phoebe Bacon — were in prime position to medal here, swimming on either side of 29-year-old Seebohm, who had the fastest qualifying time. She had previously finished fifth in the 100 back.

(As for Smith, she finished her schedule, leaving Tokyo with a silver medal and a bronze medal.)

White, 21, earlier had finished fourth in the 100 back. The 200 back was the lone event for Bacon, 18.

Caeleb Dressel beat his own world record in the 100-meter butterfly on Saturday.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Caeleb Dressel of the United States won his third gold medal of these Olympics, setting a world record in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 49.45 seconds.

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Dressel already held the world record (49.5 seconds, in 2019) and the Olympic record (49.71, Friday), and he came to the final as the favorite. No one else in the field went below 50 seconds in their preliminary heats.

Kristof Milak of Hungary, the gold medalist in the 200 fly, swam to Dressel’s left, and Dressel suspected that is where his closest competition would be. The two of them, and Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic, were the only ones to swim sub-50 seconds in this event’s history.

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Within an hour of swimming the 100 fly, Dressel will compete in a semifinal heat of the 50 free. That final is Sunday morning in Tokyo (Saturday night Eastern time).

Katie Ledecky won gold in the longest distance race, the 1500-meter.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Katie Ledecky holds the Olympic and world record in the 800-meter freestyle, established at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Back then, she swam it in a blistering 8:04.79, winning by nearly 12 seconds. It was the last of her four gold medals, to go with one silver.

But this is a different Ledecky and a different time. She remains the slight favorite, and her qualifying time of 8:15.67 would have still won in Brazil five years ago. But she is unlikely to swim away from the competition this time. Her biggest challenge may come from the teammate next to her, 15-year-old Katie Grimes.

Anything other than a Ledecky win would be an upset. She has not lost a major final in this event since she emerged as a 15-year-old. She owns 24 of the 25 fastest times in history. If she goes under 8:14.10, she will have all 25.

Whatever rivalry that Ledecky has with Australia’s Ariarne Titmus will be highlighted here. Titmus’s two gold medals came by beating Ledecky in two other individual events here, the 200 free (where Ledecky was fifth) and the 400 free (Ledecky earned silver, missing gold by 0.67 seconds).

The longer the distance, though, the more it favors Ledecky. Titmus will swim in Lane 7, and will have plenty of others to fight to get to the medal stand.

There is something missing from the 200-meter backstroke final: the world-record holder, Regan Smith, who did not qualify because she finished third at the U.S. trials. It is indicative of American depth, in this event and across the sport.

The two athletes who beat her in June — Rhyan White and Phoebe Bacon — are in position to medal here. But the pool will be filled with swimmers who feel the same way, across every lane.

Expect a tight finish. The fastest qualifying time, barely, went to Emily Seebohm of Australia. She will be sandwiched by White and Bacon, two of the four swimmers whose qualifying times were within a second of Seebohm. The other woman to watch is Australia’s Kaylee McKeown, who won the 100 fly.

(As for Smith, she finished her schedule, leaving Tokyo with a silver medal and a bronze medal.)

Caeleb Dressel is the men’s breakout star of swimming at these Olympics.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Caeleb Dressel could win his third gold medal of these Olympics. He holds the world record (49.5, in 2019) and the Olympic record (49.71, Friday) in the 100-meter butterfly, and no one else in the field went below 50 seconds in their heats.

But Kristof Milak of Hungary, the gold medalist in the 200 fly, will be swimming to Dressel’s left. The two of them, and Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic, are the only ones to swim sub-50 seconds in this event.

Dressel is the men’s breakout star of swimming at these Olympics, and the exclamation points could come on each weekend day. Within an hour of swimming the 100 fly, he will compete in a semifinal heat of the 50 free. That final is Sunday morning, Tokyo time (Saturday night in the U.S.).

Dressel started swimming when he was 5, after his parents enrolled him in swim lessons — a decision he did not agree with at first, he said in a video interview on U.S.A. Swimming’s YouTube page.

But Dressel, who is from Green Cove Springs, Fla., eventually became laser-focused on swimming. By his mother’s telling, Dressel’s first “competition” came when he jumped in the pool during one of his siblings’ swim meets, raced his way to the other end and claimed, “I won a medal, I won a medal!”

It was the first unofficial accomplishment in his booming career: Dressel, who swam for the University of Florida, went on to sweep up 15 medals at world championships and set world and U.S. records.

At the 2019 FINA World Championship Games, Dressel broke his first long-course world record in the 100-meter butterfly, posting a time of 49.50 and shattering the previous record of 49.82 set by Michael Phelps.

Dressel made his Olympic debut at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, where he and his team won gold in the men’s 4×100 freestyle and in the 4×100 medley relays.

“As soon as I get behind those blocks, I finally get to do what I was trained to do,” Dressel said in a U.S.A. Swimming video from 2016. “I finally get to be me.”

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The Tokyo Aquatics Center was newly built for the Olympics, like most of the venues for these Summer Games. The swimming pool will host national and international meets, Japanese officials say, once the Olympics are over. Here’s what you need to know:

The center includes a 10-lane main pool, a training pool and a diving pool. For races, only the inside eight lanes are utilized. All the swimming, diving and artistic swimming events are held there. Next month, it will host the Paralympic swimming competitions.

