Who is the Most Decorated Olympic Swimmer in Tokyo? Emma McKeon of Australia.

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Emma McKeon of Australia during the women’s 50-meter freestyle final at Tokyo Aquatics Center on Sunday.
Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

Randal C. Archibold

July 31, 2021

TOKYO — The most decorated Olympic swimmer in Tokyo is … Caeleb Dressel? Katie Ledecky?

Nope. It is Emma McKeon of Australia, whose haul of seven medals ties her for the record by any female Olympian, set in 1952 at the Helsinki Games by the gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya of the Soviet Union.

McKeon’s seventh medal came in the 4x100 medley relay and made her the first female swimmer to win that many at a single Games. She joins Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi as the only swimmers with seven or more (Phelps has the record, with eight golds at the 2008 Beijing Games).

Australia set an Olympic record in the race with a time of 3:51:60, edging out the United States in a stroke-for-stroke final lap. Canada won bronze.

She won the 50 free in a time of 23.81, an Olympic record.

“I never thought that I would win a 50 freestyle because I have been training for the 200 my whole life,’’ she said afterward. “If I put it altogether I knew I could win. It’s very surreal. I think the whole week I’ve been kind of keeping my emotions just at a certain level because I knew I had so much more racing to do. It’s very surreal to be in that kind of company.”

McKeon’s tally:

4x100 freestyle relay (gold, world record)

100 free (gold, Olympic record)

50 free (gold, Olympic record)

100 butterfly (bronze)

4x200 free relay (bronze)

4x100 mixed medley relay (bronze)

4x100 medley relay (gold, Olympic record)

She won four medals at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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