Bring the pain: Olympic swimming begins with grueling 400 IM

Jul 22, 2021, 9:02 PM | Updated: Jul 23, 2021, 9:53 am

TOKYO (AP) — Chase Kalisz knows what’s coming: Pain, and lots of it in the 400-meter individual medley that gets swimming underway at the Tokyo Olympics.

The eight-lap race requires endurance, technique and strategy while fighting off weary legs and arms churning through all four strokes — butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle — not to mention negotiating the many turns.

“I’ve had races where I was never really nervous for the race but I was more so nervous for the pain that was about to come and how I was going to feel the next day,” Kalisz said. “That’s really what the culmination of this year for me has been, embracing that, looking forward to that.”

The nine-day competition begins Saturday night with preliminary heats in six events. Four finals will be contested on Sunday morning, the first time finals are held in the morning since the 2008 Beijing Games so they can be shown live in prime time in the U.S.

Besides the early start, they’ll walk to the starting blocks without fans in the 15,000 seats at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I love the crowd, I love the noise, I love having packed arenas,” Kalisz said, “but swimming is a pretty solo sport. We spend most of our time in isolation by ourselves. I don’t think it’s going to be a big factor.”

Five years ago in Rio, Kalisz was leading the 400 IM when Japan’s Kosuke Hagino caught up on the freestyle leg and pulled away over the final 25 meters.

The grueling event made its Olympic debut at the 1964 Tokyo Games. American swimmers have claimed gold eight times in the previous 14 editions.

Kalisz and Daiya Seto will be seeking to upgrade the medals they earned in Rio. Kalisz settled for silver and Seto took bronze. Seto is a three-time world champion in the event.

“There’s not too many left of those for me,” Kalisz said, “so I’m going to make every single one of them hurt as much as I can. I’m looking forward to it.”

Katinka Hosszu of Hungary goes for a second straight gold medal in the women’s 400 IM. The 32-year-old could become the second-oldest woman to win a swimming gold medal at the Olympics if she can defend her title.

Elijah Winnington of Australia comes into the men’s 400 freestyle with the fastest qualifying time. He’ll be challenged by Gabriele Detti of Italy, who’ll try to end the Aussies’ dominance in the event. They’ve won it six times.

The women’s 4×100 free relay shapes up as Australia vs. the U.S. The Aussies have won it in three of the past four Olympics; the Americans haven’t won since 2000.

U.S. stars Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky and an Australian team led by Kaylee McKeown, Ariarne Titmus and Kyle Chalmers figure to help their countries pile up the most medals at the pool.

The Americans won 33 medals, including 16 gold, in Rio. Australia claimed 10, and three golds. Japan earned seven medals — two golds — five years ago, but should get a boost as the host nation.

The Americans have topped the medals table in swimming at every Olympics since Seoul in 1988. The Aussies moved their trials to six weeks before the Games, roughly at the same time as the U.S., rather than the previous six-month gap.

“The Americans have historically proved at the Olympic Games that they perform, so for us they are the standard we are striving for,” Australian coach Rohan Taylor said. “We haven’t performed to our potential (at the last two Games) and our decision to shift the timing of our trials was to find a better way to cover our performances at the Olympics.”


More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

7 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

7 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

7 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

7 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

7 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

7 months ago

Bring the pain: Olympic swimming begins with grueling 400 IM