Olympics: Emma McKeon Takes Down 50 Free Olympic Record Again; Chinese Swimmers Tie for Eighth

Jul 29, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Emma McKeon (AUS) after the women's 100m freestyle semifinals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Emma McKeon -- Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports

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Olympics: Emma McKeon Takes Down 50 Free Olympic Record Again; Chinese Swimmers Tie for Eighth

An amazing week of racing at the Tokyo Olympics continued for Australia’s Emma McKeon as she finished first in the women’s 50 freestyle semifinals clipped the Olympic record of 24.02 she set in prelims. McKeon won a bronze medal in the 100 butterfly earlt in the week before she destroyed the field on the way to gold in the 100 freestyle. Now, she holds down lane four in the women’s splash-and-dash after recording a 24.00 in semis. McKeon holds the top time in the world at 23.93, just 0.01 ahead of Australian teammate Cate Campbell.

Denmark’s Pernille Blume won the first semifinal heat in 24.08. Blume was the gold medalist in the event five years ago at the Rio Olympics, and she was just 0.01 off her time from that meet. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who holds the world record at 23.67, qualified third in 24.13. Sjostrom fractured her elbow in February and has not won a medal yet in Tokyo, but she has a strong chance in this 50 free.

In McKeon’s semifinal heat, the United States’ Abbey Weitzeil got off to an amazing start and went ahead of the field. She held on for second and recorded a lifetime-best time of 24.19 to qualify fourth for the final. Weitzeil previously finished eighth in the 100 free and took bronze as part of the U.S. women’s 400 free relay on day one.

Poland’s Kasia Wazick took fifth in 24.26, while Campbell was sixth in 24.27. Campbell’s bronze medal in Friday’s 100 free was her first such individual honor since her first Olympics in 2008, when she was 15. Now, Campbell will swim out of lane seven in her second individual final of the meet, but she owns the world’s second-fastest time in the event at 23.94, just 0.01 behind McKeon.

The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo clinched a spot in the final with her 24.29 good enough for seventh place. Kromowidjojo was the gold medalist in this event at the 2012 Olympics, and she was the European champion this year in 23.97, ranked third in the world right now. Meanwhile, the Chinese pair of Wu Qingfeng and Zhang Yufei tied for eighth at 24.32, setting up a swim-off to determine the final spot in the championship heat.

2016 Olympic silver medalist and reigning world champion Simone Manuel finished tied for 11th in 24.63 in her only individual race of these Games. She swam on the 400 free relay earlier in the week but simply did not have any more to give in Tokyo after being diagnosed with Overtraining Syndrome in April and missing several weeks of training.

Finalists

1. Emma McKeon (Australia), 24.00
2. Pernille Blume (Denmark), 24.08
3. Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden), 24.13
4. Abbey Weitzeil (USA), 24.19
5. Kasia Wazick (Poland), 24.26
6. Cate Campbell (Australia), 24.27
7. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Netherlands), 24.29
8. Wu Qingfeng (China), 24.32
8. Zhang Yufei (China), 24.32

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