An 11th-place finisher at Trials could be on the U.S. Olympic swimming team

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Zane Grothe didn’t qualify for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials final in the 400m freestyle, but as of now he’s in line to qualify for the Olympic team in the event.

The biggest head-turner of the first night of competition in Omaha was in the U.S.’ weakest event.

Kieran Smith, a 21-year-old from the University of Florida, won the 400m free in 3:44.86 to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

“All that was going through my head the last 100 [meters] was I’m about to be an Olympian,” Smith said.

The top two in every event at Trials dating to 1984 generally qualify for the Olympic team, but a potential second men’s 400m free spot is up in the air and could be for two more weeks.

SWIM TRIALS: Results | TV Schedule | Women’s Event Previews | Men’s Event Previews

That’s because no other American man in the final hit the minimum time to qualify for the Olympics — 3:46.78, which must be swum between March 1, 2019 and June 27, 2021, according to international rules.

Only one other American swam that time since March 1, 2019 — Grothe, who was 11th in Sunday morning’s preliminary heats to miss the eight-man final. So Grothe is the only swimmer currently eligible for the second Olympic spot behind Smith, assuming the overall U.S. roster isn’t full from other events (which hasn’t happened in recent Olympics).

However, Jake Mitchell, who finished second to Smith in 3:48.17, or any of the other top 10 men from Trials can bump Grothe off the Olympic team. That would happen if any swim 3:46.78 by June 27. They can do that in a time trial or another swim meet, if either is approved by FINA.

Mitchell, a 19-year-old from the University of Michigan, said he was told while warming down that he can time trial, but isn’t sure when he will do it. He is also entered in the 200m and 800m frees later this week.

“There’s going to be a lot less nerves,” doing a time trial than the Olympic Trials, he said. “I know that I’m swimming fast.”

In other finals Sunday, Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland repeated their one-two finish in the 400m individual medley from the 2016 Olympic Trials.

Kalisz, the Rio Olympic silver medalist, won in 4:09.09. Litherland, the 2019 World silver medalist who trains with Kalisz at the University of Georgia, made up a 1.54-second deficit on 19-year-old Carson Foster in the last 50 meters to snag the second spot.

Afterward, Kalisz revealed he battled a shoulder injury in 2019, after spending two years as the world’s best all-around swimmer. Kalisz, who swept the 200m and 400m individual medleys at the 2017 World Championships, finished 10th and third at 2019 Worlds.

“It was really the first time I’ve ever been injured,” said Kalisz, who ranks second in the world this year behind Daiya Seto, the world champion from Japan. “It was kind of devastating.

“I kind of lost a little bit of myself there. These past two years I’ve kind of just been reclaiming all of that.”

In the women’s 400m IM, favorite Melanie Margalis finished third and missed the team by .12 of a second in a four-and-a-half-minute race. Emma Weyant, 19, and Hali Flickinger, the World silver medalist in the 200m butterfly, finished first and second. The top four finishers recorded the four fastest times in the world this year.

“I put my head down in the last 50 [meters],” Weyant said on NBC. “It hurt a lot.”

Two American records fell in semifinals on Sunday.

In the 100m butterfly, 18-year-old Torri Huske broke Dana Vollmer‘s record, clocking 55.78 to lead the qualifiers into Monday’s final. She’s joined by Rio Olympian Kelsi Dahlia and 16-year-old Claire Curzan, the other pre-meet favorites.

In the 100m breaststroke, Michael Andrew lowered the American record in both the prelims and the semifinals. Andrew, who turned pro at age 14 seven years ago, swam 58.14 to lead the qualifiers into Monday’s final. He’s joined by the next three fastest Americans in history — Nic Fink, Andrew Wilson and Kevin Cordes. Rio silver medalist Cody Miller tied for 11th and missed the final.

Trials continue Monday with Katie Ledecky in her first event, the 400m free.

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2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships TV, live stream schedule

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Every race of the world Alpine skiing championships airs live on Peacock from Feb. 6-19.

France hosts the biennial worlds in Meribel and Courchevel — six women’s races, six men’s races and one mixed-gender team event.

Mikaela Shiffrin is the headliner, in the midst of her most successful season in four years with a tour-leading 11 World Cup wins in 23 starts. Shiffrin is up to 85 career World Cup victories, one shy of Ingemar Stenmark‘s record accumulated over the 1970s and ’80s.

World championships races do not count in the World Cup tally.

Shiffrin is expected to race at least four times at worlds, starting with Monday’s combined. She earned a medal in 11 of her 13 career world championships races, including each of the last 10 dating to 2015.

