Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel
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Katie Ledecky, Chase Kalisz top U.S. swim rankings as nationals near

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The U.S. Championships in three weeks will herald a changing of the guard in many events.

Katie Ledecky is the only active member of the Big Four. Michael Phelps is retired, Ryan Lochte is suspended and Missy Franklin is out of competition indefinitely after shoulder surgeries.

Ledecky continued her dominance as the headliner of this spring’s Pro Series meets, impressive coming off a long freshman season at Stanford.

Now that the six-event series is finished, the 2017 U.S. rankings have come into view going into nationals, where the top two per individual event qualify for the world championships in Budapest in July. The top six in the 100m and 200m frees will likely qualify for relays.

The rankings for Olympic events (plus the men’s 800m free and women’s 1500m free) are below, but first some notes:

  • Ledecky is again No. 1 by a comfortable margin in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles. She’s likely to repeat her 2015 World Championships slate, where she became the first swimmer to sweep those four races at a single worlds. She could also go for the 4x100m and 4x200m free relays, which would mean a possible six gold medals to tie Franklin’s record from 2013. Though Ledecky ranks No. 1 in the U.S. in the 400m individual medley by nearly one second, she’s not expected to race it at nationals.
  • Ledecky’s world-record times from the last two years in the 800m and 1500m frees would rank No. 4 on the U.S. men’s 800m and 1500m free lists for 2017. The U.S. has zero men who have met the A standard in either event, which means it will only be able to send one entry per event if nobody hits the standard at trials.
  • In the absence of Phelps and Lochte, Chase Kalisz emerged as the U.S.’ best all-around swimmer. The Olympic 400m IM silver medalist leads the rankings in both IMs, plus the 200m butterfly.
  • Ryan Murphy, who swept the backstrokes in Rio, will likely go into nationals ranked second in both events.
  • Anthony Ervin, who won Rio Olympic 50m free gold at age 35, ranks No. 16 in the U.S. this year.

Men
50m freestyle
1. Nathan Adrian (22.09)
2. Caeleb Dressel (22.13)
3. Michael Chadwick (22.22)
4. Michael Andrew (22.38)

100m freestyle
1. Nathan Adrian (48.18)
2. Michael Chadwick (48.69)

3. Blake Pieroni (49.18)
4. Caeleb Dressel (49.26)
5. Ryan Held (49.32)
6. Michael Jensen (49.35)
7. Justin Ress (49.48)
8. Ryan Murphy (49.60)

200m freestyle (1:47.73 A standard)
1. Blake Pieroni (1:48.14)
2. Zane Grothe (1:48.73)
3. Jay Litherland (1:49.28)
4. Patrick Callan (1:49.41)
5. Jack Conger (1:49.44)
6. Drew Kiebler (1:49.45)
7. Conor Dwyer (1:49.47)
8. Gunnar Bentz (1:49.54)

400m freestyle (3:48.15 A standard)
1. Zane Grothe (3:47.99)
2. Clark Smith (3:49.40)
3. Jay Litherland (3:50.96)
4. Andrew Abruzzo (3:51.01)

800m freestyle (7:54.31 A standard)
1. True Sweetser (8:01.44)
2. Zane Grothe (8:01.94)
3. Clark Smith (8:02.34)
4. Liam Egan (8:05.10)

1500m freestyle (15:12.79 A standard)
1. Andrew Abruzzo (15:13.95)
2. Zane Grothe (15:22.05)
3. True Sweetser (15:23.95)
4. Michael Brinegar (15:25.70)

100m backstroke
1. Matt Grevers (53.31)
2. Ryan Murphy (53.48)

3. Justin Ress (53.49)
4. Jacob Pebley (53.77)

200m backstroke
1. Jacob Pebley (1:55.56)
2. Ryan Murphy (1:55.82)
3. Sean Lehane (1:59.57)
4. Drew Kibler (2:00.22)

100m breaststroke
1. Cody Miller (1:00.30)
2. Kevin Cordes (1:00.43)
3. Andrew Wilson (1:00.45)
4. Nic Fink (1:00.70)

200m breaststroke
1. Josh Prenot (2:09.93)
2. Nic Fink (2:10.62)
3. Chase Kalisz (2:10.74)
2. Kevin Cordes (2:11.50)

100m butterfly
1. Tom Shields (52.09)
2. Jack Conger (52.24)
3. Caeleb Dressel (52.29)
4. Tripp Cooper (52.84)

200m butterfly
1. Chase Kalisz (1:55.82)
2. Pace Clark (1:56.75)

3. Tom Shields (1:58.05)
4. Jack Conger (1:58.44)

200m individual medley
1. Chase Kalisz (1:57.21)
2. Josh Prenot (1:58.93)
3. Michael Andrew (1:59.12)
4. Jay Litherland (2:00.48)

400m individual medley
1. Chase Kalisz (4:09.43)
2. Jay Litherland (4:13.79)
3. Josh Prenot (4:14.74)
4. Abrahm DeVine (4:17.57)

Women
50m freestyle

1. Simone Manuel (24.66)
2. Madison Kennedy (24.99)
3. Kelsi Worrell (25.11)
4. Lia Neal (25.12)

100m freestyle
1. Simone Manuel (53.66)
2. Mallory Comerford (53.91)
3. Lia Neal (54.38)
4. Amanda Weir (54.59)
5. Katie Ledecky (54.69)
6. Kelsi Worrell (54.84)
7. Abbey Weitzeil (55.05)
8. Courtney Caldwell (55.11)

