Katie Ledecky wins race by 37 seconds

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It was a ho-hum Thursday for Katie Ledecky.

Ledecky swam her first 1500m freestyle in nearly two years and won by 37.24 seconds at a Pro Series meet in Santa Clara, Calif. She clocked the fifth-fastest time ever, trailing only the last four instances where she broke the world record in the event.

Ledecky touched the wall in 15 minutes, 35.65 seconds on Thursday. Second-place Kristel Kobrich was more than a full length of the pool behind and stopped the clock in 16:12.89. Full results are here.

The Chilean Kobrich is no slouch, having finished seventh in the 1500m free at the 2015 World Championships.

Ledecky’s still-standing world record from the 2015 Worlds, 15:25.48, is more than 10 seconds faster than her own time Thursday and more than 13 seconds faster than any other woman has posted. Ledecky’s time Thursday was the fastest in the world this year by 28 seconds.

The women’s 1500m free is not an Olympic event, so Ledecky did not swim it at all in 2016. The 1500m free is a men’s event at the Olympics, while the women swim the 800m free.

Ledecky and other swimmers are competing in Santa Clara in preparation for the U.S. Championships in Indianapolis in four weeks. The top two per individual event in Indianapolis qualify for the world championships in Budapest in July.

Ledecky is expected to try and replicate her Ledecky Slam from the 2015 Worlds, where she became the first swimmer to sweep the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees at a single global meet.

Ledecky, a 20-year-old rising Stanford sophomore, has broken 13 worlds records among the 400m, 800m and 1500m frees. She’s nearly halfway to Michael Phelps‘ tally of 29 individual world records.

Since 2013, Ledecky has lowered the women’s 1500m free world record by 17.06 seconds from 15:42.54 (set by Kate Ziegler in 2007, in the super-suit era, which lowered Janet Evans‘ 1988 mark by nearly 10 seconds).

Ledecky is entered in one more race in Santa Clara, the 200m free on Saturday.

The Santa Clara finals on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will stream on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app from 8-9:30 p.m. ET. NBCSN will also carry the Friday and Sunday finals live, with the Saturday finals airing on 1:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

MORE: Phelps eyes WSOP Main Event

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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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