Katie Ledecky, Chase Kalisz top U.S. swim rankings as nationals near

Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel
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The U.S. Championships in three weeks will herald a changing of the guard in many events.

Katie Ledecky is the only active member of the Big Four. Michael Phelps is retired, Ryan Lochte is suspended and Missy Franklin is out of competition indefinitely after shoulder surgeries.

Ledecky continued her dominance as the headliner of this spring’s Pro Series meets, impressive coming off a long freshman season at Stanford.

Now that the six-event series is finished, the 2017 U.S. rankings have come into view going into nationals, where the top two per individual event qualify for the world championships in Budapest in July. The top six in the 100m and 200m frees will likely qualify for relays.

The rankings for Olympic events (plus the men’s 800m free and women’s 1500m free) are below, but first some notes:

  • Ledecky is again No. 1 by a comfortable margin in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles. She’s likely to repeat her 2015 World Championships slate, where she became the first swimmer to sweep those four races at a single worlds. She could also go for the 4x100m and 4x200m free relays, which would mean a possible six gold medals to tie Franklin’s record from 2013. Though Ledecky ranks No. 1 in the U.S. in the 400m individual medley by nearly one second, she’s not expected to race it at nationals.
  • Ledecky’s world-record times from the last two years in the 800m and 1500m frees would rank No. 4 on the U.S. men’s 800m and 1500m free lists for 2017. The U.S. has zero men who have met the A standard in either event, which means it will only be able to send one entry per event if nobody hits the standard at trials.
  • In the absence of Phelps and Lochte, Chase Kalisz emerged as the U.S.’ best all-around swimmer. The Olympic 400m IM silver medalist leads the rankings in both IMs, plus the 200m butterfly.
  • Ryan Murphy, who swept the backstrokes in Rio, will likely go into nationals ranked second in both events.
  • Anthony Ervin, who won Rio Olympic 50m free gold at age 35, ranks No. 16 in the U.S. this year.

Men
50m freestyle
1. Nathan Adrian (22.09)
2. Caeleb Dressel (22.13)
3. Michael Chadwick (22.22)
4. Michael Andrew (22.38)

100m freestyle
1. Nathan Adrian (48.18)
2. Michael Chadwick (48.69)

3. Blake Pieroni (49.18)
4. Caeleb Dressel (49.26)
5. Ryan Held (49.32)
6. Michael Jensen (49.35)
7. Justin Ress (49.48)
8. Ryan Murphy (49.60)

200m freestyle (1:47.73 A standard)
1. Blake Pieroni (1:48.14)
2. Zane Grothe (1:48.73)
3. Jay Litherland (1:49.28)
4. Patrick Callan (1:49.41)
5. Jack Conger (1:49.44)
6. Drew Kiebler (1:49.45)
7. Conor Dwyer (1:49.47)
8. Gunnar Bentz (1:49.54)

400m freestyle (3:48.15 A standard)
1. Zane Grothe (3:47.99)
2. Clark Smith (3:49.40)
3. Jay Litherland (3:50.96)
4. Andrew Abruzzo (3:51.01)

800m freestyle (7:54.31 A standard)
1. True Sweetser (8:01.44)
2. Zane Grothe (8:01.94)
3. Clark Smith (8:02.34)
4. Liam Egan (8:05.10)

1500m freestyle (15:12.79 A standard)
1. Andrew Abruzzo (15:13.95)
2. Zane Grothe (15:22.05)
3. True Sweetser (15:23.95)
4. Michael Brinegar (15:25.70)

100m backstroke
1. Matt Grevers (53.31)
2. Ryan Murphy (53.48)

3. Justin Ress (53.49)
4. Jacob Pebley (53.77)

200m backstroke
1. Jacob Pebley (1:55.56)
2. Ryan Murphy (1:55.82)
3. Sean Lehane (1:59.57)
4. Drew Kibler (2:00.22)

