Dana Vollmer swims first final since having second baby

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Dana Vollmer finished fourth in her first final since the Rio Olympics and her second childbirth, swimming her trademark 100m butterfly at the winter nationals in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday night.

Vollmer, a 31-year-old, five-time Olympic champion, clocked 59.38 seconds to finish 1.58 seconds behind winner Amanda Kendall.

Vollmer returned from having son Arlen in March 2015 to make her third Olympic team in Rio. She’s now going for a fourth Olympics after welcoming her second son, Ryker, on July 4, 2017.

She raced at two other meets since Rio, swimming a 50m freestyle while 26 weeks pregnant last year and a 50m free and a 50m fly last January. We now know where she stands in the 100m butterfly, which she won at the 2012 Olympics.

Vollmer’s 59.38 ranks 24th in the U.S. this year. She has 18 months to improve until the Olympic Trials, where it will likely require a time in the low 57s to qualify for Tokyo. At this point in the last Olympic cycle, Vollmer was six months pregnant.

WINTER NATS: Full Results | TV Schedule

In other events Friday, Katie Ledecky topped fellow Olympic gold medalist and Stanford training partner Simone Manuel by 2.6 seconds in the 200m freestyle, clocking 1:55.32. While Ledecky is Olympic champion in the event, Manuel focuses on the 50m and 100m frees.

Ledecky hasn’t lost a 200m free to another American in nearly five years, but she took second at the 2017 Worlds and third at August’s Pan Pacific Championships. A showdown with Canadian Taylor Ruck and Japanese Rikako Ikee at July’s worlds will be much anticipated.

Ledecky and Manuel will match up again in the 100m free on Saturday, the final day of nationals, streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app at 5 p.m. ET.

Olympians Jacob Pebley (200m free) Kylie Masse (100m back), Micah Sumrall (100m breaststroke) and Jay Litherland (400m individual medley) also won Friday.

MORE: U.S. breaststroke hope tasked with ending 28-year Olympic drought

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Brooke Raboutou is first U.S. Olympic sport climbing qualifier

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Brooke Raboutou, 18, became the first American to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in sport climbing by reaching Tuesday’s combined final at the world championships in Hachioji, Japan, USA Climbing confirmed.

She qualified ninth into that final.

Raboutou, the daughter of two world-class climbers who has competed since age 7, became the seventh American across all sports to qualify for the 2020 Olympics after three open-water swimmers, two modern pentathletes and a triathlete.

Olympic sport climbing will feature one set of medals per gender, the event combining three disciplines: lead, speed and bouldering.

From Tokyo 2020: Speed climbing pits two climbers against each other, both climbing a fixed route on a 15-meter wall at a 95-degree angle. Winning times are generally between five and eight seconds. In bouldering, climbers scale a number of fixed routes on a four-meter wall in a specified time without safety ropes. In lead climbing, athletes attempt to climb as high as possible on a wall measuring over 15 meters in height within a fixed time with safety ropes.

A nation can qualify up to two athletes per gender into Olympic sport climbing.

The sport debuted at the Youth Olympics in 2018 in Buenos Aires, but no Americans were entered.

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Danielle Williams cemented as world No. 1 hurdler in Birmingham

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The 100m hurdles has been one of the U.S.’ deepest events the last several years, but Jamaican Danielle Williams looks like the favorite at the world championships in early October.

Williams, who owns the world’s fastest time this year, easily beat world-record holder Kendra Harrison and Olympic champion Brianna McNeal at a Diamond League meet in Birmingham, Great Britain, on Sunday.

Williams crossed in 12.46 seconds despite hitting her knee on one hurdle, but still two tenths clear of Harrison, whose world record is 12.20. It marked Harrison’s first loss in nine meets this year and the first time a non-American has ever beaten her at a Diamond League stop.

It looked like Williams wouldn’t make it to worlds in Doha when she false started out of the Jamaican Championships. But the final was soon after strangely canceled, and Jamaican media reported last week that Williams, the 2015 World champion who failed to make the Rio Olympics, is eligible to be chosen next month by the federation.

The U.S. had at least the two fastest women in the world each of the previous six years. Then Williams re-emerged with a Jamaican record 12.32 on July 20.

The meet airs Monday on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA at 4 p.m. ET and NBCSN at 7 p.m. ET. The Diamond League moves to Paris on Saturday.

In other events Sunday, Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo overtook Brit Dina Asher-Smith and Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 200m in 22.24. Miller-Uibo extended her unbeaten streak to two years across all distances.

It appears Miller-Uibo will not be racing the 200m at worlds, given it overlaps with the 400m. She ranks third in the world this year at the shorter distance, trailing Jamaican Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, who clocked 22.00 on June 23 but was not in Sunday’s field. Miller-Uibo has ranked No. 1 at 400m four straight years.

Yohan Blake won the 100m in 10.07 seconds, holding off Brit Adam Gemili, who had the same time with a 2 meter/second tailwind. Blake, the second-fastest man in history with a personal best of 9.69, hasn’t been the same since suffering a series of leg injuries starting in 2013.

Sunday’s field lacked the world championships favorites — Americans Christian Coleman and Justin Gatlin, who clocked 9.81 and 9.87 on June 30.

Surprise U.S. champion Teahna Daniels placed third in her Diamond League 100m debut, clocking 11.24 seconds. The field lacked world championships favorites Thompson and Fraser-Pryce, who each ran 10.73 at the Jamaican Championships on June 21.

American record holder Ajeé Wilson won an 800m that lacked all three Rio Olympic medalists, who are barred from racing the event due to the IAAF’s new testosterone cap in middle distances. Wilson’s time, 2:00.76, was far off her 2019 world-leading time of 1:57.72 among eligible women.

Olympic and world heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam broke the Belgian long jump record twice, winning with a 6.86-meter leap. That ranks ninth in the world this year. The field lacked the last two Olympic champions, Americans Tianna Bartoletta and Brittney Reese.

A meeting of the last two Olympic pole vault champs went to Rio gold medalist Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, who cleared 4.75 meters in swirling wind. London 2012 champ Jenn Suhr was third but remains No. 1 in the world this year with a 4.91-meter clearance from March 30.

Croatian Sandra Perkovic, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic discus champion, lost her third straight Diamond League meet to start the season as she returns from injury. Perkovic, who placed third behind winner Cuban Yaimé Pérez, had not lost in back-to-back meets since returning from a six-month doping ban in 2011, according to Tilastopaja.org.

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