September 16, 2021

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Expresso platform: big games | Dressel hit the water three times in an hour to claim a gold, a final and a world record, the day Ledecky joined a selection

He has complicated working days. Ask Caleb Dressel. Being a specific swimmer with these things one is so good at so many races that the problem is finding space on the calendar to do them all, and Saturday’s party program was particularly tight.

At 10:30 a.m., they called the guy for the first time at the Tokyo Aquatics Center. It’s my favorite in 100 Butterflies. There is a risk Christoph Milak, but the Hungarian is a star especially in the 200 butterfly category, taking the gold in these games. Dressel jumps into the water and after 49.45 seconds the clock stops. It’s not just US gold, his second single in these games, that no one has ever done so so fast – it’s been his world record since the 2019 World Cup and it’s now improved, coming in at less than 5 per cent of a second. previous brand.

On her face, that bright, mother-of-pearl smile, but not exactly the jubilation one saw in, say, Tatiana Schoenmaker, the South African who broke the first individual record at the Olympics, 24 hours earlier. For an American, it’s another day in the office and the first task is completed.

He hits the spot again at 11:05 a.m., taking the gold, with this mask that makes American athletes on the podiums look like something related to the villain Bane from the Batman saga. The re-consecration was short, two or three pictures, plus a few waves toward the retinue from the United States, vociferous, always, replacing the audience and wing that is Dressel. Because at 11:16 a.m. he should be swimming in the second semi-final of the 50 freestyle.

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It is more than formal. In the fastest test of the Olympic swimming programme, he did the 50m in just over 21 seconds. Wind up in the pocket and throw yourself into the heel pool in the water to retrieve it. There he slows down, flips the four modes, relaxes his muscles and breathes, completely oblivious to what’s going on around the corner, because half an hour later he’ll be in the final stage of the US 4×100 mixed relay race.

Ledecky in great company

While Caleb Dressel was making swimming pools, literally and figuratively, his eyes were on the women’s 800m final. Under normal circumstances, Katie Ledecky would be the favorite and absolute queen, and no one else could do that. But the American girl had a few lanes on her side, Ariarne Titmus, the Australian girl she beat in the 200 and 400 freestyle races. So there are no early winners.

The fact is that at longer distances, Ledecky is still one step ahead. He had the best reaction time at the start and always led the race, even though Titmus was always on coke. Only in the last 50 metres did the Australian react faster than Ledecky, but the advantage of the 24-year-old was such that there was no room for a third straight 800 freestyle title to escape from, as she had not evaded for nine years in London, When she was 15 years old, she did not run away in Rio, when she was already a devoted person.

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Ledecky went for the third time in the 800 freestyle

Francois Xavier Maret/Getty

With this Ledecky entered one of the most distinguished swimming clubs, the club that includes swimmers who have won the same competition in three Olympic Games. There’s Michael Phelps, who won the 200 Style four times, from Athens 2004 to Rio 2016, Australian Don Fraser, the 100 freestyle winner in 1956, 1960 and 1964 and Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi, gold in the 200 backs in 1988, 1992 and 1996.

And now Katie Ledecky.

Australia presents the exhibition

Halfway through, the 200 backstroke final gave shape to Australia’s step forward in swimming – especially in the women’s sector – after the Games in Rio in which it won just three gold medals. Just 20-year-old Kylie McKeown joined the 200 title with a 100 defense, Canada’s Kylie Massey took second, and bronze went to another Australian, Emily Sebom. Americans? in the fourth and fifth places.

After the catwalk, where “Advance Australia Fair” was heard again, the beautiful country anthem, was another anthem, “Locomotion,” the 1980s played by another Australian, Kylie Minogue. Australia already has seven Olympic titles in the pools of the Tokyo Aquatics Center, less than the sport’s most undisputed powerhouse, the United States.

Cut to the end of the session and the long-awaited final of 4×100 mixed styles, for the first time on the Olympic program. Whereas, another medal for Caeleb Dressel was expected. False: When the runner entered the pool in the final stage, the United States was seventh. Dressel still avoided potential scandal, but not enough to win the medal: the Americans took only fifth place, the gold medal went to Great Britain (with a world record), the silver went to China and the bronze to Australia.

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It would have been a perfect day for Dressel, but it was just too good to be true. Not necessarily your fault.