Tatjana Schoenmaker Breaks a World Swimming Record, U.S. Wins Three More Medals

Tatjana Schoenmaker Breaks a World Swimming Record, U.S. Wins Three More Medals
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Tatjana Schoenmaker Breaks a World Swimming Record, U.S. Wins Three More Medals

Tatjana Schoenmaker Breaks a World Swimming Record, U.S. Wins Three More Medals

TOKYO – American dominance in the Olympic pool is an old story at this point, a snowball endlessly rolling downhill, although the slope of the slope varies slightly from year to year.

Team USA’s success continued on Friday, with American swimmers adding two silver and one bronze to their growing tally at the Tokyo Games. The medals widened the United States’ advantage over its rivals in the pool, but failed to reach the gold medals they covet most, a development that has had an American claiming his run was marred by doping.

Ryan Murphy won a silver medal in the men’s 200-meter backstroke, then sparked fireworks at his press conference when he questioned whether his race, won by a Russian, was drug-free, reckoning given a history of doping in sport in Russia.

“I don’t know if it was 100% clean,” Murphy said, “and that’s because of things that have happened in the past.”

Earlier, Lilly King and Annie Lazor won silver and bronze in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, beaten to the wall by South African Tatjana Schoenmaker, who set a world record in the event and then burst into tears. .

The Americans have now won 24 swimming medals in total heading into the final two days of competition, compared to 14 for their biggest rival, swim-mad Australia. The United States is unlikely to reach its peak of 2016, when the team won 34 medals, including 16 gold, but it is expected to come close to that total.

Friday morning’s finals brought three more.

In the 200 meters breaststroke, Schoenmaker, favorite, lived up to expectations by beating King and Lazor and by winning both a world record (2 minutes 18.95 seconds) but also the first gold medal of the Africa Games in South.

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Schoenmaker, the 100-meter silver medalist, methodically rolled over King in the final, flying out of the turn and edging out King with a relentless kick. She beat King to the wall by almost a second.

Lazor, whose father died earlier this year, won bronze by four hundredths of a second. After the race, she and King swam in to congratulate Schoenmaker, who did not initially realize that she had broken the world record. When she did, she gasped and Lazor raised her rival’s arm in triumph.

In the 200-meter backstroke, Russian Evgeny Rylov won a two-man duel with American Murphy and set an Olympic record of 1 minute 53.27 seconds. Rylov took control of the race at the second corner, extending his lead to half a second at the halfway point and finishing about a half body ahead of Murphy, who was the reigning Olympic champion in the event.

Rylov won by 0.88 seconds, but after the race Murphy looked into whether Russian athletes should be allowed to compete in the Games, given the history of state-sponsored doping. in the country. Russian athletes compete as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee in Tokyo, and anyone who was allowed to run had to go through a rigorous clearance process before being allowed to participate.

Still, Murphy asked directly if his race was doping-free. He was careful not to directly accuse Rylov, seated four feet to his left, of cheating, but more generally referred to the history of doping in Russia.

Rylov chose not to respond to Murphy’s comments, saying only that he was a fan of clean sports and that he followed all the procedures required for him to be able to swim at the Olympics. Murphy then clarified that he was not making a direct accusation but had not withdrawn from his statements.

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“I believe there is doping in swimming,” he said. “It’s like that.”

Earlier, Australia had their own chance to shine in the 100 freestyle final. With Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon swimming side-by-side in lanes 3 and 4, and a crowd of their teammates and coaches dressed in green and yellow filling an empty section of the arena, the race quickly turned into a celebration. Australian.

McKeon won easily, setting an Olympic record of 51.96 seconds and becoming only the second woman to break 52 seconds in the event. She finished more than a quarter of a second faster than Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong. Campbell won bronze, just ahead of Canada’s Penny Oleksiak.

The final final of the morning was the men’s 200-meter individual medley, which gave the Americans another shot at a medal in the form of Michael Andrew.

Andrew, 22, turned pro at 14 and was home-schooled, in part, to maximize his training opportunities, and he was on the right pace for the first three quarters of the race.

He led after the butterfly, ceded the lead to Shun Wang of China on the back, then regained it at the end of the breaststroke. But Andrew seemed to run out of gas as he came out of the final corner, and Wang proved he had too much, walking past him with one leg free from churning water. Britain’s Duncan Scott, who won silver, and Swiss Jeremy Desplanches, who won bronze, also won the match. Andrew was fifth, behind Daiya Seto of Japan.

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Andrew said he missed the crowd roar he experienced during US testing last month, a cacophony that he said had propelled him through the final push. But his meeting is not over. He has another chance to win a medal on Sunday, when he is expected to swim in both an individual final and a relay.

“I have the 50 and the relay, and I feel fast,” said Andrew.

King also predicted that more American medals were on the way. She had said ahead of the Games that the United States had a chance to win the women’s individual swimming races, and on Friday she set a positive tone on the team’s performances so far, which have included double medalists. in several events.

Australia won’t catch up with the United States in the overall standings, but the country has already made a big improvement from 2016, when it won just three gold medals and 10 overall. McKeon’s gold was Australia’s sixth in swimming in Tokyo – the same number won by American swimmers – and the weekend promises more for both countries.

McKeon said the Australian women had raised the bar for each other, helping to produce the improvement. “We have so many girls lifting each other up, running errands month after month,” she said. “It really helped us. “

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