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Katie Ledecky tops U.S. rankings in race she plans to skip this summer

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Katie Ledecky is the fastest U.S. woman in the 400m individual medley this year. Katie Ledecky does not plan to race the 400m individual medley at the world championships in July.

In yet another incredible feat, Ledecky finished second in the 400m IM at a meet in Mesa, Ariz., on Friday, took a 24-minute break and then won the 200m freestyle.

In the 400m IM, Ledecky clocked 4:38.16, getting edged by Canadian Mary-Sophie Harvey by .11 of a second.

Ledecky ranks No. 7 in the world in the 400m IM this year and first among Americans by a whopping 2.21 seconds. Last year, Ledecky ranked No. 5 in the U.S. in the 400m IM but never raced it fully tapered or at the Olympic Trials.

It is very early in the season. Swimmers are training not to peak in Mesa but at the U.S. Championships in two months, but Ledecky has certainly proven her prowess extends beyond the freestyle events.

Ledecky has never swum an event other than a freestyle at a U.S. Championships. She said in interviews Thursday and Friday that the 400m IM is not on her radar for this summer.

“I’m not really planning to [race it internationally], at least at this point,” Ledecky said on NBCSN. “That was mainly just to get some really tough racing in.”

Ledecky chose to race the 400m IM on Friday because she wanted to challenge herself with two finals in one session. She needed a race to complement her 200m freestyle.

Ledecky is planning to race a 1500m free and a 200m free in the same session at worlds in July, but the 1500m free wasn’t on the program in Mesa. So she went with the 400m IM, a similarly grueling event.

“It’s a pain like no other,” Ledecky said Friday.

Ledecky had the second-fastest butterfly split in the 400m IM and the fastest backstroke split. Her breaststroke was weak, seventh-fastest in the eight-woman field.

But she closed with a 100m freestyle split that was the fastest of the A finals in Mesa — including the women’s and men’s races.

Ledecky is set to race the 200m individual medley and the 800m freestyle to close the Mesa meet on Saturday. NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will air finals coverage at 8 p.m. ET.

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IOC expects decisions on Russian doping cases next month

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Investigators at the International Olympic Committee expect to have “a number” of doping cases involving Russians at the Sochi Olympics resolved by the end of November, but they have no plans to dictate the eligibility of these athletes for next year’s Winter Games in PyeongChang.

The leader of an IOC delegation in charge of reviewing 28 cases involving athletes at Sochi wrote to the head of the IOC Athletes Commission this week to update the timeline of cases stemming from a report detailing a Russian doping scheme at the 2014 Olympics and beforehand.

Denis Oswald said that of the cases his committee is reviewing, priority has been given to those involving athletes looking to compete in PyeongChang. Top priority goes to six cross-country skiers whose provisional suspensions expire Oct. 31.

Oswald also said his committee would rule on these athletes’ results for Sochi, but will not determine their eligibility for PyeongChang, instead handing over evidence to their respective sports federations to decide.

The IOC also appointed a task force to look at the Russian doping scandal as a whole, the results of which could have wider repercussions on the country’s eligibility at next year’s Olympics.

In a separate letter sent to worldwide sports leaders, IOC President Thomas Bach said only that the Schmid Commission is continuing its evaluation and that “I hope that the IOC Executive Board will still be able to take a decision this year because none of us want this serious issue to overshadow” the upcoming Olympics.

The updates come amid a growing chorus of calls for a timely decision and for Russia’s ouster from PyeongChang.

The IOC commissions are operating off information from the McLaren Report, the first part of which was released in July 2016.

In explaining the timeline, Oswald wrote that because the Russian scheme involved exchanging dirty urine samples with clean ones, it took time to adopt methods to verify that samples had been tampered with — in part by finding evidence of scratch marks on collection bottles that had been opened and re-sealed.

“The task has not been easy in both establishing a methodology in an area in which there are no established protocols,” he wrote, “and then moving through the necessary scientific analysis of each individual sample in a way which would withstand legal challenge.”

MORE: USOC boss calls for immediate action on Russian doping

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Two-time Olympian becomes first woman to lead U.S. national swim team

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Two-time Olympian Lindsay Mintenko has been picked to lead the U.S. national swimming team. She is the first woman to hold the title.

USA Swimming made the announcement Wednesday.

Mintenko replaces Frank Busch, who retired Oct. 1 as managing director. She has been a member of the national team staff since 2006.

During her swimming career, Mintenko won gold medals as a U.S. team captain at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics 800m freestyle relay and added a silver in 2004 on the 400m freestyle relay.

USA Swimming also announced an organizational restructuring that will place all technical divisions, including the national team, under the oversight of chief operating officer Mike Unger.

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