Olympics: Zac Stubblety-Cook Comfortably Posts Top 200 Breast Time; WR-Holder Anton Chupkov Seventh

Jul 28, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Izaac Stubblety-Cook (AUS) after the men's 200m breaststroke semifinals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports

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Olympics: Zac Stubblety-Cook Comfortably Posts Top 200 Breast Time; WR-Holder Anton Chupkov Seventh

Australia’s remarkable bounceback Olympics continued Wednesday morning in Tokyo as Ariarne Titmus won her second gold medal of the week and the nation’s fourth, and Zac Stubblety-Cook could be in position to add another gold to bring back Down Under in the men’s 200 breaststroke. After tying Arno Kamminga for the top seed out of prelims, Stubblety-Cook trailed Great Britain’s James Wilby through most of the race before overhauling the field on the last 50. Stubblety-Cook put up a 2:07.35, more than a second off his season-best mark of 2:06.28 from last month’s Australian Olympic Trials — a mark which also stands as the second-fastest time ever.

Wilby, swimming in lane eight after qualifying just 15th in prelims, put up the second-quickest time at 2:07.91, while the Netherlands’ Kamminga held off the USA’s Nic Fink to win the second semifinal, 2:07.99 to 2:08.00, and they will be ranked third and fourth in the final.

Finland’s Matti Mattsson claimed the fifth seed in 2:08.22, just ahead of Japan’s Ryuya Mura in 2:08.27. Meanwhile, the Russian Olympic Committee’s Anton Chupkov is the world-record holder and two-time world champion in the event, and he has swum under 2:07 this year, but he did not have a great semifinal performance. Chupkov is known for going out very slow and storming home — he was eighth in the 2019 World Championships final at the halfway point before setting the current world record of 2:06.12 — but he could not accelerate on the back half as he sometimes does. Chupkov qualified seventh in 2:08.54, so he will have to shift gears massively to get onto the medal podium.

Sweden’s Erik Persson claimed the eighth spot in the final in 2:08.76, denying Russia’s Kirill Prigoda (2:08.88) a spot in the final by 0.04. Meanwhile, Japan’s Shoma Sato was ninth in 2:09.04, a big surprise after Sato almost broke the world record in April. He remains the third-fastest performer in history behind Chupkov and Stubblety-Cook, but he will not race for the medals Thursday morning. Also out was 2016 Olympic gold medalist Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan, who was 11th in 2:09.22. Balandin never came close to repeating that stunning golden effort from the Rio Games.

Finally, Stubblety-Cook’s Australian teammate Matt Wilson placed 14th in 2:10.10. Wilson was the silver medalist behind Chupkov at the 2019 World Championships, but he has dealt with a rough stretch since then and was only named to the Australian Olympic team at the last minute. He missed the qualifying time in the 200 breast at the country’s Trials but was granted a reprieve because he had been mourning his grandmother’s death. But his Tokyo experience came to an end in the semifinal.


  1. Zac Stubblety-Cook (Australia), 2:07.35
  2. James Wilby (Great Britain), 2:07.91
  3. Arno Kamminga (Netherlands), 2:07.99
  4. Nic Fink (USA), 2:08.00
  5. Matti Mattsson (Finland), 2:08.22
  6. Ryuya Mura (Japan), 2:08.27
  7. Anton Chupkov (ROC), 2:08.54
  8. Erik Persson (Sweden), 2:08.76