- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO | Kazakhstan has its first Olympic swimming medal.

A gold one, at that.

Dmitriy Balandin pulled off a stunning upset in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke on Wednesday night, winning from the eighth lane to put his central Asian country on the swimming medal stand for the first time.

Yosuhiro Koseki of Japan went out fast and was more than a second under world-record pace at the final turn. But Balandin was right with him in the outside lane, and Koseki couldn’t keep up the pace.

Balandin touched in 2 minutes, 7.46 seconds. Josh Prenot of the United States rallied to claim silver in 2:07.53, while Russia’s Anton Chupkov landed the bronze in 2:07.70.

Koseki faded to fifth.

Balandin pulled himself onto a lane rope and whipped his arms in the air, savoring his historic achievement.

“I’m very proud to win a medal for my country,” the 21-year-old said through an interpreter. “It’s the best thing I can do for my country. I think the whole of Kazakhstan is celebrating right now.”

Until now, Balandin’s biggest achievement was winning three breaststroke gold medals at the 2014 Asian Games. He also captured gold last year in the World University Games.

But those titles pale in comparison to the one he has now.

“I don’t realize yet I’m an Olympic champion,” Balandin said. “This will come to me tomorrow.”

For now, he added, “I’m really, really tired.”

In other events on the fifth night of swimming at the Rio Games, the Campbell sisters set up a showdown in the women’s 100 freestyle.

Cate Campbell posted the fastest time in the semifinals, an Olympic-record 52.71. Her younger sister Bronte was fifth-fastest at 53.29. Bronte is the reigning world champion, but Cate is the world-record holder.

They’ve already teamed up to lead Australia to a gold medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay.

Now, they’re competitors seeking the same prize.

Defending Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo also advanced, along with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak, Simone Manuel of the United States and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden.

In the men’s 200 backstroke, Evgeny Rylov of Russia posted the fastest semifinal time at 1:54.45, followed by Australia’s Mitch Larkin and a pair of American swimmers, Jacob Pebley and 100 backstroke champion Ryan Murphy.

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