Teenager Kyle Chalmers of Australia captured Olympic gold in the 100m freestyle, one of the premier events on the Olympic calendar, in a time of 47.58 on Wednesday night. It's the first Australian gold in this event since Michael Wenden in Mexico City in 1968.
Belgium’s Pieter Timmers took the silver in 47.80 while defending Olympic champion Nathan Adrian was 0.05 seconds back to earn the bronze. Chalmers, 18, was well back at the turn but charged home over the final 50m to take the gold.
"I was next to a couple of guys who come home really fast. In a pool this small, there’s no getting away from that," Adrian told media after the race. "I feel great about getting another medal, man. No doubt. To be able to look at the side of the block and see that there’s lights there. It’s what you work for. It would be great to have gold, but in this day and age in the 100m freestyle’s maybe the most fickle event out there."
The world record, 46.91, was set at the 2009 World Championships at the height of the now-illegal rubberized supersuit era by Brazil’s Cesar Cielo; he did not qualify to race in front of a home crowd in any event at the 2016 Olympics.
Fellow American Caeleb Dressel – whose parents and family made it down to Rio thanks to a secret, surprise GoFundMe campaign set up by the Dressel's siblings – finished sixth at 48.02. Dressel was part of the 4x100m freestyle relay that won gold alongside Michael Phelps, Adrian and Ryan Held.