Tomoru Honda swam an inspired last lap to claim a shock silver for Japan in the men's 200-meter butterfly at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Wednesday, setting a personal best time from lane eight.
The 19-year-old clocked a 1-minute, 53.73-second time to finish 2.48 seconds behind Hungary's Kristof Milak, who set an Olympic record.
"I swam my ideal race and won a silver medal on top of that, so I'm really happy. I think I was calm in the first half (of the race) and all I needed to do was have a strong second half, and I feel that I raced really well," said Honda, who only just scraped into the final by 0.04 second after his semifinal swim.
"I was nervous but I told myself I would have more fun than anyone else, so I soaked it all in from when I entered the arena."
Italian Federico Burdisso won bronze, 3.20 seconds behind Milak.
It is the fifth straight games in which Japan has taken a medal in the men's 200 butterfly. The medal run started with Takashi Yamamoto's silver in 2004, was continued by consecutive bronze medals by Takeshi Matsuda in 2008 and 2012 and then by another silver from Masato Sakai in 2016.
"I didn't want to end the medal streak (in this event) so I'm super happy. I want to thank everyone for all the support," said Honda, the first Japanese male to reach a swimming final at the Tokyo Games.