Training partners Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky earned victories in their first full meet in one year, a Pro Series stop in San Antonio on Thursday.
Manuel won the 100m freestyle in 54.62 seconds, edging Rio Olympic teammate Abbey Weitzeil by .06. Ledecky was third in 54.74 in an event that’s not expected to be on her program this summer.
About an hour later, Ledecky won the 400m free in 4:05.00, distancing Olympic bronze medalist Leah Smith by 2.41 seconds.
Both Manuel and Ledecky last raced in a full meet last March, before the coronavirus pandemic halted sports and postponed the Olympics by one year.
“Different type of atmosphere. Different type of jitters,” Manuel said. “Whether I win or lose, I’m pretty critical of my swims. I would have liked to see something a little bit better than that [time].”
Manuel and Ledecky spent three months last spring swimming in a backyard pool and, more recently, passed on traveling for meets in favor of training with Stanford’s facilities reopened.
“I’ve been doing a lot of racing in practice,” Ledecky, who won the 1500m free on Wednesday by 21 seconds, said on Olympic Channel. “I don’t feel like I’m behind.”
ON HER TURF: Simone Manuel reflects on how her own story is told
Swimmers are preparing for the Olympic Trials in June in Omaha.
In other events Thursday, Blake Pieroni won the men’s 100m free in 49.19 seconds. Caeleb Dressel, the world champion and second-fastest man in history, swam 49.75 in the B final, a time that would have placed seventh in the A final.
Through 10 events, the winning time has been at least a half-second slower in every A final than it was in the March 2020 Pro Series meet in Des Moines. It’s more than a second slower in eight of the 10 events.
“I don’t think this is the fastest pool in the world,” Pieroni said of San Antonio.
Nathan Adrian, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist coming back from testicular cancer, won the B final in 49.53. Adrian ranks eighth among Americans since the start of 2019 and will likely need to be top six at trials to make a fourth Olympic team in the relay.
Molly Hannis edged Annie Lazor by .21, clocking 1:07.10 in a battle between the U.S.’ second- and third-ranked women in the 100m breaststroker. Olympic and world champion and world-record holder Lilly King did not enter San Antonio, but is more than a second faster than any other American since the start of 2019.
Michael Andrew, who turned professional eight years ago at age 14, took the men’s 100m breast in 1:00.10. Andrew, bidding for his first Olympic team, is ranked second in the U.S. since the start of 2019. He trails Andrew Wilson, who was disqualified from the preliminary heats for flinching at the start.
The U.S.’ top three female 200m butterfliers faced off, with world silver medalist Hali Flickinger taking the win in 2:07.55. Regan Smith, the world-record holder in both backstrokes, was with Flickinger through 150 meters and finished 1.3 seconds back. She remains second-fastest among Americans behind Flickinger since the start of 2019.
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