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Caeleb Dressel of the U.S. and Emma McKeon of Australia sprint to gold in swimming’s finale.

Caeleb Dressel of the U.S. and Emma McKeon of Australia sprint to gold in swimming’s finale.

Caeleb Dressel won his fourth gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, sprinting to victory in the 50-meter freestyle on a frantic final day of the swimming competition at the Tokyo Aquatics Center.

Dressel, diving into the lead and never giving it up — or taking a breath — finished in 21.07 seconds, an Olympic record and just 16 hundredths of a second off the world record.

Florent Manaudou of France finished second in 21.55 seconds, and Bruno Fratus of Brazil (21.57) came in third.

With his teammates cheering him on from the stands, Dressel exploded to a fast start and never faltered. When he learned that he had won, he flexed his left bicep and then raced out of the pool to prepare for another race.

Dressel entered the pool having already won three gold medals at these Games, in the 4×100 freestyle relay, the 100 free and the 100 butterfly. His time in the 100 butterfly, 49.45 seconds, was a world record.

In the day’s second race, Emma McKeon of Australia emerged from a highly competitive field to take gold in the women’s 50 free. She finished with a time of 23.81 seconds, an Olympic record.

McKeon had started the day knowing that a top-three finish in her two races — the 50 free and the 4×100 medley relay — would make her only the second woman, after the Soviet gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya, to win seven medals at a single Olympics.

Sarah Sjoestreom of Sweden came in second place (24.07 seconds), and Pernille Blume of Denmark, who won gold in 2016, took third (24.21). Abbey Weitzel, the only American in the final, finished last.

The two short, explosive races then gave way to one of the longest of the Games, the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle. Bobby Finke of the United States has a chance to win a second gold medal in Tokyo. Finke, who is competing in his first Olympics, won the men’s 800-meter freestyle on Thursday with a time of 7 minutes 41.87 seconds. Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, who won gold in 2016, is set to race beside Finke in Lane 6.

The session was to end with two exciting medley relays. The American women won gold in the 4×100 medley relay at the 2016 Games. But they face potentially overpowering competition here in the form of Canada and Australia.

The men’s 4×100 medley relay is the final swimming event of the Tokyo Olympics, and there is history on the line. The American men have won gold in every Olympics they have competed in. (They did not participate in 1980, when the United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics.) But they enter the race as underdogs, with Britain, which qualified with the fastest time (3:31.47), and Australia looking the strongest out of the field.

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