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Dana Vollmer races at swim meet, 26 weeks pregnant

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Seven-time Olympic medalist Dana Vollmer lined up on the starting block 26 weeks pregnant at a USA Swimming meet in Mesa, Ariz., on Friday.

Vollmer raced the 50m freestyle and finished seventh out of seven swimmers in her heat, clocking 27.51 seconds. Her time was 55th out of 83 swimmers overall. Vollmer chose the 50m free as her only race of the meet because she didn’t have to make a flip turn.

“Time didn’t matter,” Vollmer told media in Mesa. “Places didn’t matter. I’ve loved being here. I loved seeing all my teammates, all the people from Rio.”

Vollmer hopes to train through as much of her pregnancy as possible, planning to come back after giving birth to her second boy for a run for her fourth Olympic team in 2020.

She isn’t the first U.S. Olympian to compete this deep into pregnancy. Most notably, 800m runner Alysia Montaño raced while 34 weeks pregnant at the 2014 U.S. Championships.

“Putting the health of the baby first doesn’t mean just sitting on the couch,” Vollmer said. “It’s better for the baby, and it’s better for me to stay active, to stay strong going into labor.”

NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will stream Mesa finals sessions at 8 p.m. ET on Friday and Saturday. NBCSN will air coverage at 1 a.m. ET on Saturday.

Vollmer said last fall, before she announced her pregnancy, that she hoped to train and compete while pregnant with her second child in 2017.

Vollmer, who is due in July, took 23 months off from competition in 2013, 2014 and 2015, giving birth to baby boy Arlen on March 6, 2015. A year later, she won a medal of every color at the Rio Olympics.

Vollmer wants to spend far less time out of the pool in this pregnancy.

“I’m trying to go into this one staying way more active, staying as strong as I can,” she said. “Trying to go about it to where I’m in the best shape I can be going into labor, and then hopefully after that, it’ll definitely help. I feel like, if I took two years off and was able to come back and make Rio in a year, then I’m glad that I’ll have way more time this next time heading into Tokyo.”

Vollmer’s goal is to return to competition for the U.S. Winter Nationals in December.

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MORE: Katie Ledecky maps out world champs schedule

Katie Ledecky swims fastest at U.S. Open from B final

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For what must have been the first time in seven years, Katie Ledecky failed to qualify for an A final in one of her primary events on Friday morning. No matter, she swam the fastest 200m freestyle at the U.S. Open from the B final at night.

Ledecky, owner of 20 combined Olympic and world titles, clocked 1:56.24 to win the B final by nearly three seconds in Atlanta. In the very next race, American record holder Allison Schmitt touched first in the A final in 1:56.47.

Full results are here. The final day of the meet airs live on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Ledecky has rarely lost domestically in freestyles from 200m through 1500m since she made her first Olympic team at age 15 in 2012.

She kept the streak intact, giving her a sweep of the 200m, 400m and 800m frees in the first three days of the U.S. Open, what could be the deepest domestic meet before the Olympic trials in June.

Internationally, Ledecky faced challengers in the 200m free in this Olympic cycle, unlike the last one. Italian veteran and world-record holder Federica Pellegrini won the last two world titles, with Ledecky missing the event this summer due to her mid-meet illness.

Ledecky ranks seventh in the world in the 200m free this year but likely would have been faster if she was able to race at her best at world champs.

Domestically, Simone Manuel has crept up, clocking 1:56.09 to lead off the 4x200m free relay at worlds to rank second among Americans in 2019. Manuel was the third-fastest American on Friday, recording 1:57.21, her fastest time ever outside of a major summer meet.

In other events Friday, Phoebe Bacon upset world-record holder Regan Smith in the 100m backstroke. Bacon, who like Smith is 17 years old, overtook Smith in the last 25 meters and prevailed by .05 in 58.63. Bacon, while shy of Smith’s world record 57.57, took .39 off her personal best to become the fifth-fastest in the world this year.

Olympic and world champion Lilly King dominated the 100m breaststroke, beating a strong field by .62 of a second in 1:05.65.

Chase Kalisz won a potential Olympic trials preview in the 400m individual medley in 4:13.07. Kalisz, the Rio silver medalist, held off 18-year-old Carson Foster by 1.69 seconds. Ryan Lochte, the 2012 Olympic champion in the event, was fifth, 6.65 seconds behind.

Rio Olympian Townley Haas won the men’s 200m free in 1:45.92, his fastest time since August 2018. Haas, the 2017 World silver medalist, improved to the second-fastest American in the event this year behind Andrew Seliskar.

Torri Huske won the 100m butterfly on the eve of her 17th birthday. Huske clocked 57.48, taking .23 off her personal best to move from sixth fastest to third fastest in the U.S. this year.

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Ester Ledecka stuns again, wins World Cup downhill from bib No. 26

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Consider 26 a lucky number for Ester Ledecka.

Ledecka, the snowboard champion who stunningly captured the PyeongChang Olympic super-G from bib No. 26, won her first World Cup ski race on Friday — also from bib No. 26.

Ledecka was fastest in a downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta.

She kept Swiss Corinne Suter from her first World Cup win by .35 of a second. Austrian Stephanie Venier was third. Mikaela Shiffrin was 10th in her weakest discipline. Full results are here.

“I am for sure more shocked than everybody here,” Ledecka said. “I was a little bit, not disappointed about the run, but I was not super satisfied. Then I was really surprised about the time.”

Ledecka, an Olympic and world champion in Alpine snowboarding from the Czech Republic, had a previous best Alpine skiing World Cup finish of seventh. The top-ranked racers all go in the top 20 of the start list.

Last season, Ledecka raced more World Cup skiing events than snowboarding events for the first time. She was forced to choose between world championships in skiing and in snowboarding due to schedules and picked the former with a top finish of 15th.

She’s undecided about her upcoming schedule. She could continue on the Alpine skiing tour with a super-G in Switzerland next weekend, or she could fly to Italy for a snowboarding event.

The women race another downhill and a super-G in Lake Louise the next two days. A full TV and live stream schedule for the weekend races is here.

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