Luke Gebbie saved his best for last despite taking a bow on his Olympic debut. He topped Heat 5 of the preliminaries of the men’s 50-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Aquatics Center, Friday.
The 24-year-old stopped the clock at 22.84 seconds — a good 0.07 seconds off Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Emir Muratovic — to win the heat. Gebbie thus finished in 41st place out of 75 swimmers.
The Fil-Australian swimmer was one of the last off the blocks, but his solid underwater technique propelled him out of the water farther.
From there, Gebbie was virtually untouchable despite the strong challenge from the swimmer beside him in Muratovic.
American Caeleb Dressel, who won the 100-meter freestyle, topped all the qualifiers with a time of 21.32. His time was 0.33 seconds off 2012 50-meter champion Florent Manaudou of France’s time.
Gebbie earlier set a new Philippine record in the 100-meter event after he clocked at 49.64 in the heats on July 27.
The result from the 2019 Southeast Asian Games double medalist is off by 0.27 seconds off his own national mark set at the Australian Olympic Trials last June which stands at 22.57.