Tatjana Schoenmaker, South Africa’s star swimmer, set the Tokyo Olympics’ first ever individual swimming record.
Other people also shined.
Evgeny Rylov won a double backstroke for Russia. Emma McKeon earned another gold for the Aussie women, while China made a return trip to top of the medal podium.
Are they the mighty Americans? They spent Friday’s entire session watching other athletes win gold for the first time at the meet.
Schoenmaker, a 24-year-old South African, won the women’s 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes, 18.95 seconds, breaking the mark of 2:19.11 set by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen at the 2013 world championships in Barcelona.
It was the third record world at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. The first two were in women’s relays.
Schoenmaker said, “I didn’t expect that at all,” and added silver to her 100 breast. It couldn’t have happened to a better team. It just doesn’t sink, maybe one day.”
Rylov completely annihilated America’s dominance of the backstroke and added the 200 title to his victory at the 100 back.
Rylov won with an Olympic record time of 1:53.29. Ryan Murphy, an American, took the silver (1:54.15).
Murphy was a double gold medalist at Rio Olympics 2016, where he continued an American winning streak that started at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The U.S. has won 12 consecutive men’s backstroke events, with six Olympics. Rylov’s win in the 100 ended that streak. Murphy won silver and bronze in the shorter race. Rylov was 2-for-2.
Luke Greenbank of Britain won the 200-bronze in 1:54.72.
McKeon was the first woman to touch the 100 freestyle in an Olympic-record 51.96 seconds. She also became the second woman to cross 52 seconds in this sprint.
Siobhan Haughey from Hong Kong won the silver medal in 52.27. Cate Campbell of Australia took the bronze medal in 52.52. American Abbey Weitzeil was the last of the eight-woman field.
The Australian women have won four events at Tokyo Aquatics Centre for women, and also set a world record in a 4×100 free relay with McKeon as well as Campbell.
The Down Under team has six golds, which is tied with the Americans. However, the U.S. leads in overall medal count.
The Americans won three medals Friday, also claiming the other two spots on the podium behind Schoenmaker.
It was also the first time that the U.S. team had gone through all of the finals in Tokyo without winning even one gold.
Lilly King was a fast runner in the 200 breast. She held on to win silver in 2:09.92 and a bronze in the 100 event. Annie Lazor won the bronze in 2 minutes 20.84.
King stated, “I don’t come from behind,” King added. “I thought that I did great.”
China won its second gold medal at the pool the day before when it was awarded the victory of Wang Shun in the 200-meter individual medley.
With a time of 1;55.00, Wang beat Duncan Scott from Britain. Scott won the silver medal in 1:55.28. Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland took the bronze in 1:56.17.
Daiya seto, a hometown star, was disappointed that he didn’t qualify for the final of his two first events. He was able to finish the 200 IM but fell short of a medal, finishing fourth — just five-hundredths behind the Swiss bronze medalist.
American Michael Andrew led the way after the third leg and climbed to the top of the breaststroke. He finished fifth on the freestyle, 2 seconds slower than the winner.
Andrew stated that he felt it hurt more than it looked and it was quite bad. “I knew that I needed to be quick at the 150, and I was praying for Holy Spirit power to get home in that final 50. But it wasn’t all there.”
The U.S. still has a chance to win gold in the final two days of the swimming competition.
Caeleb Dressel still has two finals, and Katie Ledecky remains a strong favorite in the 800 free.
Dressel set another Olympic record in the semifinals of the 100 butterfly.
Minutes after Hungary’s Kristof Miak had taken down the mark in the first semifinal, Dressel was even faster with a time 49.71 in heat 2.
Dressel stated, “I feel fine.” Dressel said, “I don’t worry about the schedule. It’s been written down for several weeks. I know what is coming. It’s a good idea to keep it moving at the right pace. I am able to care for my body.”
Milak was the second fastest qualifier at 50.31, making it the third-fastest in history.
Dressel won gold at Rio 2016 by tying the Olympic record of 50.39, which was set by Joseph Schooling in Singapore.
Dressel is the favorite for Saturday’s final. However, Milak could push him. Already the Hungarian won the 200 fly with an impressive victory.
Dressel won the 100 freestyle, his first individual gold medal.