Australia’s medal race at Tokyo 2020 continued on Saturday with the Dolphins adding gold, silver and two bronze medals to their already considerable pool loot. Kaylee McKeown won her second Olympic Games individual gold with victory in the women’s 200m backstroke, while two-time gold medalist Ariarne Titmus added a silver to her account in the women’s 800m freestyle.
Australian swimming veteran Emily Seebohm secured third place behind McKeown and silver medalist Kylie Masse from Canada on the back, meaning she has now won a medal in four Olympics. Australia’s relay team then rounded off the spoils with bronze in the mixed medley relay, the first time in Olympic history that men and women have been swimming in a relay together.
Twenty-year-old McKeown had shown his mastery of the back earlier in the week to win gold in the 100-meter event. She was behind Masse for most of the 200 meters, but on a fast final lap, McKeown overtook her rival to touch the wall just before a new Olympic record.
In the women’s 800 meters, Katie Ledecky edged her rival Titmus. The American led from the start and withstood a late charge from the Australian to touch home more than a second ahead of Titmus. Ledecky’s victory means the pair have won two gold medals each at Tokyo 2020.
“I’m very happy to be able to act when it mattered,” Titmus said as he concluded his match with two gold, one silver and one bronze in relay. “I am relieved that it is over now, it is sad that my Tokyo campaign is over. But I’m very happy with how I performed this week. “
Titmus said he was “over the moon” to be on the podium at an event Ledecky has dominated for the past decade.
“I would love to have a good rest,” he said. “I’ll talk to Dean [Boxall, her coach] now on what we will do next. But I definitely need time for my mind to recover, my body to recover, my shoulder needs a good rest. To reflect, I don’t really like to say that, but I think I really have to think about what I accomplished here, having time out of the pool, so I can prepare and get up for next year. “
Australia’s success in the relays continued on Saturday, with the Dolphins clinching a fifth relay medal at Tokyo 2020 with two relays remaining. McKeown’s Australian squad, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Matthew Temple and Emma McKeon had enough to beat a fast-ending USA: McKeon held off American sprint star Caeleb Dressel. The race posed a tactical dilemma for the teams, which had to use two male and two female swimmers, but had discretion in the order.
In the morning’s first final, American Dressel broke the world record for winning gold in the men’s 100m butterfly when Australian Matthew Temple hit the wall in fifth place.
In the final semi-final of the match, Australia’s McKeon broke the Olympic record to qualify for fastest in the women’s 50-meter freestyle final. She will be joined by her compatriot Cate Campbell, who qualified sixth fastest. The pair finished first and third, respectively, in the women’s 100-meter freestyle final on Friday; after their comfortable qualifying, they will be among the favorites for the one-lap sprint.
The Tokyo 2020 swim meet concludes Sunday morning with an excellent morning of medal action. Men and women will compete each of the 50m freestyle splash and dash, prior to the men’s 1500m freestyle endurance. The match will conclude with the men’s and women’s 4×100 combined relays.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism