the Tokyo Games are no exception to the rule by throwing young swimmers into the light of day. Presentation
At the Olympics, swimming always propels unexpected young people to the fore. In 2012, the Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte (15), titled in the 100 m breaststroke as in 2016, the Canadian Penny Oleksiak (16), in gold in the 100 m freestyle, had marked the spirits. Like the American star Katie Ledecky (15 years old during her 800m title in London) who sees in Tokyo the emergence of a new generation that benefits from the one-year postponement of the Games due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Japan, the program highlighted the Australian Kaylee McKeown (20 years old, titled in the 100 m backstroke), the Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui (18 years old, winner of the 400 m, he who had only signed the 8e semi-finals) or Briton Tom Dean (gold in the 4 × 200 m freestyle and 200 m freestyle, a race in which 16-year-old Romanian David Popovici took the 4e place) who registered as the first British swimmer to win a double Olympic gold medal since 1908.
Without forgetting the American Lydia Jacoby (17 years old, Olympic champion in the 100 m breaststroke), member of a team which, among its stars, counts eleven young swimmers, including Katie Grimes (15 years old, who played last night in the final of the 800 m), the youngest American swimmer at the Olympics since Amanda Beard (14) in 1996. In 2020, Lydia Jacobi had planned to come to Tokyo as a spectator of the Olympics. Before the postponement due to the health crisis. And gold in 2021 …
“Very old” at 24 years old
The Russian Evgeniia Chikunova (16) was ranked 4e in the 100m and 200m breaststroke. The 24-year-old gold and silver medalists in the 200m breaststroke, South African Tatjana Schoenmaker and American Lilly King, laughingly admitted to feeling “Very old …” If skateboarding has rejuvenated the average age of medalists, swimming remains true to its habits. On the French side, Maxime Grousset (22) distinguished himself by taking the 4e place in the 100 m freestyle won by American star Caeleb Dressel.
Tokyo has, as expected, watched young swimmers flourish, the prize for precocity still remaining for the Japanese Kyoko Iwasaki, winner of the 200m breaststroke in Barcelona in 1992. At 14 years and 6 days …