100m breaststroke
1. Cody Miller (1:00.30)
2. Kevin Cordes (1:00.43)
3. Andrew Wilson (1:00.45)
4. Nic Fink (1:00.70)

200m breaststroke
1. Josh Prenot (2:09.93)
2. Nic Fink (2:10.62)
3. Chase Kalisz (2:10.74)
2. Kevin Cordes (2:11.50)

100m butterfly
1. Tom Shields (52.09)
2. Jack Conger (52.24)
3. Caeleb Dressel (52.29)
4. Tripp Cooper (52.84)

200m butterfly
1. Chase Kalisz (1:55.82)
2. Pace Clark (1:56.75)

3. Tom Shields (1:58.05)
4. Jack Conger (1:58.44)

200m individual medley
1. Chase Kalisz (1:57.21)
2. Josh Prenot (1:58.93)
3. Michael Andrew (1:59.12)
4. Jay Litherland (2:00.48)

400m individual medley
1. Chase Kalisz (4:09.43)
2. Jay Litherland (4:13.79)
3. Josh Prenot (4:14.74)
4. Abrahm DeVine (4:17.57)

Women
50m freestyle

1. Simone Manuel (24.66)
2. Madison Kennedy (24.99)
3. Kelsi Worrell (25.11)
4. Lia Neal (25.12)

100m freestyle
1. Simone Manuel (53.66)
2. Mallory Comerford (53.91)
3. Lia Neal (54.38)
4. Amanda Weir (54.59)
5. Katie Ledecky (54.69)
6. Kelsi Worrell (54.84)
7. Abbey Weitzeil (55.05)
8. Courtney Caldwell (55.11)

200m freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (1:55.34)
2. Melanie Margalis (1:57.69)
3. Leah Smith (1:57.72)
4. Simone Manuel (1:57.87)
5. Mallory Comerford (1:58.54)
6. Katie Drabot (1:58.85)
7. Katie McLaughlin (1:59.11)
8. Hali Flickinger (1:59.20)

400m freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (4:00.98)
2. Leah Smith (4:05.62)
3. Katie Drabot (4:08.07)
4. Hali Flickinger (4:08.52)

800m freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (8:15.44)
2. Leah Smith (8:23.27)
3. Cierra Runge (8:29.27)
4. Ashley Twichell (8:30.19)

1500m freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (15:35.65)
2. Hannah Moore (16:22.96)

3. G Ryan (16:25.64)
4. Leah Stevens (16:36.13)

100m backstroke
1. Hannah Stevens (59.40)
2. Ali Deloof (59.43)
3. Regan Smith (59.74)
4. Olivia Smoliga (1:00.70)

200m backstroke
1. Regan Smith (2:09.79)
2. Asia Seidt (2:09.82)
3. Eva Merrell (2:10.22)
4. Hali Flickinger (2:10.56)

100m breaststroke
1. Katie Meili (1:05.95)
2. Lilly King (1:06.20)
3. Molly Hannis (1:06.47)
4. Breeja Larson (1:07.17)

200m breaststroke
1. Katie Meili (2:23.18)
2. Madisyn Cox (2:25.62)
3. Melanie Margalis (2:25.71)
4. Lilly King (2:25.90)

100m butterfly
1. Kelsi Worrell (57.44)
2. Amanda Kendall (58.27)
3. Kendyl Stewart (58.32)
4. Hellen Moffitt (58.59)

200m butterfly
1. Hali Flickinger (2:08.77)
2. Kelsi Worrell (2:09.04)
3. Cassidy Bayer (2:10.16)
4. Katie McLaughlin (2:10.35)

200m individual medley
1. Melanie Margalis (2:10.43)
2. Madisyn Cox (2:11.14)
3. Ella Eastin (2:14.04)
4. Alex Walsh (2:14.37)

400m individual medley
1. Katie Ledecky (4:38.16)
2. Madisyn Cox (4:39.07)
3. Elizabeth Beisel (4:40.00)
4. Melanie Margalis (4:40.47)

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Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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