How U.S. Olympic women’s swim team would look based on 2015 times

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Now that the year’s biggest swim meets are finished, there’s an opportunity to compare times and rank the fastest U.S. women’s swimmers per event.

The top two swimmers per event make the U.S. Olympic team at the trials next June and July, plus likely the top six from the 100m and 200m freestyles for relays.

Before getting to the rankings, two notes:

  • Katie Ledecky is the only U.S. woman ranked No. 1 in the world in an event, for the second straight year. Though Ledecky swept the 200m, 400m and 800m World titles (and the 1500m, but that’s not an Olympic event), she is fourth fastest in the world in the 200m in 2015. Ledecky is also ranked No. 42 in the world in the 100m free (ninth among Americans).
  • Natalie Coughlin, a 12-time Olympic medalist who made the London 2012 team only in the 4x100m freestyle relay, ranks No. 2 in the 50m free, No. 3 in the 100m free and No. 1 in the 100m back, ahead of Olympic champion Missy Franklin. If Coughlin makes the Rio team and wins one medal, she will break her tie with Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres for the most Olympic medals won by an American woman.

How U.S. Olympic men’s swim team would look based on 2015 times

Here are the rankings with world ranking in parentheses.

50m Freestyle
1. Simone Manuel — 24.47 (8)
2. Natalie Coughlin — 24.66 (14)

3. Madison Kennedy — 24.71 (15)
4. Amanda Weir — 24.85 (23)

100m Freestyle
1. Missy Franklin — 53.68 (9)
2. Simone Manuel — 53.81 (10)
3. Natalie Coughlin — 53.85 (14)
4. Margo Geer — 53.95 (19)
5. Amanda Weir — 54.24 (29)
6. Allison Schmitt — 54.34 (34)

200m Freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky — 1:55.16 (4)
2. Missy Franklin — 1:55.49 (5)
3. Allison Schmitt — 1:56.23 (10)
4. Leah Smith — 1:57.52 (25)
5. Katie McLaughlin — 1:57.55 (26)
6. Melanie Margalis — 1:57.91 (33)

400m Freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky — 3:59.13 (1)
2. Leah Smith — 4:04.66 (6)

3. Lindsay Vrooman — 4:07.28 (21)
4. Hali Flickinger — 4:07.93 (25)

800m Freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky — 8:07.39 (1)
2. Becca Mann — 8:24.13 (9)

3. Leah Smith — 8:24.74 (10)
4. Lindsay Vrooman — 8:26.67 (11)

100m Backstroke
1. Natalie Coughlin — 59.05 (6)
2. Missy Franklin — 59.40 (7)

3. Claire Adams — 59.58 (9)
4. Kathleen Baker — 59.63 (11)

200m Backstroke
1. Missy Franklin — 2:06.34 (3)
2. Maya DiRado — 2:08.50 (10)

3. Lisa Bratton — 2:09.31 (14)
4. Claire Adams — 2:09.44 (17)

100m Breaststroke
1. Katie Meili — 1:05.64 (3)
2. Jessica Hardy — 1:06.68 (7)

3. Lily King — 1:06.69 (8)
4. Breeja Larson — 1:07.33 (22)

200m Breaststroke
1. Micah Lawrence — 2:22.04 (4)
2. Laura Sogar — 2:23.54 (14)

3. Molly Hannis — 2:25.57 (27)
4. Annie Lazor — 2:26.23 (31)

100m Butterfly
1. Kelsi Worrell — 57.24 (3)
2. Katie McLaughlin — 57.87 (14)

3. Kendyl Stewart — 58.05 (17)
4. Felicia Lee — 58.54 (34)

200m Butterfly
1. Cammile Adams — 2:06.40 (5)
2. Katie McLaughlin — 2:06.95 (8)

3. Hali Flickinger — 2:07.59 (10)
4. Cassidy Bayer — 2:08.03 (17)

200m Individual Medley
1. Maya DiRado — 2:08.99 (4)
2. Melanie Margalis — 2:10.26 (7)

3. Caitlin Leverenz — 2:10.51 (8)
4. Madisyn Cox — 2:10.75 (9)

400m Individual Medley
1. Maya DiRado — 4:31.71 (2)
2. Caitlin Leverenz — 4:35.46 (6)

3. Elizabeth Beisel — 4:36.71 (11)
4. Sarah Henry — 4:38.88 (21)

How Katie Ledecky can be an underdog at the Rio Olympics

Chock, Bates charge to second U.S. title; Hubbell, Donohue charge the wrong way

Madison Hubbell, Zach Donohue
AP
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Evan Bates, who had just won his second U.S. ice dance title with partner Madison Chock, put it best.

