Katie Ledecky sets table for unprecedented world championships

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Katie Ledecky passed every test at nationals. Now, she has the option of taking on her biggest workload ever at a major meet.

Ledecky won her last race, the 400m freestyle, at the USA Swimming Nationals, part of the TeamUSA Summer Champions Series, presented by Comcast, in Indianapolis on Friday night.

Ledecky clocked 3:58.44, the third-fastest time ever, 5.33 seconds ahead of runner-up Leah Smith. Ledecky has gone sub-4 a total of 10 times in her career. Only one other woman has done it once — former world-record holder Federica Pellegrini of Italy.

In other events Friday, Lilly King completed a sweep of the breaststrokes by winning the 100m in 1:04.95. The time was .02 off her Olympic-winning swim and .13 off Russian rival Yuliya Efimova‘s fastest in the world this year.

Olympian Kevin Cordes broke Cody Miller‘s American record in the men’s 100m breast, clocking 58.74. Miller was second to make the world team after taking Olympic bronze. The event is dominated by Brit Adam Peaty, who owns the world record of 57.13 and the eight fastest times ever.

Matt Grevers won the men’s 100m backstroke, one year after failing to make the Rio team and defend his London gold medal. He was followed by Rio gold medalist Ryan Murphy. Olympic silver medalist Kathleen Baker took the women’s 100m back.

In the men’s 400m free, Zane Grothe and Clark Smith went one-two after finishing fourth and fifth at the Olympic Trials.

SWIM NATIONALS: Broadcast Schedule | Event Schedule/Results

This week, Ledecky qualified for July’s world championships in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees and as part of the 4x100m and 4x200m free relay pools. She could tie Missy Franklin‘s female record six golds at a single worlds from 2013.

Ledecky will swim 6,300 meters in seven days at worlds in Budapest if she makes the final in all of those individual events and swims once in each relay.

With the addition of the 4x100m free, it would be 100 more meters than she swam at the 2015 Worlds, where she completed the Ledecky Slam by winning five gold medals.

In Rio, Ledecky swam 3,400 meters and won four golds and one silver. The women’s 1500m free was not on the Olympic program. Michael Phelps swam 3,300 meters when he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games.

None of the other great recent distance swimmers — Grant HackettSun Yang and Kate Ziegler among them — swam 6,300 meters at a major meet.

Smith has qualified for worlds in the 200m, 400m and 800m frees and in the 400m individual medley with a 1500m free spot available at nationals Saturday, should she enter the race and win it.

Ledecky’s potential schedule at worlds in Budapest:

Day 1 — July 23
400m freestyle heats (morning)
400m freestyle final (night)
4x100m freestyle final (night)

Day 2 — July 24
1500m freestyle heats (morning)

Day 3 — July 25
200m freestyle heats (morning)
200m freestyle semifinals (night)
1500m freestyle final (night)

Day 4 — July 26
200m freestyle final (night)

Day 5 — July 27
4x200m freestyle (night)

Day 6 — July 28
800m freestyle heats (morning)

Day 7 — July 29
800m freestyle final (evening)

Day 8 — July 30 (last day)
Rest

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Chris Froome can clinch Tour de France title No. 4 in time trial

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Chris Froome moved one step closer to his fourth Tour de France title by finishing in the same time as his rivals in the 19th of 21 stages on Friday.

Now, Froome focuses on a 14-mile time trial in Marseille on Saturday, where he is heavily favored to defend his 23-second lead over Frenchman Romain Bardet and 29-second advantage on Colombian Rigoberto Uran.

Sunday’s finale — the ride into Paris — is traditionally not a day for attacking the yellow jersey.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold coverage starts at 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday.

On Friday, Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen won his first Tour stage in six years on the three-week event’s longest day (138 miles). Boasson Hagen pulled away from an eight-rider group in the last two miles and crossed five seconds ahead of German Nikias Arndt.

Froome, Bardet and Uran were in the large group finishing about 10 minutes later.

TOUR: Results/Standings | Highlights | Broadcast Schedule

Froome, 32, is trying to move within one Tour title of the career record of five shared by Jacques AnquetilEddy MerckxBernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

Froome has been the anchor of cycling’s most powerful team — Team Sky — for five seasons now. Every time the rail-thin Brit has reached the Champs-Élysées in that time, he has been wearing the yellow jersey. The only miss was when he abandoned on Stage 5 in 2014 after crashing three times in two days.

Bardet, 26, was runner-up to Froome in last year’s Tour by 4:05. No Frenchman has won the Tour since Hinault in 1985 — the host nation’s longest victory drought.

Uran, 30 and the 2012 Olympic road race silver medalist, is trying to become the first South American to win the Tour.

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WATCH LIVE: Usain Bolt in final race before world championships

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Usain Bolt races for the last time before his farewell world championships, live during NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold‘s coverage of a Diamond League meet in Monaco on Friday starting at 2 p.m. ET.

Bolt will put his four-year winning streak on the line in a 100m race against his toughest field since the Rio Olympics.

The race start is set for 3:35 p.m. A meet preview is here.

The Jamaican will retire after racing the 100m and 4x100m worlds in London in August, with Monaco being his only other meet left this season.

WATCH LIVE: Usain Bolt races in Monaco — 2 p.m. ET

There are doubts about Bolt’s form with worlds in two weeks. He failed to break 10 seconds in his first two races this season in June before seeing his German doctor to work on his chronically balky back.

Fortunately for Bolt, nobody else is performing that well this season, either. None of his top rivals in recent years — Yohan BlakeAndre De Grasse and Justin Gatlin — have broken 9.90 seconds this season.

The Monaco field includes two of the five fastest men in the world this year — South African Akani Simbine and American Chris Belcher — and four men overall who have broken 10 seconds in 2017.

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