Tokyo 2020: Daily Pac-12 guide to the Olympic Games (August 1)
Heading into the final day of swimming competition, the U.S. had racked up 26 medals, leading Australia’s 18. But while the calendar did change, the momentum of the U.S. stayed the same.
In the women’s 4x100-meter medley relay, Torri Huske (STANFORD), Regan Smith (STANFORD) and Abbey Weitzeil (CALIFORNIA) earned silver for the U.S. Their time of 3:51.73 would have broken their own Olympic record from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but the Australians earned that honor and the gold with their time of 3:51.60.
In the finale of the day, the U.S. men’s team put on a stunning performance in the 4x100 medley relay, breaking their record from the 2009 World Aquatic Championships in Rome by half a second. Ryan Murphy (CALIFORNIA), along with Michael Andrew, Ryan Apple and Caeleb Dressel, posted an impressive 3:26.78. As Apple said afterward, the four of them were confident they had what it took, it was simply a matter of doing it.
“Last night, we all went through and said we had the times that could break the world record. In that moment, I was extremely self-confident,” Apple said.
“It was hard to do because the middle of my meet didn’t go as well as I hoped, to say the least. But sitting down last night and walking out today, I was very confident in myself and eyeing the gold.”
Smith and Weitzeil praised the team’s performances in the pool afterward.
“It really motivates us a lot, it means a lot to all of us,” Smith said. “It’s super cool to see the talent this team has.”
Weitzeil called it “awesome” and said, “I am so proud to be a part of this team. We had a very young team this year. Coming into it, everyone was like, 'How will this meet go?' just because of the lack of experience. Everyone stepped up and did amazing.”
The day was highlighted by the men’s 50 freestyle final. Caeleb Dressel broke the Olympic record and won gold for the U.S. in 21.07, beating the record set by Brazil’s Cesar Cielo of 21.30 seconds at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Team USA’s Robert Finke then won the gold in the men’s 1500m freestyle, topping the podium with a time of 14:39.65.
The U.S. rounded out the swimming competition with 30 medals, including 11 gold medals. Australia ended in second with 20 medals and nine gold medals, and Great Britain finished with eight total medal including, four gold.
» In gymnastics, MyKayla Skinner (UTAH) brought home the silver in the women’s vault. Following Simone Biles’ withdrawal, Skinner responded and posted a 14.916 to earn her spot on the podium. Sunisa Lee, also replacing Biles, earned bronze in the women’s uneven bars.
» The U.S. men’s fencing team earned bronze, defeating Japan 45-31. Alexander Massialas (STANFORD) starred along with Race Imboden and Gerek Meinhardt, rebounding well after their loss in the semifinals earlier to the Russian Olympic Committee.
» In beach volleyball, the U.S. women’s team of Kelly Claes (USC) and Sarah Sponcil (UCLA) lost to Canada 2-1 in their Round of 16 matchup. One of the U.S. men’s teams was also defeated in its Round of 16 matchup, losing to Qatar 2-1.
» In track & field, Andre De Grasse (USC) took home bronze for Canada in the men’s 100 meters.
» In diving, Krysta Palmer earned bronze in the women’s 3-meter springboard, posting a score of 343.75. She became the first American woman to medal for an individual diving event since the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, when Laura Wilkensen won the gold for the U.S. Maria Polyakova (UCLA) finished 10th.
» In golf, Rory Sabbatini (ARIZONA), representing Slovakia, took silver in men’s golf, trailing only Xander Schauffele in men’s individual stroke play. WASHINGTON's C.T. Pan of Chinese Taipei won a playoff for bronze.
Looking Ahead: In women’s beach volleyball, Alix Klineman (STANFORD) and April Ross (USC) face Cuba at 5 p.m. PT today in their Round of 16 matchup. The men’s pair of Tri Bourne (USC) and Jake Gibb (UTAH) will face Germany at 6 a.m. PT Monday.
Quote of the Day: "It's so weird because I'm not used to seeing (Simone Biles) in the stands, so it's seriously cool to see her love and support. I knew she was going to be the loudest one because she (was) like, 'I want you to medal.' She's been so awesome. … After everything she's gone through, it's really cool to see how strong she's been. I'm like, 'How are you so strong after all of this?' I'd be in my room bawling every single night. She's definitely one strong cookie, and she's definitely inspired me in so many ways." - MyKayla Skinner (UTAH)
Kenneth Manoj is a journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a collaboration between the Pac-12 Conference and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.