Olympics: Yui Ohashi Solid, Emma Weyant Top Seed in 400 IM

Jul 24, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Yui Ohashi (JPN) reacts after the women's 400m individual medley heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Network
Yui Ohashi; Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Network

Olympics: Yui Ohashi Solid, Emma Weyant Top Seed in 400 IM

The day, and thus the Olympics, began with Japan hoping for success from its individual medley contingent. It ended with at least one result to take consolation in.

Yui Ohashi authored a composed 400 IM in the women’s race, earning the third seed in Sunday’s final with a time of 4:35.71. She was way out in front of the second heat of three and shut it down on the final 50 meters to coast into the wall. Though denied the top seed in Sunday’s final, she is at least back for more, which is more than can be said of Daiya Seto, the top seed in the men’s 400 IM who endured a crushing final 100 meters to end up ninth.

The top seed goes to an American in Becca Weyant, who turned in a personal best of 4:33.55 to take the top spot. She surged ahead in the first 50 of the backstroke leg in the third and final heat and distanced herself from the field.

“This is my first international meet,” Weyant said. “I was really trying to set myself up well for tomorrow morning and I see my race and just have fun racing the best. I am really happy with my time: I think it’s right off what I went at trials so I’m happy with it.”

Second in that heat and in the race is Great Britain’s Aimee Wilmott. Also in the final is American Hali Flickinger, the fifth seed in 4:35.98.

Two veterans will have their say in the final. Fourth was Mireia Belmonte of Spain, in 4:35.88. Seventh in the final is Katinka Hosszu. The five-time World champion won three golds at the 2016 Olympics, including in this event. The 32-year-old could become the second-oldest woman to win a gold medal in the Olympics (behind Dara Torres’ relay wins in 2000) and the oldest individual medal winner. Though seventh, her time of 4:36.01 is closer to Wilmott in second than to eighth-place Ilaria Cusinato (4:37.37). Hosszu isn’t even the top-seeded Hungarian, thanks to Viktoria Mihalyvari-Farkas in sixth.

The 400 IM was one of the smaller races of the meet, with only 18 swimmers entered from which to distill an eight-swimmer final. It got smaller with the withdrawal of Canadian Sydney Pickrem from the race due to a non-COVID-19-related illness.

Women’s 400 IM

  • World Record: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 4:26.36 (2016)
  • Olympic Record: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 4:26.36 (2016)
  1. Emma Weyant, United States, 4:33.55
  2. Aimee Wilmott, Great Britain, 4:35.28
  3. Yui Ohashi, Japan, 4:35.71
  4. Mireia Belmonte, Spain, 4:35.88
  5. Hali Flickinger, United States, 4:35.98
  6. Viktoria Mihalyvari-Farkas, Hungary, 4:35.99
  7. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 4:36.01
  8. Ilaria Cusinato, Italy, 4:37.37