“Ice dance is a strange sport in some ways,” he said.

Chock and Bates have had their share of unusual mishaps in their near 10-year career, but on Saturday night at the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, everything was smooth sailing.

The couple’s exotic “Egyptian Snake Dance” free dance went off without a hitch, gaining the highest possible levels for nearly all of its elements and impressing judges with its intricacy, synchronization and striking lifts. It earned 134.23 points, giving the Montreal-based team the win with 221.86.

“It was (our coach Marie-France Dubreuil’s) idea for me to be a snake, and Evan a traveler who finds me,” Chock said of the routine. “It was just such a fun process, cool new characters for us to dive into, and we’ve really been enjoying it. It shows when we skate.”

Greensboro has been lucky for the skaters, who teamed up in 2011; they won their first U.S. title here in 2015. The five-year title gap is the longest in history for U.S. ice dance champions.

“It feels longer than five years,” Chock said with a breezy laugh. “It feels so much has changed, and in us as people as well (as dancers). We’re in a very good place, we could not be happier with the way the season has been going.”

If Chock’s humor was lighthearted, Madison Hubbell’s can only be described grim.

Hubbell and her partner, Zach Donohue, trailed their long-time rivals and Montreal training partners by about 1.3 points following Friday’s rhythm dance. A stellar outing of their Star is Born free dance might have won a third consecutive U.S. title; instead, it became a living nightmare.

“Out of the first element, the dance spin, we got turned around somehow and came out the wrong direction,” Hubbell said. “The next four elements, which are pretty valuable elements, all were facing the wrong direction.”

(Video available here for NBC Sports Gold subscribers; Hubbell and Donohue skate at the 1:06:50 mark.)

Not until their fifth element, a step sequence, did the skaters get back on track. In between, there was a world of hurt, likely unnoticed by many members of the audience but readily apparent to the judges, who had seen the free dance in  practice.

“Our twizzle sequence, it’s a high-scoring element, is supposed to charge right at the judges, and today it charged away from them,” Hubbell said. “In the rotational life, there’s a large leg flare that looks very cool going the opposite direction, and today I just opened my crotch right in front of the judges.”

The score was far from disastrous; Hubbell and Donohue’s 130.88 points for their “wrong-way” free dance gave them 217.19 overall. But it was a missed opportunity to show judges, and fans, the improvements they had made to A Star Is Born since the Grand Prix Final in December.

“It was probably one of the hardest performances, and not the most enjoyable,” Hubbell said. “It was a really thoughtful focus on the elements, and somehow putting one portion of the brain aside to fix things as best we could.”

The silver medal was Hubbell and Donohue’s first. They also won bronze medals in 2012, and 2015-17.

Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, whose rhythm dance to Saturday Night Fever stole the show on Friday, felt their Flamenco-style free dance didn’t pack the same punch.

“Yesterday was such a high for us, in terms of (audience) reaction and performance, that tonight didn’t have the same euphoria when we finished,” Hawayek said. “Both Jean-Luc and I see the potential for it being much higher than what we were able to put out today.”

Despite the disappointment, the third team in the Montreal troika earned 118.57 points and won a second consecutive bronze medal with 201.16.

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Coco Gauff eliminated from Australian Open by Sofia Kenin

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Coco Gauff‘s run at the Australian Open ended in the round of 16, foiled by fellow American Sofia Kenin on Sunday.

Kenin ousted the 15-year-old phenom 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-0 to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Gauff, too, was bidding for her first major quarterfinal after a sterling seven months ignited by her march to the Wimbledon fourth round.

Gauff, ranked No. 684 this time last year, will near the top 50 after the Australian Open. She beat Venus Williams in the first round at Wimbledon and the Australian Open and took out defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka in the third round on Friday.

Gauff’s play catapulted her to fifth in U.S. Olympic singles qualifying, but she has half the points as fourth-place Madison Keys, and a country can’t qualify more than four players in singles. The Olympic field will be determined by the WTA rankings after the French Open in June.

The 14th seed Kenin, who beat Serena Williams in the 2019 French Open third round, ranks second behind Williams in U.S. Olympic qualifying. She will face No. 27 Wang Qiang or Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals.

Kenin and Alison Riske are the two remaining U.S. women in the draw.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

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