Swimming wraps up with Dressel going for another gold medal

Sports

Caeleb Dressel, of United States, celebrates winning a men’s 100-meter butterfly semifinal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

TOKYO (AP) — The final night of swimming gives Caeleb Dressel and four-time Olympic medalist Simone Manuel more chances to collect hardware on Day 8 of the Tokyo Games.

Dressel is a gold medal favorite in the men’s 50-meter freestyle and is the two-time reigning world champion. Manuel will compete in the women’s 50-meter freestyle, which she won silver in 2016 in Rio. The U.S. is also expected to contend for the gold medal in the men’s and women’s 4x100m medley relay.

Allyson Felix will attempt to pass Merlene Ottey of Jamaica as the female Olympian with the most track and field medals in the mixed 4×400 relay and the women’s 100-meter dash will be decided after a spirited day of heats.

Kevin Durant and the U.S. men’s basketball team face Czech Republic in its final game of group play.

Here are some things to watch (all times Eastern):

SWIMMING

The final day of swimming is a big one for Caeleb Dressel. He’ll go for two more gold medals in his sights in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter medley relay. The Americans are big favorites in both events.

Though the 50 free is always a bit of a crapshoot decided by a few hundredths of a second, Dressel has turned his brilliant underwater technique into 50 free titles at the past two world championships. The U.S. men, meanwhile, have never lost a medley relay at the Olympics.

Also keep an eye on Simone Manuel, who will swim her only individual event of these Games after failing to qualify for the American team in the 100 free, an event she won at the Rio Games. Manuel revealed at the U.S. trials that she had been diagnosed with overtraining syndrome, which forced her to halt training for nearly a month. Cate Campbell and 100 free champion Emma McKeon are also expected to be among the leading contenders in the 50 free.

The Americans also are the two-time defending Olympic champions in the women’s 4×100 medley relay, but will be challenged by an Australian women’s team that had won five gold medals as of Friday.

In the men’s 1,500 free, American Bobby Finke could take another medal after a surprising victory in the 800 free. Swimming will be the highlight of NBC’s primetime coverage that begins at 8 p.m.

TRACK & FIELD

The women’s 100-meter dash will be decided after a spirited round of early heats.

Reigning world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ran her heat in the nearly empty Olympic Stadium in 10.84 seconds. Her Jamaican rival, defending Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, finished in 10.82.

And Marie-Josee Ta Lou, the Ivory Coast sprinter who finished an excruciating fourth in Rio de Janeiro, kept saying “Wow! Wow!” after she crossed the finish line in a blistering personal best of 10.78.

They were the fifth, sixth and seventh-fastest times of the year, produced on a day when seven of 54 sprinters hit a personal best — all in an opening round.

In the mixed 4X400 relay, a medal for the Americans would push Allyson Felix past Merlene Ottey of Jamaica as the female Olympian with the most track and field medals. She currently has 10 medals. Much of the track and field coverage will be on NBC in primetime, but select qualifying rounds will also air live in primetime on USA Network.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

The U.S. men’s basketball team can secure second place in Group A and clinch a berth in the Olympic quarterfinals on Saturday when it faces the Czech Republic.

A win would also give the U.S. a chance at securing a top-four seed for the quarterfinals, which will be played in Saitama on Tuesday. Having a top-four seed is critical because it would mean that the Americans would not face any group winners in the knockout stage before the semifinals. The game will be streamed live Saturday at 8 a.m. on Peacock with encores later on both NBC and NBC Sports Network.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

The knockout round begins in beach volleyball and the top American team of April Ross and Alix Klineman made it through the preliminaries unscathed, winning all three of their matches.

That puts the Americans on the opposite side of the bracket from the overall No. 1 overall, Canada. They would not meet until the gold medal match. The elimination rounds will be on NBC in primetime.

FOR THE LATE CROWD

The elimination round of men’s beach volleyball will be aired live on NBC beginning at midnight, along with coverage of the men’s 1,500-meter free and the BMX Freestyle Finals.

The finals in men’s and women’s singles tennis will be presented on the Olympic Channel beginning at 2 a.m.

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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