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

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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