Olympics: Mykhailo Romanchuk, Bobby Finke Set the Pace in 1,500 Free

Celebrating Gold Medal ROMANCHUK Mykhaylo UKR 800m Freestyle Men Final Swimming Budapest - Hungary 22/5/2021 Duna Arena XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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Olympics: Mykhailo Romanchuk, Bobby Finke Set the Pace in 1,500 Free

Bobby Finke’s interloping on the men’s 800 freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics was surprising, for how he got it done on the final 50 and for the hierarchy that the 21-year-old disrupted.

With his gold in the 800 free, Finke is very much part of that elite echelon now. And he proved it again in the 1,500 free prelims Friday.

Finke is the second seed in Sunday morning’s final after turning in a time of 14:47.20. He’s second to Mykhailo Romanchuk, who was also the top seed out of prelims in the men’s 800 free for an Olympic record. Romanchuk has back-to-back silvers at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships in the 1,500 and took bronze in the 800.

Also in the final comfortably are the last two world champions, Florian Wellbrock of Germany, the third seed, and Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy. Both broke 14:50. Paltrinieri is the reigning Olympic champion in the event and won silver in the 800.

“I am pretty happy,” Paltrinieri said. ‘Three days ago when I swam for the first time in the Olympics in the 800m prelims I wasn’t feeling so good. Today I swam much better and it’s good, I’m happy. I am happy to have a chance the day after tomorrow in the final. That’s the only thing that counts right now – to be in the final.”

Wellbrock is one of two finalists to have huge jumps from the Rio Games. Wellbrock was 32nd in Rio in 15:23, a cut of 35 seconds. The 42nd-place finisher at those games, Felix Aubock of Austria, is the seventh seed in the final. He was 44 seconds faster from five years ago.

Also in the final are Great Britain’s Daniel Jervis, Serhii Frolov of Ukraine and Russian 19-year-old Kirill Martynychev, who prevailed from the non-circle-seeded heat.

“It was really good. I’m in the best shape of my life physically and over the last 18 months I’ve really worked on my mental state.”

“Normally I come to these big competitions and I crumble under the pressure,” Jervis said. “This is the Olympic Games, this is the biggest one. That race there showed I’ve really excelled in what I have worked on.”

The second American in the race, Michael Brinegar finished fifth in the first circle-seeded heat in 15:04.67, which failed to make it back. He lands 17th in his only event in Tokyo.

Men’s 1,500 freestyle

  • World record: Sun Yang, China, 14:31.02 (2012)
  • Olympic record: Sun Yang, China, 14:31.02 (2012)
  1. Mykhailo Romanchuk, Ukraine, 14:45.99
  2. Robert Finke, United States, 14:47.20
  3. Florian Wellbrock, Germany, 14:48.53
  4. Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy, 14:49.17
  5. Daniel Jervis, Great Britain, 14:50.22
  6. Serhii Frolov, Ukraine, 14:51.83
  7. Felix Aubock, Austria, 14:51.88
  8. Kirill Martynychev, Russia, 14:52.66