Swimmers win Australia's first medals at Tokyo Olympics

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Brendon Smith and Jack McLoughlin, pictured here at the Tokyo Olympics.
Brendon Smith won bronze, while Jack McLoughlin claimed silver. Image: Getty

Swimmers Jack McLoughlin and Brendon Smith claimed Australia's first medals for male athletes at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

McLoughlin has won silver in the 400m freestyle final after Smith claimed bronze in the 400m individual medley.

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McLoughlin and compatriot Elijah Winnington surged into the final as gold medal fancies having tied in their heat on Saturday.

However it wasn't to be as McLoughlin faded late to claim the silver medal.

Tunisian 18-year-old Ahmed Hafnaoui won gold in Lane 8, while Winnington finished seventh.

McLoughlin's silver follows compatriot Mack Horton's gold in the race at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"They are the world to me," McLoughlin said about the support of his family.

"Everyone says swimming is an individual sport but it is not. I like to think of it as I'm the F1 car and I pilot it with this thing and that thing but they are my pit crew. 

"They are doing everything to help me out. It just means the absolute world to me to have them by my side. 

"My parents my family, my beautiful girlfriend and all her family. There are so many people there. It is not just one person here, it is the whole place. 

"They mean the world. I say a huge thank you to everyone who got me here."

McLoughlin was on target for victory, leading by 0.31 seconds with just 50m to swim.

But Hafnaoui charged to victory with a flying last 50m, winning by just 0.16 seconds from the Australian.

Brendon Smith wins bronze in 400m individual medley

Earlier, Brendon Smith won bronze in the 400m individual medley, claiming Australia's first medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Smith surged into gold medal contention when he qualified fastest in the heats in a huge boilover, with reigning world champion Daiya Seto a shock casualty.

The Japanese star was the top-ranked swimmer in the event and won bronze in Rio five years ago, but failed to make the final.

Smith fell back to last during the breaststroke leg, but stormed home to finish third in an incredible finish.

Brendon Smith, pictured here in the final of the men's 400m individual medley at the Olympics.
Brendon Smith competes in the final of the men's 400m individual medley at the Olympics. (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)

Unfortunately for the 21-year-old underdog, his time in the heat would have won gold in the final.

However he was over the moon to snare a medal in his first Olympic Games.

"To get on the podium is absolutely incredible," he said.

American Chase Kalisz won gold in 4:09.42, with his countryman Jay Litherland taking the silver.

with AAP

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