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World and U.S. short track speedskating records fall on fast Utah ice

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Canadian short track speedskater Kim Boutin set a world record in the 500 meters and Kristen Santos set a U.S. record at 1,000m at the first World Cup stop of the season over the weekend at Utah Olympic Oval.

Boutin became the first woman to complete short track’s shortest distance in less than 42 seconds, racing to a time of 41.936 seconds in the semifinals. She went on to win the event along with the 1,500m.

The previous record of 42.335 seconds, posted in 2016 by Britain’s Elise Christie, also was set at the facility outside Salt Lake City.

Santos set her record in the semifinals with a time of 1:28.485, breaking the 2016 record of Olympic medalist Katherine Reutter. That time still wasn’t fast enough to advance past the semifinals, and she wound up finishing third in the B final.

The only other U.S. skater to reach a B final was Corinne Stoddard in the 1,500m, though the mixed relay team of Santos, Maame Biney, Aaron Tran and Thomas Hong beat Canada to take fourth.

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 speed skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Speed Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go here to sign up for access. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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