Zac Stubblety-Cook wins swimming gold for Australia after stunning last lap | Tokyo Olympic Games 2020

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He was the youngest, but he was also the fastest. On Thursday, 22-year-old Zac Stubblety-Cook won the first gold medal for Australia’s men at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, beating home a more experienced field to break the Olympic record in the 200m breaststroke final.

Stubblety-Cook started slowly, touching the wall in sixth at the first turn. But the Australian gradually reeled in fast-starting Dutchman Arno Kamminga, touching third at the final turn before a stunning last lap lifted Stubblety-Cook to the top step of the podium.

His win adds another gold to Australia’s burgeoning medal tally in Tokyo – with the potential for more to come later in the morning on Thursday.

In the first final of the morning, Australia’s Jack McLoughlin was unable to add to his medal haul in the men’s 800m freestyle. The 26-year-old won silver in the 400m freestyle last Sunday, but on Thursday morning struggled to stay with the Gregorio Paltrinieri as the Italian set a rapid early pace.

Paltrinieri was ultimately pipped to gold by American Robert Finke after a thrilling final flap, while McLoughlin placed fifth. It was only the second time in history that the distance has appeared on the men’s Olympic programme – the first was the 880-yard race at the 1904 Games.

The swimming continues on Thursday evening with the penultimate night of heats. Having won the women’s 200m and 400m freestyle, Australia’s Ariarne Titmus will be back in action in the 800m heats – as will her rival, American Katie Ledecky.

Kaylee McKeown, who won gold for Australia in the women’s 100m backstroke, will be the swimmer to beat in the 200m backstroke heats. The night concludes with the 4x100m mixed medley relay heats – the first time a mixed-gender swimming event has featured at the Olympics.


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