Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland Win Gold and Silver in the 400-M IM

Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland Win Gold and Silver in the 400-M IM

Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland Win Gold and Silver in the 400-M IM

Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland Win Gold and Silver in the 400-M IM

TOKYO — After an opening day without a medal, the United States swim team got two in the first event of the day on Sunday. By lunchtime, Americans had collected a half dozen at the pool.

Chase Kalisz, 27, won the first — the first gold medal of the Games for the United States — in the men’s 400-meter individual medley, pulling away from the pack just after the halfway mark and cruising to victory in 4 minutes 9.42 seconds.

As Kalisz, who won silver in the event in 2016, exited the pool, he sprawled onto his back and held his head in his hands for several seconds.

“This is my lifelong dream,” Kalisz said. “I’ve accomplished everything else in the sport — world titles, N.C.A.A. titles, an American record — and this was the last thing I wanted to check off.”

Kalisz’s teammate Jay Litherland, 25, an American born in Osaka, Japan, won the silver, giving the Americans their first top-two finish in the event since Michael Phelps and Erik Vendt did so in 2004 in Athens.

But that was just the start. Kieran Smith soon added a bronze in the 400-meter freestyle, and Emma Weyant (silver) and Hali Flickinger (bronze) followed him onto the medals stand after finishing behind Yui Ohashi in the women’s 400-meter individual medley.

Ohashi’s medal, delivered with a brilliant breaststroke leg, was Japan’s first swimming gold. She walked away from the pool wiping away tears of joy.

The United States’ sixth medal was a bronze in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

Ahmed Hafnaoui, 18, of Tunisia, was the surprise winner of the men’s 400 freestyle.


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