Katie Ledecky swims world’s fastest 200m freestyle of 2018 (video)

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About 12 hours after announcing her first sponsorKatie Ledecky was back in the pool, doing what she does best — swimming fast times.

The five-time Olympic champion recorded the fastest 200m freestyle in the world this year — and third-fastest 200m free of her career — at a Pro Series meet in Santa Clara on Friday night.

She clocked 1:54.56 to win the race by 3.44 seconds over Melanie Margalis, who was part of the 2016 Olympic 4x200m free relay with Ledecky. Full meet results are here.

“That’s exactly where I was hoping to be,” Ledecky said, according to USA Swimming. “I’m aware of the fastest times in the world.”

Ledecky displaced 18-year-old Canadian Taylor Ruck for the No. 1 ranking this year. Ruck won the Commonwealth Games in 1:54.81.

Ledecky’s time Friday also would have won the 2017 World title. This was the one individual event Ledecky did not win at worlds, sharing silver behind Federica Pellegrini, who clocked 1:54.73.

Also Friday, 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte competed in a Pro Series meet for the first time since the Olympics and his 10-month suspension for the Rio gas-station incident.

The 33-year-old finished sixth in the 200m backstroke, 4.76 seconds behind winner Ryan Murphy (1:56.06), who swept the backstrokes in Rio.

“I started a new career in January, so this is my new swimming career,” said Lochte, whose son, Caiden, turned 1 on Friday. Lochte moved from California back to Florida in the fall, returning to train under Gregg Troy, who guided him to become the world’s best swimmer nine years ago.

The Santa Clara meet continues Saturday, with Ledecky scheduled to swim the 100m and 800m freestyles. Olympic Channel has live coverage at 8 p.m. ET, also streaming for subscribers on OlympicChannel.com, the Olympic Channel app, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Swimmers are preparing for the U.S. Championships in late July, a qualifying meet for the Pan Pacific Championships in August and the 2019 World Championships.

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MORE: Missy Franklin enters first swim meet since Rio Olympics

Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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MORE: World Single Distances Championships broadcast schedule

Christian Coleman wins 60m at USATF Indoor Champs in history’s second-fastest time

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Christian Coleman overcame an average start to nearly break his 60m world record at the USATF Indoor Championships, a signal that the Olympic 100m favorite is in form to start the season.

Coleman clocked 6.37 seconds, matching the second-fastest time in history behind his world record 6.34 from 2018.

“I thought I had a shot at the record,” Coleman, the 2019 World 100m champion, told Lewis Johnson on NBC. “We haven’t done a whole lot of speed work [in training], so I’m pretty satisfied.”

Coleman now has the four fastest 60m times in history. He beat a field at nationals in Albuquerque that did not include Olympic 100m contenders Noah Lyles and Justin Gatlin, who did not race the indoor season.

Nationals mark the last major meet of the indoor season, given the world indoor championships were postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak in host China.

USATF Indoors: Results

In other events Saturday, Olympic champion Ryan Crouser launched the second-farthest indoor shot put in history — 22.60 meters. It was six centimeters shy of American Randy Barnes‘ world record from 1989.

Shelby Houlihan earned her 13th national title and her second in as many days. Houlihan, fourth in the 2019 Worlds 1500m, followed Friday’s 3000m title by pulling away in Saturday’s 1500m in 4:06.41.

Olympic steeplechaser Colleen Quigley was second, 1.89 seconds behind. Elle Purrier, who last Saturday ran the second-fastest indoor mile in history, withdrew before the race.

Sandi Morris beat Jenn Suhr in a battle of the 2016 Olympic silver medalist and 2012 Olympic champion in the pole vault. Morris cleared 4.90 meters, where Suhr failed at three attempts.

World bronze medalist Vashti Cunningham earned her fifth straight U.S. indoor high jump title.

MORE: Full list of U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

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