Chase Kalisz obtained issues rolling, claiming the primary U.S. gold on the Olympic pool.
By the point the morning was finished, the powerhouse workforce had a complete bunch of medals.
Six of them in all, fairly a begin Sunday for the Individuals within the post-Michael Phelps period.
“I’m happy to be here and kick the U.S. off,” mentioned Kalisz, who received the 400-meter particular person medley.
There was room for others to shine, as effectively.
Host Japan received a swimming gold, Tunisia claimed a stunning spot atop the medal podium, and the mighty Australian ladies set the primary world report of the competitors within the 4×100 freestyle relay.
The Individuals actually had no complaints about their opening-day efficiency. In Phelps record-setting profession, which encompassed 5 Summer season Video games, they by no means received six medals within the first session of finals.
“A pretty good start for the U.S.,” mentioned Kieran Smith, who in his first main worldwide meet snagged a bronze within the males’s 400 freestyle. “We executed today. I’m really proud of us.”
The Aussies, who hope to problem America’s dominance within the pool, picked up three medals Sunday.
The free relay was by no means unsure, not with a dynamic quartet that included sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell swimming the leadoff and anchor legs, respectively, joined by Meg Harris and Emma McKeon.
McKeon blew away the sphere on the third leg and Cate Campbell touched in 3 minutes, 29.69 seconds. On the medal ceremony, the sisters touchingly draped their medals round one another’s neck.
The silver went to Canada in 3:32.78, whereas the Individuals capped their morning with another medal to surpass their greatest first-day haul from the Phelps period (5 in each 2004 and 2008).
With Simone Manuel anchoring the relay, they touched simply behind their rivals to the north in 3:32.81.
Kalisz was the primary U.S. medal winner of the Tokyo Video games, and Jay Litherland — who was born in Osaka — made it a 1-2 end for the Individuals by rallying on the freestyle leg to assert the silver. Brendon Smith of Australia earned the bronze.
Within the 400 free, 18-year-old Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui was the gorgeous winner from lane eight, his victory punctuated with loud screams that could possibly be heard all through the largely empty area.
“I was surprised with myself,” mentioned Hafnaoui, who joined Ous Mellouli as a gold medalist from the north African nation. “I couldn’t believe it until I touched the wall and saw the 1 (on the scoreboard).”
Hafnaoui completed in 3:43.26, adopted by Australia’s Jack McLoughlin and Kieran Smith. The highest three had been separated by lower than a second after eight laps of the pool.
The U.S. ladies did their half, too.
Japan’s Yui Ohashi received gold within the ladies’s 400 IM with an electrical breaststroke leg, however two Individuals had been proper in her wake. Emma Weyant earned the silver, whereas the bronze went to Hali Flickinger.
“After we saw (Kalisz and Litherland go 1-2), we kind of looked at each other and said, ‘It’s our turn,’” Weyant mentioned. “I think that really got our team going.””
Kalisz, a protégé and former coaching associate of Phelps, touched first in 4:09.42. Litherland was subsequent in 4:10.28, simply one-Tenth of a second forward of Brendon Smith.
Kalisz flexed his muscle tissue after which climbed atop the lane rope, splashing the water whereas a contingent of his teammates cheered him from the stands on the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
“U-S-A! U-S-A!” they chanted.
Kalisz was the silver medalist within the grueling occasion on the Rio Video games 5 years in the past. Now, at age 27, he’s the very best on the planet at utilizing all 4 strokes.
“That one was the most special type of pain,” Kalisz mentioned. “I had vowed that I was going to make that hurt as much as possible and give my absolute best to accomplish this.”
Litherland came visiting to present the winner a hug, having ensured the Individuals obtained off to the very best begin on the pool.
“To come back and do this with Chase means a lot,” mentioned Litherland, who completed fifth within the 400 IM at Rio.
After placing on their medals throughout a masked-up victory ceremony, Kalisz and Litherland walked across the deck arm-in-arm.
No social distancing for them.
The Individuals seized their likelihood after Japanese star Daiya Seto stunningly didn’t advance to the ultimate, having completed ninth within the preliminaries after making a tactical error making an attempt to avoid wasting his vitality for the medal race.
The finals had been held within the morning Tokyo time somewhat than their standard night slot, a nod to U.S. tv community NBC, which wished to point out the finals stay in prime time again in America.
That was the identical format used on the 2008 Beijing Video games, the place Phelps received a report eight gold medals. He retired after Rio, having captured 23 gold medals general, however the Individuals nonetheless have loads of star energy for the post-Phelps period.
Ohashi helped to make up for Seto’s flop within the males’s IM. She pulled away within the breast to win in 4:32.08.
Weyant gave chase within the freestyle leg however settled for silver in 4:32.76. Flickinger was third in 4:34.90, whereas Hungarian nice Katinka Hosszu, the defending champion, pale to fifth.
The one individuals within the stands of the 15,000-seat area had been media, VIPs, officers and swimmers who weren’t competing Sunday. It was an eerily quiet ambiance at occasions, although many ignored requests by Japanese organizers to chorus for any form of cheering to assist forestall the unfold of COVID-19.
There was a drum within the stands, in addition to a couple of horns to spice issues up.
In a putting contact earlier than the primary race, the loudspeakers blared the tune “Pompeii” by the British band Bastille, which incorporates the lyrics, “But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?”
Within the pool, it was enterprise at standard. However it actually felt like lots had modified in an Olympics that had been delayed a 12 months by a worldwide pandemic and are lastly being staged beneath tight restrictions that included a ban on all followers.
The Individuals had no complaints.
Even with Phelps wanting down from a broadcast seat, they’re off to a dynamic begin on the Olympic pool.