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American Bobby Finke wins Olympic gold medal in men's 1,500-meter freestyle

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TOKYO — American Bobby Finke made it a stunning distance double at his first Olympics, winning the gold medal in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle. It’s the first time an American has won Olympic gold in the event in 37 years.

The 21-year-old University of Florida swimmer won a surprising gold earlier this week in the men’s 800 freestyle. Sunday morning Finke used a late surge to win the 1,500 in 14:39.65, followed by Ukrainian Mykhailo Romanchuk, who took silver, 1.26 seconds back.

Florian Wellbrock of Britain was third in 14:40.91.

Finke is the biggest surprise of these Games for USA Swimming. Sunday he swam the final 50 meters in 25.78 seconds, which was faster than any male swimmer in the final 50 of the 200 free final.

His winning time Sunday was 9.05 seconds faster than his personal best in the 1,500 this year. It's the second-fastest time in American history.

With his 800 free win Thursday, Finke became the first American male swimmer to win gold in an Olympic distance race since 1984.

"I honestly did not expect to win. At all," he said then. "Let alone medal."

Finke comes from a diehard swimming family. His mother, Jeanne, swam collegiately at Ball State. His dad, Joe, is a swim coach. And his two older sisters, Autumn and Summer, swam at Florida and Florida State, respectively.

Contributing: Tom Schad

MORE: Caeleb Dressel wins his fourth medal of Tokyo Olympics with gold medal in 50-meter freestyle

OLYMPICS MEDAL COUNT: Full list of each country's medal total at the Summer Olympics

Bobby Finke celebrates after winning gold in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle.
Bobby Finke celebrates after winning gold in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bobby Finke wins 1500m free, collects second gold medal of Olympics