Caeleb Dressel won her fourth gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, sprinting to victory in the 50-meter freestyle on a frenzied final day of swimming competition at the Tokyo Aquatic Center.
Dressel, diving in the lead and never giving up – or catching his breath – finished in 21.07 seconds, an Olympic record and just 16 hundredths of a second off the world record.
Florent Manaudou of France was second in 21.55 seconds and Bruno Fratus of Brazil (21.57) third.
With his teammates cheering him on from the stands, Dressel exploded quickly and never wavered. When he heard he had won, he flexed his left bicep and then ran out of the pool to prepare for another race.
Dressel entered the pool having already won three gold medals at these Games, in the 4×100 freestyle relay, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly. His time in 100 butterfly, 49.45 seconds, was a world record.
In the second race of the day, Emma McKeon of Australia emerged from a very competitive field to win gold in the women’s 50 freestyle. She finished with an Olympic record time of 23.81 seconds.
McKeon started the day knowing that a top-three spot in her two races – the 50 freestyle and the 4×100 medley relay – would make her the second woman, after Soviet gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya, to win seven medals in only one Olympic Games.
Sarah Sjoestreom of Sweden was second (24.07 seconds) and Pernille Blume of Denmark, who won gold in 2016, was third (24.21 seconds). Abbey Weitzel, the only American in the final, finished last.
The two short and explosive races then gave way to one of the longest of the Games, the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle. Bobby Finke of the United States has a chance to win a second gold in Tokyo. Finke, who is competing in his first Olympics, won the men’s 800-meter freestyle on Thursday with a time of 7 minutes 41.87 seconds. Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri, who won gold in 2016, is expected to race alongside Finke in lane 6.
The session was to end with two thrilling medley relays. The Americans won gold in the 4×100 medley relay at the 2016 Games. But they face potentially overwhelming competition here in the form of Canada and Australia.
The men’s 4×100 medley relay is the final swimming event of the Tokyo Olympics, and there is history at stake. The American men have won gold at every Olympic Games they’ve competed in. (They didn’t compete in 1980, when the United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics.) But they enter the race as underdogs, with Britain qualifying over time. fastest (3: 31.47), and Australia appear strongest off the field.