200m freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (1:55.34)
2. Melanie Margalis (1:57.69)
3. Leah Smith (1:57.72)
4. Simone Manuel (1:57.87)
5. Mallory Comerford (1:58.54)
6. Katie Drabot (1:58.85)
7. Katie McLaughlin (1:59.11)
8. Hali Flickinger (1:59.20)

400m freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (4:00.98)
2. Leah Smith (4:05.62)
3. Katie Drabot (4:08.07)
4. Hali Flickinger (4:08.52)

800m freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (8:15.44)
2. Leah Smith (8:23.27)
3. Cierra Runge (8:29.27)
4. Ashley Twichell (8:30.19)

1500m freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (15:35.65)
2. Hannah Moore (16:22.96)

3. G Ryan (16:25.64)
4. Leah Stevens (16:36.13)

100m backstroke
1. Hannah Stevens (59.40)
2. Ali Deloof (59.43)
3. Regan Smith (59.74)
4. Olivia Smoliga (1:00.70)

200m backstroke
1. Regan Smith (2:09.79)
2. Asia Seidt (2:09.82)
3. Eva Merrell (2:10.22)
4. Hali Flickinger (2:10.56)

100m breaststroke
1. Katie Meili (1:05.95)
2. Lilly King (1:06.20)
3. Molly Hannis (1:06.47)
4. Breeja Larson (1:07.17)

200m breaststroke
1. Katie Meili (2:23.18)
2. Madisyn Cox (2:25.62)
3. Melanie Margalis (2:25.71)
4. Lilly King (2:25.90)

100m butterfly
1. Kelsi Worrell (57.44)
2. Amanda Kendall (58.27)
3. Kendyl Stewart (58.32)
4. Hellen Moffitt (58.59)

200m butterfly
1. Hali Flickinger (2:08.77)
2. Kelsi Worrell (2:09.04)
3. Cassidy Bayer (2:10.16)
4. Katie McLaughlin (2:10.35)

200m individual medley
1. Melanie Margalis (2:10.43)
2. Madisyn Cox (2:11.14)
3. Ella Eastin (2:14.04)
4. Alex Walsh (2:14.37)

400m individual medley
1. Katie Ledecky (4:38.16)
2. Madisyn Cox (4:39.07)
3. Elizabeth Beisel (4:40.00)
4. Melanie Margalis (4:40.47)

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Alysia Montano races pregnant again at USATF Outdoor Championships

Alysia Montano
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U.S. Olympic 800m runner Alysia Montaño raced four months pregnant in 110-degree heat at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday.

Montaño, who raced eight months pregnant at the 2014 USATF Outdoors also in Sacramento, finished last in her 800m first-round heat in 2:21.40. She was 10 seconds faster than her time three years ago.

In a Wonder Woman top, she gritted her teeth on the final straightaway and raised her arms crossing the finish line.

“[In 2014] women let me know that my journey and my story had inspired them in so many different ways,” Montaño told media in Sacramento, standing next to 2-year-old daughter Linnea. “I think there’s something about coming out to any venue, not really expecting to win, but just going along with the journey and seeing what comes out of it. And that’s the most beautiful part for me, being a track and field athlete, the platform that I have, I feel so responsible to be a representative for people who don’t have the same platform, don’t have the same voice that I do.

“I represent so many different people. I represent women. I represent black women. I represent pregnant women. … I think it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m a voice and advocate for them.”

Athletes are looking for top-three finishes to qualify for the world championships in London in August. Finals are later this weekend.

In the men’s 800m, two-time Olympian and 2013 World silver medalist Nick Symmonds was eliminated, 32nd-fastest of 33 runners in the first round.

Symmonds, in his final season, said he has one more race left — the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 10.

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Lilly King to be less vocal on Yuliya Efimova topic this summer

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Expect to see Lilly King and Yuliya Efimova resume their breaststroke rivalry at the world championships next month.

It will look very different than in Rio, when King became a vocal opponent of doping and directed some of her words at the formerly suspended Russian Efimova.

“This summer, I’m not going to talk about everything that happened last summer,” King said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “I spoke my piece. I’ve said everything I need to say.”

Her focus needs to stay in the pool, where she must finish first or second at the USA Swimming National Championships next week to make it to worlds (broadcast schedule here).

King said in May her goal is to break world records at worlds in Budapest in July.

She may need to in order to defeat Efimova like in Rio.

Efimova has the fastest 100m breast time in the world this year, a 1:04.82 set on Sunday. The national record put her No. 3 on the all-time list (and .09 faster than King’s winning time in Rio).

King is in third place this year at 1:06.20, though she spent all winter focusing on NCAA competition in 25-yard pools.

In Rio, King said Efimova shouldn’t have been allowed to compete given her doping history.

Efimova served a 16-month ban for testing positive for the banned steroid DHEA in 2013. She again tested positive in February 2016 for meldonium, though she said she stopped taking it before it became a banned substance Jan. 1, 2016, and was absolved along with other athletes.

King memorably finger-wagged at an image of Efimova on a TV in the ready room before her 100m breast semifinal and relegated the Russian to silver the following the night.

“You’ve been caught for drug cheating, I’m just not a fan,” King memorably said in Rio, adding last November, “[Doping] was on all of our minds. We had team meetings talking about what it was going to be like. We were going to be racing dopers, and we all knew it.”

King struggled with her newfound fame after she returned home last summer, sobbing in a winter meeting with her University of Indiana coach, Ray Looze, according to the Indianapolis Star:

It was so hard to do normal activities in her hometown – go to the grocery store or eat at a restaurant – that she considered wearing a wig to disguise herself. Her likeness was on a bingo card at a fall festival, so people purposely looked for her. When in Evansville now, she said, she looks at the ground so no one will recognize her. After an initial wave of attention on IU’s campus, she can walk around without interruption.

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