Katie Ledecky

Katie Ledecky smashes another world record at Pan Pacs

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Katie Ledecky broke her 1500m freestyle world record by six seconds on the final night of the Pan Pacific Championships on Sunday.

“Six seconds was a little surprising,” said Ledecky, who grimaced after winning in 15 minutes, 28.36 seconds, “It was painful, but it pays off in the end.”

The reigning Female World Swimmer of the Year has broken five world records in the last nine weeks, including the 400m free on Saturday and the 1500m free twice. Women do not contest the 1500m free at the Olympics.

She became the first woman to win four individual gold medals at a single Pan Pacific Championships, sweeping the 200m through 1500m frees at a meet contested among the world’s top swim nations outside Europe. She won five golds in six races overall, including the 4x200m free relay.

In the 1500m free, Ledecky was 27 seconds faster than the silver medalist, New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle. She lapped three of the eight finalists, meaning she finished her 1500m before they finished 1400m.

Ledecky’s time was .01 faster than Ryan Lochte‘s 1500m free at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, where her time would have placed fifth in the final.

“I knew it was my last race of the meet, and last race of the season,” Ledecky said. “I wanted to finish on a good note. I didn’t want to walk away from the meet with a little bit of, like, ‘Uh, that was just OK.’ I just dug in deep the last 50.”

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air Pan Pacs coverage on Sunday from 1-2 p.m. ET.

In other events Sunday, Michael Phelps took second to Japan’s Kosuke Hagino in the 200m individual medley. Hagino won in 1:56.02, followed by Phelps in 1:56.04. Lochte won the consolation final in the same time as Hagino won the top final.

Phelps finished his first international meet since the London Olympics with gold in the 100m butterfly, silver in the 200m IM and fourth in the 100m free. He also won two relay gold medals and one relay silver. He swam the butterfly leg on the victorious U.S. 4x100m medley relay that closed the meet Sunday.

Lochte finished Pan Pacs with one individual medal, silver in the 100m fly.

Missy Franklin won a silver medal as part of the U.S. 4x100m medley relay. Australia won by 1.92 seconds. Franklin, slowed by back spasms Tuesday, finished the meet with one gold and two silvers in relays and one bronze individually.

American Maya DiRado won her first major international individual gold medal, taking the women’s 200m IM in 2:09.93.

Australian Cate Campbell added 50m free gold to her 100m free title, matching the fastest textile suit time ever in 23.96.

Brazil’s Bruno Fratus took the men’s 50m free in 21.44. Anthony Ervin, 33 and the oldest U.S. swimmer at the meet, took silver in 21.73 and qualified for the 2015 World Championships. Ervin tied for gold in the 50m free at the Olympics 14 years ago.

Japan swept the 200m breaststrokes with Yasuhiro Koseki (2:08.57) and Kanako Watanabe (2:21.41).

Canadian Ryan Cochrane prevailed in the 800m free in 7:45.39, repeating as Pan Pacs champion.

Usain Bolt wins 100m in Warsaw after Humvee entrance

Max Aaron retires from figure skating

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Max Aaron, a national champion and Skate America winner, has retired from competitive figure skating.

Aaron, 26, ends his career as the only Skate America men’s winner not to compete in an Olympics. He is one of three U.S. men’s champions in the last 55 years not to compete in an Olympics, along with Ryan Bradley and Rudy Galindo.

“Of course, becoming an Olympian, or having an Olympic medal would have been great to say, ride off on my white horse, but having the ability to say that I have no regrets in my entire career of figure skating, for me that is my gold medal,” Aaron said Thursday night.

Aaron, a former top USA Hockey developmental player, also figure skated growing up to help with his skating skills as one of the smaller players on his team.

He stopped playing hockey at 16 due to a broken vertebra but continued full-time with figure skating. By 2012, Aaron considered quitting figure skating after placing eighth at nationals (one year after being U.S. junior champion) and being told he wasn’t artistic enough.

But Aaron kept with it and completed a remarkable bounce back the next year, winning the U.S. title and setting himself up as a favorite to make the 2014 Olympic team.

But Aaron ended up third at the 2014 U.S. Championships. The two Sochi Olympic spots went to Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown.

Aaron continued, becoming the first U.S. man to win Skate America in six years in 2015 and topping the short program at the 2016 U.S. Championships before ultimately finishing second to Adam Rippon.

Aaron plummeted to ninth at the 2017 U.S. Championships, coming back from offseason hernia surgery, but returned to the Olympic team radar last fall with a personal-best free skate at Cup of China, including three landed quadruple jumps. He went into the 2018 U.S. Championships ranking third among American men for the season.

But Aaron was again ninth at nationals, missing the Olympic team. He was called on to compete at last month’s world championships as the third alternate after Rippon, Ross Miner and Brown all passed.

Aaron had stopped skating and instead was training for a triathlon. He went to worlds in Milan on two weeks of training and finished 11th, a result that helped the U.S. keep three men’s spots for 2019 Worlds. Nathan Chen won the world title, but Vincent Zhou was 14th. The U.S. needed its second man to be 12th or better to go along with Chen’s first place to ensure three spots next year. Aaron reportedly said at worlds that it may have been his last competition.

Aaron said he’s started a job with Merrill Lynch.

“It’s really been a great ride. I have no regrets,” he said. “That’s one thing that I always told myself, in sport, in life, I want to have no regrets, and I can honestly say, with the help from my coaches and friends, that I have no regrets in the sport.”

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Martha, Bela Karolyi speak on Larry Nassar case (video)

Martha Karolyi, Bela Karolyi
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Former USA Gymnastics national team coordinators Martha and Bela Karolyi said they knew nothing about Larry Nassar‘s alleged abuse in an interview that airs on an hourlong NBC News “Dateline” special Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

Star U.S. gymnasts, among more than 100 who said they were sexually abused by the convicted Nassar, said they were abused at the Karolyi’s ranch in Texas during national-team training camps.

“That’s awful, but I would say even if they have big names or they have no names, any child who was violated by Nassar, it’s a crime and it’s so sad,” Martha Karolyi told Savannah Guthrie in part of the interview that aired on TODAY on Friday.

How could the Karolyis not have known about the alleged abuses committed at their property?

“Yes, but if you couldn’t suspect anything, I heard during the testimonies that some of the parents were in therapy room with their own child and Larry Nassar was performing this — and the parent couldn’t see. How I could see?” Martha Karolyi said.

“The whole thing is just like an explosion, a bomb exploding, boom,” Bela Karolyi said.

Martha Karolyi led the national team for 15 years before retiring after the Rio Olympics. She told Guthrie that in “no way” did she suspect Nassar was sexually abusing athletes.

The Karolyis have been named as co-defendants in several civil lawsuits filed against Nassar and USA Gymnastics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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