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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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago. The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final