Emily Seebohm, of Australia, swims in a women's 200-meter backstroke semifinal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

TOKYO (AP) — At the beginning of the race, all is hopeful. And all is possible.

Part of storytelling, be it photography or anything else, is to show the tension of what might happen. That's what comes through in this image taken at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday by Associated Press photographer David Goldman.

It shows swimmers — Australia's Emily Seebohm most prominent among them, in her yellow cap — leaping to begin the women's 200-meter backstroke. Their backs are arched, Their fingers are reaching for the water. Some are closer than others.

But like so many evocative action photographs, it also depicts ambition and determination and trajectory.

What was Goldman going for? In fact, capturing this kinetic frame as he did was the result of an adjustment he made after photographing another, earlier backstroke event. He wanted to make sure the swimmers didn't jump out of the frame of his camera.

“I prefocused on Seebohm wearing a yellow cap, where I thought she would enter the water and made sure to keep enough space on the left side of the frame to allow for the arch of all the swimmers' arms,” he said. “After that, it was all luck that she didn’t get blocked by the swimmer next to her. There’s no telling where their arms might go or who might push off the blocks a fraction of a second off in comparison to the others.”

Added Goldman: “This was just one of those cases of a little planning, and whole lot of luck.”


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