INCREDIBLE: China, USA, and Australia Break World Records in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 07/29/2021, 3:06 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Swimming – Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay – Medal Ceremony – Tokyo Aquatics Centre – Tokyo, Japan – July 29, 2021. Gold medallists Yang Junxuan of China, Tang Muhan of China, Zhang Yufei of China and Li Bingjie of China celebrate. REUTERS/Marko Djurica


Swimming events in the Olympics are always fun to watch. The 4 × 200 women’s freestyle relay at Tokyo Olympics 2020 was a race for the ages. With favorites Australia and the USA expected to take home the gold, China had other ideas. They smashed the world record by setting a time of 7:40.33 and took home the gold medal. The result came as a shock for both the Australian and US contingents.

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Significantly, all the three teams on the podium finished ahead of the previous world record set by team Australia. The previous world record stood at 7:41.50, which was set by them in the 2019 World Championships in South Korea.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Swimming – Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay – Final – Tokyo Aquatics Centre – Tokyo, Japan – July 29, 2021. Yang Junxuan of China, Tang Muhan of China, Zhang Yufei of China and Li Bingjie of China react after winning and setting a world record REUTERS/Molly Darlington

All three teams break the world record at Tokyo Olympics 2020

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Despite the heavyweights in the competition, China’s victory came as a surprise. Katie Ledecky, Ariarne Titmus, and Penny Oleksiak provided a star-studded lineup for the event. However, China’s swimmers rose to the occasion to provide a sensational victory.

The fabled four of Yang Junxuan, Tang Muhan, Zhang Yufei, and Li Bingjie combined and claimed both the World Record and the gold medal. Notably, this is the first time that China won Olympic gold in the 4 × 200 freestyle relay event.

The race started with a bang as Yang Junxuan built up a massive lead over the second-placed Titmus. Yang, with a split of 1:54.37, gave a clear advantage to China.

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USA and Australia could not mount a comeback

However, Emma McKeown came into the pool and started cutting into the lead of the Chinese team. While both these swimmers were at a world record pace, the 200-meter fly gold medalist, Zhang Yufei, came into the race and restored China’s lead. Even though she swam her 200-meter butterfly event in the morning, Zhang looked determined to fight through the fatigue.

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The last lap saw an intense race between China’s Li Bingjie, Australian Leah Neale, and the dominant Katie Ledecky. Li held onto her first place while Ledecky produced an incredible comeback from third place to hand Team USA a silver medal ahead of Australia. Neale claimed third place in what was an incredible swim from all the athletes.

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The USA finished with a time of 7:40.73- a new American record. Meanwhile, Australia set a 7:41.29 to create their own national record.

The swimming performances in Tokyo have been exciting to watch. However, this women’s relay event raised the bar for other events to match. It was quite an outstanding performance by all the teams.

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Jacob Gijy

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Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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