After postponing the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, swimmers and fans alike have had to put their excitement on hold for the summer’s big event.
The pandemic added an extra layer of anticipation for all members of the swim community, but the waiting is coming to a close as all eyes revert back to a summer of fast racing in Tokyo.
Now, with the Olympic Games officially six months away, here are some things to look forward to ahead of those 11 days of racing on the world’s biggest stage.
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has expanded its swimming schedule from previous Olympic competitions, adding in three new events: the men’s 800-meter freestyle, women’s 1500m freestyle and the 4x100m mixed medley relay. The swimming schedule in Tokyo now features 35 pool events taking place from July 24 to August 1, while the open water 10K events take place August 4 and 5.
With new events, an additional year since the previous Olympic Games, the retirement of names like Michael Phelps, Maya DiRado and more, Team USA is set to welcome a new roster of emerging stars and likely first-time Olympians. The stage will once again be set for the nation’s elite swimmers to throw down at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming to see who will be wearing the American-flag cap in Tokyo.
30+ medals for Team USA swimmers?
In each of the past three Olympic Games events, Team USA swimmers have combined for at least 30 medals. Only once in American swimming history have Team USA swimmers breached the 30-medal mark in four consecutive Olympic appearances, happening between the 1968 Olympics (52 medals), 1972 Olympics (43 medals), 1976 Olympics (34 medals) and 1984 Olympics (34 medals).
To date, Team USA swimmers have combined for 553 total Olympic medals, which would sit at 10th place in total medals, across all sports and countries, if USA Swimming was its own country. The team is also three gold medals away from hitting the 250-gold-medal mark in swimming, which is a number that only six countries have reached in gold medals across all sports.
American open-water stars take center stage
After being the first swimmers to punch their tickets to Tokyo via their top-10 finishes in the 10K at the 2019 FINA Open Water World Championships, the trio of Haley Anderson, Ashley Twichell and Jordan Wilimovsky will now get the opportunity to shine on the Olympic stage. Including these three Olympic qualifiers, only seven Americans have ever represented the United States in an Olympic Open Water event, which made its debut in 2008. Currently, Anderson’s silver medal from 2012 is the only medal by an American in the event’s Olympic history.
The biggest names always shine on the biggest stage, and that is likely to be the case again in Tokyo. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, there were seven American and eight world records broken. While COVID threw a wrench into athletes’ 2020 training, there are sure to be new personal bests and possibly some new additions atop the American and world-record lists.
For all information regarding the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, visit tokyo2020.org/en/
. To read more on the upcoming U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming, visit www.usaswimming.org/trials