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Katie Ledecky tops U.S. rankings in race she plans to skip this summer

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Katie Ledecky is the fastest U.S. woman in the 400m individual medley this year. Katie Ledecky does not plan to race the 400m individual medley at the world championships in July.

In yet another incredible feat, Ledecky finished second in the 400m IM at a meet in Mesa, Ariz., on Friday, took a 24-minute break and then won the 200m freestyle.

In the 400m IM, Ledecky clocked 4:38.16, getting edged by Canadian Mary-Sophie Harvey by .11 of a second.

Ledecky ranks No. 7 in the world in the 400m IM this year and first among Americans by a whopping 2.21 seconds. Last year, Ledecky ranked No. 5 in the U.S. in the 400m IM but never raced it fully tapered or at the Olympic Trials.

It is very early in the season. Swimmers are training not to peak in Mesa but at the U.S. Championships in two months, but Ledecky has certainly proven her prowess extends beyond the freestyle events.

Ledecky has never swum an event other than a freestyle at a U.S. Championships. She said in interviews Thursday and Friday that the 400m IM is not on her radar for this summer.

“I’m not really planning to [race it internationally], at least at this point,” Ledecky said on NBCSN. “That was mainly just to get some really tough racing in.”

Ledecky chose to race the 400m IM on Friday because she wanted to challenge herself with two finals in one session. She needed a race to complement her 200m freestyle.

Ledecky is planning to race a 1500m free and a 200m free in the same session at worlds in July, but the 1500m free wasn’t on the program in Mesa. So she went with the 400m IM, a similarly grueling event.

“It’s a pain like no other,” Ledecky said Friday.

Ledecky had the second-fastest butterfly split in the 400m IM and the fastest backstroke split. Her breaststroke was weak, seventh-fastest in the eight-woman field.

But she closed with a 100m freestyle split that was the fastest of the A finals in Mesa — including the women’s and men’s races.

Ledecky is set to race the 200m individual medley and the 800m freestyle to close the Mesa meet on Saturday. NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will air finals coverage at 8 p.m. ET.

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Danielle Perkins is first U.S. boxer to win world title in 3 years

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Danielle Perkins became the U.S.’ first world champion boxer in this Olympic cycle, taking the heavyweight crown in Russia on Sunday.

Perkins, a 37-year-old who played college basketball at George Mason and St. John’s, improved from bronze in 2018 to earn her first world title, blanking defending world champion Yang Xiaoli of China 5-0 in Sunday’s final.

Video of the bout is here.

Perkins was slated to fight Yang in the 2018 World semifinals but withdrew due to medical reasons, according to USA Boxing.

The heavyweight division is 81+kg, but the heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

The last American to earn a world title was Claressa Shields in 2016, before she repeated as Olympic champion in Rio and moved to the professional ranks.

The Olympic trials are in December in Louisiana, after which winners will fight internationally in early 2020 in bids to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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MORE: IOC strips Olympic status from boxing body AIBA

Brigid Kosgei shatters marathon world record in Chicago

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Kenyan Brigid Kosgei shattered a 16-year-old world record in the women’s marathon by 81 seconds, winning the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04 on Sunday.

Brit Paula Radcliffe had held the record of 2:15:25 set at the 2003 London Marathon. Kenyan Mary Keitany holds the female-only record of 2:17:01 from the 2017 London Marathon. Both Kosgei and Radcliffe, the only women to break 2:17, ran with men in their record races.

Radcliffe’s record was the longest-standing for the men’s or women’s marathon of the last 50 years.

Kosgei did it one day after Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a sub-two-hour marathon in a non-record-eligible event in Vienna. She won by a gaping 6 minutes, 47 seconds over Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh.

Kosgei, who won Chicago in 2018 and the London Marathon in April, came in highly favored. The 25-year-old tuned up with the fastest half-marathon ever by a woman (by 23 seconds) on Sept. 8 on a non-record-eligible course.

“2:10 is possible for a lady,” Kosgei said after Sunday’s record.

Jordan Hasay, the top U.S. woman in the field, stopped after feeling a sharp hamstring strain after two miles. Hasay, who was coached by Alberto Salazar before his ban in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency case, is one of several women in contention for the three Olympic spots at the Feb. 29 trials in Atlanta.

Kenyan Lawrence Cherono won the men’s race by one second over Ethiopian Dejene Debela in 2:05:45.

The U.S.’ top marathoner, Galen Rupp, dropped out around mile 23 after straining a calf around the sixth mile. Rupp, who was also coached by Salazar, was racing for the first time since the 2018 Chicago Marathon and Achilles surgery.

Mo Farah, the defending champion and four-time Olympic track gold medalist, finished eighth in 2:09:58. He also dropped from the leaders before the halfway point.

American Daniel Romanchuk and Swiss Manuela Schar won the wheelchair races.

Romanchuk, 21, repeated as champion. He has also won Boston London and New York City in the last year. Schar distanced decorated American Tatyana McFadden by 4:14, though McFadden did qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics with her runner-up finish (as did Romanchuk).

The fall major marathon season concludes with the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, featuring defending champions Mary Keitany and Lelisa Desisa and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden.

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MORE: Chicago Marathon results