Chase Kalisz swims to gold, earns Team USA's first medal in Tokyo

Posted at 9:25 PM, Jul 24, 2021

American swimmer Chase Kalisz on Sunday won the USA's first swimming medal in Tokyo, holding off teammate Jay Litherland to take gold in the Men's 400m IM. Team USA's second medal followed closely behind when Litherland touched to secure silver. 

Kalisz, part of a crop of young guns charged with carrying on the legacy established by Michael Phelps, the most-decorated swimming Olympian in U.S. history, was among the favorite going into the Games, and he did not disappoint.

The 27-year-old grabbed the lead on the first length of the backstroke after France's Leon Marchand had led after the butterfly leg and never looked back.

He battled with New Zealand's Lewis Clareburt through the breaststroke but the Kiwi faded badly in the freestyle and finished seventh.

"It means the world. This is the last thing that I really wanted to accomplish in my swimming career," said Kalisz.

"It was something that was a dream of mine for as long as I could remember. I can't believe it."

Reuters contributed to this report