But the surprise sprang from the 400m freestyle.
Amazement froze on Ahmed Hafnaoui's face.
Installed lane n ° 8, the Tunisian was ahead of the Australian Jack McLoughlin by 0''16 and the American Kieran Smith by 0''53.
He who was only the second Tunisian to have caught an Olympic final (after Oussama Mellouli, gold medalist in 2008 over 1,500 m).
Ahmed Hafnaoui, a wave of emotions.
In the final packaging, his trainer remained dumbfounded, before exploding his joy when he saw the final classification.
His swimmer was devastated by the verdict.
It took him long seconds to grasp the scope of the successful race.
In a good time of 3'43''36.
The Olympic medal table
LIVE - Watch the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
A great experience for Léon Marchand
On the French side, off to a good start with the butterfly (1st after 100m), Léon Marchand suffered in the back (7th), before regaining hope in breaststroke (4th in the 300m) and finishing 6th (at 1''74) in the 'after 100m freestyle which propelled the United States (Chase Kalish in gold, ahead of Jay Litherland at 0''86; Australian Brendon Smith taking the bronze medal at 0''96) to their first two medals in Tokyo.
A very applauded podium, the athletes having taken over the stands to put a little atmosphere ... Léon Marchand, in mixed zone, sums up:
“I tried to start a little faster on the first 200, unfortunately I cracked a bit on the front crawl at the end. I tried a different tactic, it was time to try things. Maybe next time it will pass… It was great. Something I had never experienced. There is a really different feeling. I am super happy with a weather that remains close to my best. We finished late last night
between physiotherapy, food, lots of things to sort out and this morning we still had to get up early, it was completely different from normal programs, series, semi-finals , final. "
Léon Marchand, from a swimming family (his mother Céline Bonnet, back specialist was several times champion of France; his father Xavier was vice-world champion in the 400m medley). At 19, he discovered the Olympics. He took a date. Within a rejuvenated France team, it is one of the promises of the near future. The Toulousain announced to try the American adventure (as before him Yannick Agnel) with the mentor of Michael Phelps, Bob Bowman. He who naturally opted for swimming without suffering from family pressure. “I started swimming just because it was next to the house. My parents never forced me, warned me that this sport was difficult, that the road was long until the Olympic Games and even beyond. But over the years, Ihave learned to love competition. "This desire can carry the Toulousain far ...
I passed a course
Marie Wattel won her semi-final in the 100m butterfly (0''17 ahead of Australian Emme McKeon).
In the mixed zone, very moved, she confided:
“This year in training I think I passed a milestone, I wanted it to pay off this morning
, it was good but it did not reflect my whole year of work. And there, it pays… Years of work. I will give everything tomorrow (Monday). I was like, 'Don't hold back anything at all to make it to the final, that's what I did. During the race, I see that I am in front and I accelerate, I accelerate, I want to have the best possible race. It's not every day that we are in the semi-finals at the Olympic Games. Maybe I blasted a cartridge for tomorrow but I'm so proud. Tomorrow (Monday), I will take advantage, it will be the experience for Paris. "