By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 30, 2021–Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky more than lived up to expectations Friday at the Olympic Aquatics Centre.
Dressel, 24, broke his own world record in the 100-meter butterfly in 49.45. His previous record was 49.50.
Dressel led with the quickest start (.60 off the blocks) and after the turn (23.00 split) and held off Hungary’s Kristof Milak’s late charge, who was second in a European record 49.68, also a lifetime best.
It was the first world record in an individual event by a male. Dressel is five-for-five in gold medals in two Olympics including two individual and one relay in Tokyo.
It was a busy day for the Clay High School, Bolles Swim Club and University of Florida alum who had a challenging triple in a span of 73 minutes. His semifinal 50-meter freestyle was 46 minutes after the 100 fly final. He then swam anchor on the mixed 400-meter medley relay 27 minutes after the 50 free and butterfly gold medal ceremony.
No American woman has won more gold medals than Katie Ledecky, 24, who won her sixth gold medal in her final event of the Games in the 800-meter freestyle. She won her third consecutive 800 Olympic gold in 8:12.57.
In the final 200 meters, she pulled away from Aussie rival Ariarne Titus who took silver in an Oceanic record 8:13.83. Fifteen-year-old U.S. teammate Katie Grimes was fourth in 8:19.38 and thanked Ledecky for pulling her along. “You’re welcome,” smiled Ledecky leaning on a lane line.
“It’s awesome, I just wanted to finish on a really good note,” Ledecky said. “I’m really happy. I want to try and soak it all in. I’m still in a lot of pain.
“That was not my last swim. I’m going to be around at least until 2024 (Paris Olympics) and maybe 2028 (Los Angeles Olympics). I don’t take anything for granted.”
Local swimmers results:
Coral Springs Swim Club’s Bruno Fratus of Brazil won the eighth heat of the 50-meter freestyle in 21.67. In the first semifinal he was second in 21.60, the 90th time he has broken 22 seconds, more than any other swimmer in history. He will swim in Lane 3 in the final next to Dressel.
Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago, second in his 50-meter freestyle heat in 22.46.
Westlake Prep alum Renzo Tjon-A-Joe of Suriname, fifth in his 50-meter freestyle heat in 22.56.
Azura’s Samantha Roberts of Antigua was sixth in her 50-meter freestyle heat in 27.63.
PAQ’s Cherelle Thompson of Trinidad & Tobago was eighth in her 50-meter freestyle heat in 26.19.
Azura’s Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador was second in his 1500-meter freestyle in 15:27.37.
In other championship medal finals:
Women’s 200-meter backstroke:
The Aussies continue to have a great showing, this time finishing one-three in the event. Kaylee McKeown came on in the last 20 meters to sweep the backstroke events in 2:04.68. She went 31 seconds on the back end. Early leader Kylie Masse of Canada was second in 2:05.42 and Aussie teammate Emily Seebohm was third in 2:06.17. Americans Rhyan White (2:06.39) and Phoebe Bacon (2:06.40) were out of the medal hunt in fourth and fifth.
Mixed 4×100-meter medley relay: The event made its Olympic debut with the U.S. getting shut out of medals. Great Britain, with Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty (56.78 split), James Guy and Anna Hopkin won with a world record 3:37.58. China was second in 3:38.86 and Australia third in 3:38.95. The U.S. relay of Ryan Murphy (52.23 split), Lydia Jacoby (1:05.09), who lost her goggles on the start and swam with them on her face, Torri Huske (56.27) and Caeleb Dressel (46.99), who was eight seconds behind the leaders when he hit the water, was fifth in 3:40.58.
200-meter backstroke: 1. Kaylee McKeown, AUS 2:04.68, 2. Kylie Masse, CAN 2:05.42, 3. Emily Seebohm, AUS 2:06.17.
800-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, US 8:12.57, 2. Ariarne Titmus, AUS 8:13.83, OC, 3. Simona Quadarella, ITA 8:18.35.
100-meter butterfly: 1. Caeleb Dressel, US 49.45, WR, 2. Kristof Milak, HUN 49.68, ER, 3. Noe Ponti, SUI 50.74.
Mixed 4×100-meter medley relay: 1. Great Britain 3:37.58, WR, 2. China 3:38.86, 3. Australia 3:38.95.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org