Five memorable moments from Olympics swimming

general01 August 2021 07:40| © AFP
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Caeleb Dressel © Gallo Images

The Tokyo Olympics swimming ended on Sunday with USA on top of the medals table. has compiled five memorable moments.

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The Katie Ledecky-Ariarne Titmus rivalry lived up to its billing, with the pair locking horns across three high-quality races.

Australia's Titmus drew first blood, toppling the decorated American in the 400m freestyle, but she needed the second fastest time ever to do so.

She then out-sprinted Ledecky for the 200m title in another lightning-quick effort, before the American earned some revenge.

Ledecky remains the distance queen and not even Titmus could touch her over 800m, admitting her rival was "in a class of her own".

Despite already being a three-time Olympian, Ledecky plans to compete at Paris in 2024 and even Los Angeles four years later, with plenty more twists and turns to come in her developing duel with Titmus.


Powerhouse Caeleb Dressel only added to his celebrity in Tokyo, winning five gold medals to cement himself as the top name in the sport.

It wasn't the seven many had touted, which would have put him in the league of Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz, but his exploits were impressive nonetheless.

The American, who won two relay golds in Rio, smashed his own world record in the 100m butterfly and was equally dominant in scooping the 50-100 freestyle double.

Add in two relay medals and his star is shining brighter than ever.


Tatjana Schoenmaker announced herself on the Olympic stage in style when she smashed the women's 200m breaststroke world record to claim South Africa's first gold in the pool since 1996.

The 24-year-old had already won silver in the 100m and threatened Denmark's Rikke Moller Pedersen's 200m world benchmark in the heats, joking she wished her fingernails were just a bit longer.

But Schoenmaker needed no help from a manicurist to clock 2min 18.95sec in the final and clip 0.16s off Moller Pedersen's record.


Emma McKeon came into the Tokyo Olympics well known in her native Australia but not so much elsewhere, but she changed that forever.

The 27-year-old splashed her way to an incredible seven medals, four gold and three bronze, a feat no other female swimmer has ever managed at a single Olympics.

She called the achievement "surreal" and credited experience for helping her go where no one else has been before.

"I've been at these meets before where the emotions are so up and down. I knew what to expect," she said.


The debut of the 4x100m mixed medley relay added some much-needed atmosphere to a spectator-free Tokyo Aquatic Centre as men raced against women for the first time at the Olympics.

The four-strong British team of Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin touched in 3min 37.58sec to break the world record of 3:38.41 set by China last year.

As an added bonus, Hopkin was far enough ahead in the freestyle leg to fend off a late charge from US speedster Dressel, a fact she revelled in: "It's cool to say I've killed Dressel!"