Australia can dare to dream of double gold in the pool on Thursday and carry the momentum from Wednesday’s Tokyo medal rush.
The seven medals – three golds and four bronze – means that day five in Tokyo will go down as one of the most successful days in Australian Olympic history.
Australia’s three gold medals – the men’s and women’s fours rowing crews and Ariarne Titmus in the 200m freestyle – in one hectic hour equalled the team’s record for the most gold medals in a single day, set at the 2008 Games in Beijing with two sailing golds and one in triathlon on day 10.
A couple of huge hopes loom in the swimming finals on Thursday.
Kyle Chalmers defends his 100m freestyle title from Rio, with his biggest challengers being American Caeleb Dressel and Russian Kliment Kolesnikov. Chalmers will look to swoop from lane seven after qualifying sixth fastest.
There’s hardly been a warmer favourite for gold than the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay.
Australia’s ‘B team’ easily qualified fastest for the final as Mollie O’Callaghan, Meg Harris, Brianna Throssell and Tamsin Cook clocked a time of 7:44.61 to comfortably win their heat.
Australia look unstoppable for gold, with a trio of stars – Titmus, Emma McKeon and Madi Wilson – to almost certainly come into the team.
The Aussies look a strong chance to challenge their own world record, set at the 2019 world championships, just days after the 4x100m freestyle team blitzed the field on their way to gold and a new world record.
Zac Stubblety-Cook qualified fastest for the 200m breaststroke final and the 22-year-old’s qualifying time of 2:07.35 means he isn’t under the radar anymore.
In Thursday’s other finals, Jack McLoughlin (800m freestyle) and Brianna Throssell (200m butterfly) will start as outsiders.
Emma McKeon will be back in the pool for the semi-finals of the 100m freestyle.
McKeon broke the Olympic record in the heats with a time of 52.13.
“I’m pretty happy with that, an Olympic record is pretty cool,” she said.
Fellow Aussie Cate Campbell will line up in the other semi having swum a slick 52.80s.
Aussie Brendon Smith, who won bronze in the 400m individual medley in Tokyo, missed out on a place in the semis of the 200m IM.
But compatriot Mitch Larkin got through, winning his heat in a time of 1:57.50 by out-touching 35-year-old Hungarian legend Laszlo Cech.
Smith was second in his heat in a time of 1:58.57 but it wasn’t enough to qualify for Thursday’s semi-finals.
Jenna Strauch progressed through to the 200m breaststroke semi-finals after finishing third in her heat with a time of 2:23.30.
“I hope I can just keep up the Australian breaststroke legacy for all,” Strauch said when asked about her idol Leisel Jones after qualification.
However, it’s was heartache for fellow Aussie breaststroker Abbey Harkin who was not fast enough to progress with a time of 2:24:41.
Australian debutant Tristan Hollard qualified for the men’s 200m backstroke semi-finals after finishing fourth in his heat.
Hollard hit the wall in a time of 1:57.24, which listed him as 10th fastest overall and good enough to progress to the semis.
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