Katie Ledecky
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Katie Ledecky wins first individual NCAA title with American record in final teen race

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Katie Ledecky won her first individual NCAA title in typical Ledecky fashion, shattering one of her records in her last race as a teenager.

The Stanford freshman who turns 20 on Friday won the 500-yard freestyle in Indianapolis on Thursday in 4 minutes, 24.06 seconds. That lowered her previous American record time of 4:25.15 set at the Pac-12 Championships in February.

Ledecky holds the 11 fastest times in history in the 500-yard free, according to Swimswam.com. No other woman had broken 4:30 until Thursday, when Leah Smith took second in 4:28.90.

Full NCAA Championships results are here.

NCAA swimming is done in 25-yard pools versus 50-meters pools in major international meets.

Ledecky is now two for two at NCAAs after anchoring the Stanford women’s 4×200-yard freestyle relay team to an American record on Wednesday night.

Ledecky races two more individual events at NCAAs — the 200-yard free on Friday and the 1,650-yard free on Saturday.

The intriguing event is the 200-yard free, an event Ledecky has lost twice this season to Olympic champion teammate and fellow Stanford star Simone Manuel. Louisville sophomore Mallory Comerford, who is five months younger than Ledecky, outsplit Ledecky in the 4×200-yard free relay Wednesday, too.

Stanford is favored to take home its first NCAA women’s team title since 1998, when the Cardinal were led by another freshman — Misty Hyman, who would go on to win the 2000 Olympic 200m butterfly.

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Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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