Chase Kalisz continues impressive weekend with world-leading time

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In the last two nights, Chase Kalisz set a personal best in the 200m breaststroke and posted the fastest time in the world this year in the 400m individual medley in Atlanta.

Kalisz, the Olympic 400m IM silver medalist, is setting up well for the U.S. Championships next month and the world championships in Budapest in July.

On Friday, Kalisz won the 200m breast in 2:10.74, lowering his personal best in the event at a second straight meet. Kalisz came into the year with a 200m breast best of 2:12.43 from 2014.

Kalisz rarely races the 200m breast and might not contest it at nationals, where the top two per event qualify for worlds. Kalisz now ranks third in the U.S. in the 200m breast this year.

“My endurance is kind of getting back to where I want to be,” Kalisz, coming off his senior season at the University of Georgia, told media Friday night. “Last year, I was consistent almost every single day, and I’m finally back to that level.”

Kalisz came back Saturday and won the 400m IM in 4:09.43, the best time in the world this year by .58 of a second. The 400m IM is his signature event. Kalisz is looking to duel Japan’s Kosuke Hagino and Daiya Seto, the Olympic gold and bronze medalists, and Hungarian Dávid Verrasztó at worlds.

Kalisz’s time Saturday was his fastest-ever outside of a major international meet or a U.S. Championships by 1.58 seconds.

Also Saturday, Katie Ledecky won for the second straight night.

The four-time Rio Olympic champion took the 200m freestyle in 1:56.26 after dominating the 400m free on Friday.

Ledecky was 1.44 seconds slower in the 200m free than at this same meet last year but also said she was “racing a little bit tired” due to recent hard training. She ranks No. 4 in the world in the 200m free this year, while leading the 400m and 800m free rankings.

Simone Manuel, the co-Olympic 100m free champion, followed her 100m free win from Friday by taking the 50m free on Saturday. Manuel clocked 24.73 seconds, not her best time this year, but still broke the pool record set by Amy Van Dyken at the 1996 Olympics.

Ryan Murphy, who swept the backstrokes in Rio, won the 200m back Saturday in 1:55.82, dousing Rio Olympic finalists Jacob Pebley (1:56.43) and Ryosuke Irie (1:57.85). Murphy ranks third in the world in the 200m back this year.

The meet concludes Sunday, with finals streamed on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app from 7-8:30 p.m. ET.

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Asher Hong leads U.S. men’s gymnastics world team selection camp after first day

Asher Hong
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Asher Hong, 18, posted the highest all-around score on the first of two days of competition at the U.S. men’s gymnastics selection camp to determine the last three spots on the team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Hong, bidding to become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009, totaled 84.6 points in Colorado Springs. He edged Colt Walker by one tenth. Tokyo Olympians Shane Wiskus (84.15) and Yul Moldauer (83.95) were next. Full apparatus-by-apparatus scores are here.

Brody Malone, who repeated as U.S. all-around champion at August’s national championships, and runner-up Donnell Whittenburg already clinched spots on the five-man team for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. They did not compete Monday, though their results from the first day of nationals are shown in the official scores.

The three remaining team spots will not necessarily go to the top three all-arounders at this week’s camp, which is supposed to be weighed equally with results from August’s nationals. Hong was third at nationals, but if excluding difficulty bonus points from that meet that will not be considered by the committee, would have finished behind Walker and Moldauer in August.

A selection committee is expected to announce the team soon after the second and final day of selection camp competition on Wednesday evening. The committee will look at overall scoring potential for the world team final, where three men go per apparatus, and medal potential in individual events.

Stephen Nedoroscik, who last year became the first American to win a world title on the pommel horse, is trying to make the team solely on that apparatus. He wasn’t at his best at nationals and struggled again on Monday, hurting his chances of displacing an all-arounder for one of the last three spots.

The U.S. has reason to emphasize the team event over individual medals at this year’s worlds. It will clinch an Olympic berth by finishing in the top three, and its medal hopes are boosted by the absence of the Russians who won the Olympic team title. All gymnasts from Belarus and Russia are banned indefinitely from international competition due to the war in Ukraine.

In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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