The main pool is 50 meters (164 feet) long and 25 meters (82 feet) wide. And it is 3 meters deep, or about 9.8 feet. The main pool and the warm-up pool also have movable floors and walls and have adapting depth options.

The temperature is kept between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius, which is between 77 and 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yes, lifeguards keep close watch on the swimmers, who could require aid from injuries and cramps. They’re also on hand for other contests: Water polo games are very physical; artistic swimming has seen many concussions in the past; and divers are launching themselves from towering heights.

Air horns are usually used to remind swimmers that they’re on their final lap.

Caeleb Dressel of the U.S. before the men’s 100-meter freestyle swimming race.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

TOKYO — Swimming today (Saturday morning in Tokyo, Friday night in the U.S.) presents the second-to-last day of the competition, the last race for Katie Ledecky and another chance for Caeleb Dressel to win gold.

The United States has 24 medals, 10 more than any other country. (That would be Australia, with 14, followed by Britain, with six.) If there is disappointment among Americans, it is that they are showing depth more than dominance. Only — only being relative — six of the 24 medals are gold.

The session will have four finals, including three in a row to start: men’s 100-meter butterfly, women’s 200 backstroke and women’s 800 freestyle. That is the one that Ledecky will swim, looking to add to her Tokyo haul of a gold medal and two silvers. She is heavily favored to win gold here, but Ariarne Titmus of Australia has been a threat in other races.

Dressel could win his third gold medal of these Olympics. He holds the world record (49.5, in 2019) and the Olympic record (49.71, Friday), and no one else in the field went below 50 seconds in their heats.

And two Americans could boost the medal haul in the women’s 200 backstroke. The biggest question is what color the medals will be.

The final event is the mixed 4×100 medley, the first mixed-gender swimming race at the Olympics.

On Friday, American Ryan Murphy added further intrigue to the final days of the meet by mentioning the “d” word (doping) after finishing second to a Russian in one race and two Russians in another. Russian athletes are allowed to compete if they meet antidoping protocols laid out by meet organizers.

“I try not to get caught up in that,” he said, without directly accusing the winners of cheating. “It is a huge mental drain on me to go throughout the year knowing that I’m in a race that probably isn’t clean.”

The Russian Olympic Committee (going by ROC at these Games) responded on Twitter as if swimming had entered a cold war in the water.

“How unnerving our victories are for some of our colleagues,” it said, in Russian. “Yes, we are here at the Olympics, whether someone likes it or not.”

It showed photographs of three athletes who have openly, but not harshly, questioned Russia’s presence here — Murphy, British swimmer Luke Greenback, and American rower Megan Kalmoe — and called it “English-language propaganda” from “athletes offended by defeats.”

Ryan Murphy of the U.S. got silver in the 200-meter backstroke.
Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

TOKYO — American dominance in the Olympic pool is an old story at this point, a snowball forever rolling downhill, even if the pitch of the slope varies slightly from year to year.

The United States team’s grinding success continued Friday, with American swimmers adding two silvers and a bronze to their growing haul at the Tokyo Games. The medals widened the U.S. advantage on its rivals in the pool but fell short of the golds they covet most of all, a development that had one American claiming his race was tainted by doping.

Ryan Murphy won a silver in the men’s 200-meter backstroke and then caused some fireworks in his news conference when he questioned whether his race, won by a Russian, was drug-free, given Russia’s history of doping in sports.

“I don’t know if it was 100 percent clean,” Murphy said, “and that’s because of things that have happened in the past.”

Earlier, Lilly King and Annie Lazor earned silver and bronze in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, beaten to the wall by a South African, Tatjana Schoenmaker, who set a world record in the event and then burst into tears.

Americans now have captured 24 swimming medals overall heading into the final two days of competition, compared with 14 for their biggest rival, swimming-mad Australia. The United States most likely will not match its high-water mark of 2016, when the team won 34 medals, 16 of them gold, but it should get within spitting distance of that total.

Katie Ledecky winning the 1500-meter freestyle this week.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

More gold medals are up for grabs today, in the 100-meter men’s butterfly (Caelab Dressel of the U.S. is favored), the women’s 200-meter backstroke (two Americans were the top qualifiers), the women’s 800-meter freestyle (can Katie Ledecky of the U.S. claim another distance gold?) and the 4×100-meter mixed gender medley relay (first time for this even in the Olympics).

The Australians could have a strong night, too, with Ariarne Titmus expected to challenge Ledecky in the 800-meter freestyle.

Swimming coverage begins at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.

The scheduled times of the medal events are:

  • 9:30 p.m. Eastern time: 100-meter men’s butterfly

  • 9:37 p.m.: 200-meter women’s backstroke

  • 9:46 p.m.: 800-meter women’s freestyle

  • 10:43 p.m.: 4×100 mixed medley relay

NBC’s coverage can also be streamed on NBCOlympics.com and on its Peacock service.



Source link

Popular Topics

Related Articles