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Tokyo Olympics: Dead-heat conspiracy theories come thick & fast in the pool

It’s another dead heat in the pool – and the conspiracy theories have started coming in thick and fast.

It all started on day one when Emma McKeon was controversially denied victory when she seemed to touch the wall before China’s Yufei Zhang in the 100m butterfly heats.

Since then the incredibly “rare” dead heats have been coming thick and fast.

There was the dead heat in the men’s 400m freestyle involving Aussies Elijah Winnington and Jack McLoughlin and in the men’s 100m backstroke between Russian Evgeny Rylov and American Ryan Murphy.

Then there was the draw for fifth in heat five of the 200m freestyle that resulted in a swim off between Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto and Germany’s Lukas Martens.

Izaac Stubblety-Cook and Arno Kamminga after their dead heat.
Camera IconIzaac Stubblety-Cook and Arno Kamminga after their dead heat. Credit: Petr David Josek/AP

Then last night Aussie Izaac Stubblety-Cook and Dutchman Arno Kamminga dead heated in the 200m breaststroke.

The following heat of the same event saw American Nic Fink and China’s Qin Haiyang do the same.

There have never been so many dead heats in the pool at the Olympics – or probably any other meet.

And it appears to be happening in the same two lanes – four and five.

“Dead heat again,” Channel 7 commentator Basil Zempilas said. “Well, we keep seeing them in the pool at Tokyo.”

When swimming great Ian Thorpe was asked about his thoughts on the amazing amount of dead heats, he quipped: “How much time have we got!”

“There may have been a fault but they’re saying there is no fault in the equipment, they’ve tested them,” he said.

“They test those things every session. So there’s someone that’s actually measuring the lanes making sure they’re working effectively and as they should be.”

The real concerning dead heat was that of McKeon, with replays appearing to show that she had touched in before Zhang.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Meagen Nay was among the fans to weigh in on the controversy.

“Emma was clearly on wall first,” she said.

FINA officials have insisted there is nothing wrong with the timing system.

The timing pads activate based on an amount of pressure, suggesting McKeon had touched the wall more softly than Zhang.

But Thorpe added: “We would dispute Emma McKeon’s (result) if that was a final.”

McKeon finished third in the final behind Canada’s Margaret MacNeil (gold) and Zhang (silver).

VideoA dead heat for Zac Stubblety-Cook in the 200m breaststroke heat

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