…Becomes first Nigerian woman to finish 100m freestyle in under a minute
Before 28 July 2021, no Nigerian woman had ever gone under a minute in the women’s 100m freestyle event. That is no longer the case after Abiola Ogunbanwo, on Wednesday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, won Heat 1 of her favourite event in 59.74s.
Before Wednesday, Ngozi Monu’s longstanding Nigerian record of 1:00.50, which had stood since 2007, served as the benchmark, but Ogunbanwo has now set a new standard. And the 17-year-old looks likely to go faster in the foreseeable future.
Competing in the very first heat of the women’s 100m freestyle event, Ogunbanwo finished ahead of Andela Antunovic of Montenegro (1:00.01), Nepal’s Gaurika Singh (1:00.11), and Mineri Gomez of Guam (1:04.00) to keep alive, at the time of racing, her hopes of advancing to the semi-finals.
That was not to be though, as her time ended up being the 50th best in the event and not enough to secure the teenager a spot in the semi-finals.
In the women’s 100m freestyle event, the time returned by competitors is all that matters in the heats, as only the fastest 16 swimmers get to advance to the semi-finals.
But Ogunbanwo can hold her head up high after adding the 100m national record to the 400m freestyle and 200m breaststroke national records she currently holds.