Michael Phelps set for last race in U.S. water; Saturday finals preview

Michael Phelps
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Michael PhelpsKatie Ledecky and Missy Franklin finish their Olympic Trials on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports app).

Phelps goes for his third win of the Olympic Trials in the 100m butterfly. The 22-time Olympic medalist is already on the Rio team in the 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley.

Ledecky also eyes her third victory in Omaha. She swims the event she won in London, the 800m freestyle. Ledecky previous prevailed in the 200m and 400m freestyles this week.

And Franklin races her signature event, the 200m backstroke. Franklin endured a difficult week to get here and can notch her first victory of Trials. She’s already on the team after finishing second to Ledecky in the 200m freestyle but failed to make the team in the 100m free and 100m backstroke, both of which she swam in London.

SWIM TRIALS: Video | Results | Broadcast Schedule

An event-by-event preview of Saturday’s semifinals and finals:

Women’s 200m Backstroke Final
Franklin, the Olympic champion and world-record holder, qualified second-fastest into this final. The top qualifier is Maya DiRado, who already swept the individual medleys this week and can become not only the first swimmer to make the Rio Olympic team in three individual events, but also the first one to win three individual events at Trials. DiRado was .49 faster than Franklin in the semifinals. Nobody else was within one second of Franklin, giving her some breathing room to finish top two and make the Rio team.

Men’s 100m Butterfly Final
Phelps was sixth-fastest in the preliminary heats and the semifinals, but remember his time from the 2015 U.S. Championships was the fastest in the world since 2009. Phelps is a three-time Olympic champion in this event. It would be a shock if he isn’t in the top two here. The top six swimmers in the semifinals were separated by .57 of a second, and with Phelps known for coming from behind, it should be an exciting final 50 meters.

Women’s 800m Freestyle Final
This race will not be nearly as close. Ledecky had the fastest time in prelims by 10.73 seconds and now owns the 10 fastest 800m free swims of all time. Leah Smith, runner-up to Ledecky in the 400m free earlier at Trials, is the solid favorite to join Ledecky on the Olympic team here. She was 7.32 seconds faster than the No. 3 qualifier into the final.

Men’s 50m Freestyle Final
The top four qualifiers into the final were all born in the 1980s, including the oldest male swimmer at Trials — 35-year-old Anthony Ervin. Ervin tied for the gold medal in this event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He qualified fastest into this final, ahead of world silver medalist Nathan Adrian and Olympic silver medalist Cullen Jones. While Adrian and Ervin already made the Rio team by finishing first and fourth in the 100m free, this is Jones’ last shot to qualify for his third Games.

Women’s 50m Freestyle Semifinals
Madison Kennedy
, who like Jones is down to her final chance at making the Rio team, was the fastest qualifier in 24.52 seconds Saturday morning. She was followed by two women already on the Olympic team in the 100m free, Simone Manuel (24.57) and Abbey Weitzeil (24.58). Nobody else broke 24.90, but the top eight between the two semis make Sunday’s final.

MORE: Olympic Swimming Trials broadcast schedule

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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