Olympics: Day Seven Finals Heat Sheets Released; Dressel, McKeown, Ledecky Each Aiming for Second Individual Gold

Jul 30, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Caeleb Dressel (USA) in the men's 50m freestyle heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Caeleb Dressel -- Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports

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Olympics: Day Seven Finals Heat Sheets Released; Dressel, McKeown, Ledecky Each Aiming for Second Individual Gold

The heat sheets have been posted for seventh of eight mornings of finals action at the 2021 Olympics. Beginning at 10:30 a.m. Tokyo time Saturday morning (9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT Friday in the USA), the session will feature three straight finals to begin, the men’s 100 butterfly, women’s 200 backstroke and women’s 800 freestyle. Those races will be followed by semifinals in the men’s 50 freestyle and women’s 50 freestyle before the session concludes with the final of the mixed 400 medley relay, being contested in the Olympics for the first time.

The men’s 100 fly final will see Caeleb Dressel back in the pool aiming for his second individual gold medal and third overall gold of the week after previously claiming the crown in the 400 free relay and in the 100 free. But after winning by just 0.06 in the 100 free, Dressel enters this final as the top man by more than a half-second after posting an Olympic record in the semifinals. His closest competition is Hungary’s Kristof Milak, the gold medalist in the 200 fly.

In the women’s 200 back, five swimmers are seeded in the 2:07 range, and they will battle for the medals. That list includes favorite and 100 back gold medalist Kaylee McKeown, 100 back silver medalist Kylie Masse, 2017 world champion Emily Seebohm and Americans Phoebe Bacon and Rhyan White. Expect a much, much faster race than in the semifinals.

Then, Katie Ledecky goes for gold in the 800 free, which would make her the fourth swimmer and third woman to ever win three straight golds in one event. Ledecky is seeded about a second and a half ahead of 15-year-old American teammate Katie Grimes and 2019 World Championships runner-up Simona Quadarella, while 200 and 400 free gold medalist Ariarne Titmus will swim in lane seven. Titmus is not as strong in the 800 free, but she is certainly a threat here.

Dressel and 100 free gold medalist Emma McKeon will be the top seeds in their respective 50 free semis, and then both will be back in the pool as part of the first mixed 400 medley relay final at an Olympics. Dressel, in his third race in a busy night of racing, is expected to be a huge force for the second-seeded Americans, while an Adam Peaty-led British squad almost broke the world record in prelims.