Canada will lead the field into the women’s 4×100-metre medley relay final after pulling out the best swim in the heats on Friday in Tokyo, surging ahead of the Americans on the back of a strong third leg by gold medallist Maggie Mac Neil.
Canada — represented by Mac Neil, Taylor Ruck, Kayla Sanchez and Sydney Pickrem — posted the best time of three minutes 55.17 seconds, topping the U.S. team, which finished just 1-100th of a second behind, and Sweden in the second of the two heats.
The women are poised to swim for a medal in the final on Sunday.
Sanchez did not qualify for the women’s 50m freestyle semis, having finished 22nd overall in the heats with a time of 24.93. The top 16 swimmers qualified for the semis, and Australia’s Emma McKeon bested the field with an Olympic record of 24.02 and seems well on her way to winning a fifth medal at these Tokyo Games.
McKeon dropped the 200-metre freestyle from her schedule to concentrate on the 100 and 50 free, and so far that’s paid off, as earlier on Friday she won gold in the 100-metre free. Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström, the current world-record-holder in this event, won her heat to qualify for the semifinals in a time of 24.26, good for fourth-fastest of the field.
The women’s semis are scheduled for Saturday.
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Canadian men also through to final
Also in the pool, Canada’s Brent Hayden qualified for the men’s 50m freestyle semis in a time of 21.85, good enough to finish eighth overall in the heats. He was 5-10ths of a second behind favourite Caeleb Dressel of the United States, who led the heats to advance with a time of 21.32. That semi also runs on Saturday.
Canada’s men also made it through to their final in the 4×100-metre medley relay, qualifying in the eighth and final spot in a time of 3:32.37. Italy led the field with a time of 3:30.02, followed by Great Britain in 3:31.47 and the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in 3:31.66.
In the men’s 1,500m heats, the fourth and final heat featured the gold, silver and bronze medallists in the men’s 800 from the day before and they’re among the leading swimmers heading into Sunday’s final.
Mykhailo Romanchuk of Ukraine, who won bronze in the 800, topped the field with a time of 14:45:99, just ahead of Robert Finke of the United States, who won gold in the 800, at 14:47:20.
Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, who won silver in the 800, qualified for the final in fourth with a time of 14:49:17.
Florian Wellbrock of Germany was third with a time of 14:48.53.
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