TOKYO 2020: American Caeleb Dressel, Chinese Among Big Winners In the Pool on Thursday

Caeleb Dressel got his first individual gold medal and the Chinese women put together a record-setting relay.

The biggest action of the day session on Day 6 of the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday came in the pool where America's successor to Michael Phelps won gold in the 100-meter freestyle and China's women set a world record in 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

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Dressel’s winning time was an Olympic record of 47.02 seconds — a mere six-hundredths ahead of defending champion Kyle Chalmers of Australia. That gave him a fourth career gold medal, with three previous ones coming in relays.

“It is a lot different. I guess I thought it would be, I just didn’t want to admit to it,” he said. “It’s a lot tougher. You have to rely on yourself, there’s no one to bail you out.”

The most dramatic race of the day came when China surprised the U.S. and Australia with a world-record performance in the women’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

Katie Ledecky took the anchor leg for the Americans in third place, nearly 2 seconds behind the Chinese and also trailing the Aussies.

Ledecky passed Australia’s Leah Neale and closed the gap significant on China’s Li Bingjie, but couldn’t quite catch her at the end.

Li touched in a world-record 7 minutes, 40.33 seconds. She also set an Olympic record in winning the 200-meter butterfly before the relay.

“I didn’t know I was doing it until I’d finished the 200 butterfly and our coach told me, ‘You’re in the relay,’” she said through an interpreter. “I didn’t even know how to swim the 200 free, although I have the training qualities and levels for the 200 distances.”

The Americans claimed silver in 7:40.73, while Australia took the bronze in 7:41.29. All three medalists broke the previous world record of 7:41.50 set by the Aussies at the 2019 world championships.

KNOCKED OUT

American world champion pole vaulter Sam Kendricks will miss the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.

Kendricks’ dad posted on social media that his son had no symptoms but was informed while in Tokyo that he tested positive and was out of the competition.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed the news and said Kendricks has been placed in isolation at a hotel.

Kendricks won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and took gold at the past two world championships. He holds the American record at 19 feet, 10½ inches (6.06 meters).

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More than 50 athletes and officials with the Australian track and field team were briefly isolated in their rooms at the Olympics after having come into contact with Kendricks.

The Australian Olympic Committee said three of its athletes were still being kept isolated after “a brief casual contact with a U.S. track and field athlete who had tested positive.” Those three can still train, but away from other team members.

HOMETOWN HOOPS

Japan's bid for its first Olympic men’s basketball win in 45 years fell short despite a 34-point effort from Rui Hachimura.

Luka Doncic had another impressive performance with 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 26 minutes, Zoran Dragic scored 24 points and Slovenia remained unbeaten in its Olympic debut by beating Japan 116-81 in the Tokyo Games.

QUICK WORK

American beach volleyball players Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil dispatched Kenya in just 25 minutes, the fastest women’s match since the Olympics adopted their current format.

The U.S. pair beat Brackcides Khadambi and Gaudencia Makokha 21-8, 21-6 to improve to 2-0 and almost certainly clinch a spot in the knockout round of 16.

The match was the fastest since the international volleyball federation adopted the rally scoring and best-of-three sets format in 2002.

Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena also won, beating Julian Azaad and Nicolas Capogrosso of Argentina 21-19, 18-21, 15-6 to improve to 2-1 in the round robin. That’s good for at least one more match in Tokyo.

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