Shiffrin won at least one race at each of the last five world championships (nobody has gold from six different worlds). Her six total golds and 11 total medals are American records. At this edition, she can become the most decorated skier in modern world championships history from any nation.

She enters one medal shy of the record for most individual world championships medals since World War II (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt) and four medals shy of the all-time record. (Worlds were held annually in the 1930s, albeit with fewer races.)

She is also one gold medal shy of the post-World War II individual record shared by Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson.

The other favorites at these worlds include Italian Sofia Goggia, the world’s top female downhiller this season, and the two leading men: Swiss Marco Odermatt (No. 1 in super-G and giant slalom) and Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (No. 1 in downhill).

2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships Broadcast Schedule

Date Event Time (ET) Platform
Mon., Feb. 6 Women’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Tues., Feb. 7 Men’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 8 Women’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 9 Men’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 11 Women’s Downhill 5 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Men’s Downhill 5 a.m Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Tue., Feb. 14 Team Parallel 6:15 a.m. Peacock
Men’s/Women’s Parallel Qualifying 11 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 15 Men’s/Women’s Parallel 6 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 16 Women’s Giant Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Fri., Feb. 17 Men’s Giant Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 18 Women’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 19 Men’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock

*Delayed broadcast
*All NBC coverage streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for TV subscribers.

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Noah Lyles runs personal best and is coming for Usain Bolt’s world record

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Noah Lyles ran a personal-best time in the 60m on Saturday, then reaffirmed record-breaking intentions for the 100m and, especially, the 200m, where Usain Bolt holds the fastest times in history.

Lyles, the world 200m champion, won the 60m sprint in 6.51 seconds at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, clipping Trayvon Bromell by two thousandths in his first top-level meet of the year. Bromell, the world 100m bronze medalist, is a past world indoor 60m champion and has a better start than Lyles, which is crucial in a six-second race.

But on Saturday, Lyles ran down Bromell and shaved four hundredths off his personal best. It bodes well for Lyles’ prospects come the spring and summer outdoor season in his better distances — the 100m and 200m.

“This is the moment I’ve been working, like, seven years for,” he said. “We’re not just coming for the 200m world record. We’re coming for all the world records.”

Last July, Lyles broke Michael Johnson‘s 26-year-old American record in the 200m, winning the world title in 19.31 seconds. Only Bolt (19.19) and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (19.26) have run faster.

Lyles has since spoken openly about targeting Bolt’s world record from 2009.

How does an indoor 60m time play into that? Well, Lyles said that his success last year sprung from a strong indoor season, when he lowered his personal best in the 60m from 6.57 to 6.56 and then 6.55. He followed that by lowering his personal best in the 200m from 19.50 to 19.31.

He believes that slicing an even greater chunk off his 60m best on Saturday means special things are on the horizon come the major summer meets — the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in July (on the same Oregon track where he ran the American 200m record) and the world championships in Budapest in August.

After focusing on the 200m last year, Lyles plans to race both the 100m and the 200m this year. He has a bye into the 200m at world championships, so expect him to race the 100m at USATF Outdoors, where the top three are in line to join world champ Fred Kerley on the world team.

Lyles’ personal best in the 100m is 9.86, a tenth off the best times from Kerley, Bromell and 2019 World 100m champ Christian Coleman. Bolt is in his own tier at 9.58.

Also Saturday, Grant Holloway extended a near-nine-year, 50-plus-race win streak in the 60m hurdles, clocking 7.38 seconds, nine hundredths off his world record. Olympic teammate Daniel Roberts was second in 7.46. Trey Cunningham, who took silver behind Holloway in the 110m hurdles at last July’s world outdoor championships, was fifth in 7.67.

Aleia Hobbs won the women’s 60m in 7.02 seconds, one week after clocking a personal-best 6.98 to become the third-fastest American in history after Gail Devers and Marion Jones (both 6.95). Hobbs, 26, placed sixth in the 100m at last July’s world championships.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the Olympic and world 400m hurdles champion competing for the first time since August, and Jamaican Shericka Jackson, the world 200m champion, were ninth and 10th in the 60m heats, just missing the eight-woman final.

In the women’s pole vault, Bridget Williams, seventh at last year’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, upset the last two Olympic champions — American Katie Moon and Greek Katerina Stefanidi. Williams won with a 4.63-meter clearance (and then cleared 4.71 and a personal-best 4.77). Stefanidi missed three attempts at 4.63, while Moon went out at 4.55.

The indoor track and field season continues with the Millrose Games in New York City next Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

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