Olympics: Emma McKeon Pops Olympic Record in Prelims Of 100 Freestyle As Aussie Assault Continues

Jul 24, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Emma McKeon (AUS) after the women's 100m butterfly heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Network

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Olympics: Emma McKeon Pops Olympic Record in Prelims Of 100 Freestyle As Aussie Assault Continues

The strength of the Australian women’s arsenal has been on full display through the first half of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. A world record from the Dolphins’ 400 freestyle relay. A pair of gold medals from Ariarne Titmus. A title from Kaylee McKeown. And there is – almost surely – more to come.

In the preliminaries of the 100-meter freestyle, Emma McKeon ripped an Olympic record of 52.13, good for the eighth-fastest time in history, to secure the top seed for the semifinals. Already a member of Australia’s gold-medal 800 freestyle relay and the bronze medalist in the 100 butterfly, McKeon is riding a wave of momentum. She will be joined in the semifinals by countrywoman Cate Campbell, who went 52.80 for the fourth seed.

The fact that McKeon emerged from prelims as the fastest performer was hardly a shock, given that she split 51.35 in the 400 freestyle relay. She was followed in the second position by Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey, who went 52.70 while following up a silver medal in the 200 freestyle during the morning session. The third seed is Great Britain’s Anna Hopkin, who clocked a British record of 52.75.

In fifth was Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, the world-record holder who is looking sharp despite suffering a fractured elbow earlier this year that interrupted her training. Sjostrom touched in 52.91, just ahead of the 52.95 of Canada’s Penny Oleksiak, who was the joint champion in the event in 2016, sharing the gold medal with Simone Manuel. Also dipping under the 53-second barrier was Denmark’s Pernille Blume in 52.96.

“It feels OK; nothing comes for free and I really have to fight out there,” Sjostrom said. “Even if I feel a bit tired, I can still keep up the speed during the whole run, so I’m happy with that.”

A swimoff for the final spot in the semifinals was scheduled, due to the 16th-place tie at 53.71 between the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo and France’s Marie Wattel. But Kromowidjojo, the 2012 Olympic champion in the event, opted to scratch and focus on the 50 freestyle later in the week.

Canada’s Kayla Sanchez, who finished 10th, also scratched, so the two swimmers who originally tied for 18th place, the USA’s Erika Brown and China’s Wu Qingfeng, swam off for the last spot. Brown dominated that swim-off, winning 53.51 to 54.47.

Women’s 100 Freestyle

World Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 51.71 (2017)
Olympic Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 52.62 (2021)

Semifinalists

1. Emma McKeon (Australia) 52.13
2. Siobhan Haughey (Hong Kong) 52.70
3. Anna Hopkin (Great Britain) 52.75
4. Cate Campbell (Australia) 52.80
5. Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden) 52.91
6. Penny Oleksiak (Canada) 52.95
7. Pernille Blume (Denmark) 52.96
8. Yang Junxuan (China) 53.02
9. Femke Heemskerk (Netherlands) 53.10
10. Kayla Sanchez (Canada) 53.12
11. Abbey Weitzeil (United States) 53.21
12. Michelle Coleman (Sweden) 53.53
13. Signe Bro (Denmark) 53.54
14. Freya Anderson (Great Britain) 53.61
15. Charlotte Bonnet (France) 53.67
16. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Netherlands) 53.71
16. Marie Wattel (France) 53.71

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