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Swimmer in lane 8 shocks Tokyo Olympics with men's 400m freestyle win

Ahmed Hafnaoui qualified for the men's 400-meter freestyle by a hair. He won the gold by almost the same margin.

Swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia was the surprise winner in the men’s 400-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Games. The 18-year-old won from lane eight, his victory punctuated with loud screams that could be heard throughout the largely empty arena.

Hafnaoui finished in 3:43.26, just 0.16 ahead of Australia's Jack McLoughlin and followed by American Kieran Smith. The top three were separated by less than a second after eight laps of the pool.

“I was surprised with myself,” said Hafnaoui, who joined Ous Mellouli as a gold medalist from the north African country. “I couldn’t believe it until I touched the wall and saw the 1 (on the scoreboard).”

It's well known that those who swim in the outside lanes are generally not expected to win. Hafnaoui almost didn't qualify for the final. He finished 0.14 seconds ahead of Switzerland's Antonio Djakovic in the prelims.

Tunisia is located in northern Africa off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It's nestled between Algeria and Libya.