July 28 (UPI) -- U.S. Olympic swimmer Caeleb Dressel won his first individual gold medal of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in the men's 100-meter freestyle in Tokyo on Thursday.
Dressel exploded at the start to lead the entirety of the race, finishing with a time of 47.02 seconds and fending off a desperate final stretch by Australia's Kyle Chalmers, who finished just 0.06 seconds behind to claim the silver. Kliment Kolesnikov of Russia took the bronze.
In a tearful post-race interview, Dressel thanked his wife and family, who were not able to attend the games in Tokyo, via video conference.
"It's a really tough year, it's really hard, so to have the results show up ... it really came together, so I'm happy," he said after the race.
In the first-ever Olympic men's 800-meter freestyle, American Bobby Finke put on a furious comeback in the final lap to take the gold.
The 21-year-old Finke, participating in his first Olympic Games, posted a time of just under 7 minutes 42 seconds, narrowly overtaking Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri and Mykhailo Romanchuk of Ukraine.
Finke was in fifth place for much of the race, seemingly biding his time before exploding off the final turn to jump to the head of the pack in the final 50 meters.
"I just wanted to get my hand on the wall, I'm just so happy I was able to switch into another gear," he told NBC after the race. "Our coaches have been training us on that so often and I'm just so grateful for them and training me to be able to do it."
China's women's 4x200 relay team upset the favored Australian team with a new world record of 7 minutes 40.33 seconds. Women's star and race anchor Katie Ledecky vaulted the United States team to the silver medal with a swim of 1 minute and 53.76 seconds, the fastest leg time of any competitor in the race. The heavily favored Australians won bronze.
Incredibly, all three teams beat the previous world record.
U.S. women's swimmers Regan Smith and Hali Flickinger took home silver and bronze respectively in the women's 200-meter butterfly. Zhang Yufffei of China won gold with a time of 2 minutes and 3.86 seconds, the fastest time in the event in 12 years.
American Nic Fink failed to medal in the men's 200-meter breaststroke, placing fifth, as Izaac Stubblety-Cook of Australia took the gold with an Olympic record time of 2 minutes and 6.38 seconds. Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands earned silver and Matti Mattsson of Finland took the bronze.