Katie Ledecky’s first opportunity to make Tokyo Olympic team has arrived in 400m freestyle

2021 U.S. Olympic Trials - Swimming - Day 2
Getty Images

A look at night two of finals at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, live on NBC, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app at 8 p.m. ET …

Katie Ledecky has been one of the faces of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics since the Rio 2016 Games ended. The 24-year-old finally has a chance to make this year’s team on Monday night.

The women’s 400m freestyle, Ledecky’s first of several events is the last of tonight’s three finals, though is then followed by semifinals for two more events.

As the world record holder for nearly seven years, Ledecky is a near-lock to win at Trials. She last lowered her record in 2016 when she won the Olympic title. Ledecky is also a three-time world champion at this distance. She won the 2019 World silver medal while battling illness.

With six Olympic medals already on her resume and the potential to claim five more in Tokyo this summer, Ledecky’s quest for more history begins with her first final of the week.

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

A look at tonight’s races:

Women’s 100m Butterfly FINAL — 8:07 p.m.
Two teenagers could be the first names added to the Olympic team roster tonight if all goes according to plan for 18-year-old Torri Huske, who lowered her personal bests in three events during the pandemic, and 16-year-old Claire Curzan. Huske broke seven-time Olympic medalist Dana Vollmer‘s American record in Sunday’s semifinal, going 55.78 seconds. Curzan was the second fastest at 56.81. Six of the eight women in the final swam below the Olympic standard in the semis, including 2016 Olympian and 2017 World bronze medalist Kelsi Dahlia who was third. Dahlia placed eighth in the event in Rio. Nineteen-year-old Regan Smith is seeded sixth, though she is more likely to make the Olympic team in either breaststroke event.

Men’s 200m Freestyle Semifinals — 8:17 p.m.
Kieran Smith, who on Sunday night became one of the first athletes to make the U.S. Olympic pool swimming team when he won the 400m freestyle, is on track to book a spot in his second final of the week. Smith had the top time in the prelims of 1:46.54. Caeleb Dressel was second this morning but scratched and will not continue racing this event, though could remain available for the 4x200m free relay. Rising Michigan senior Patrick Callan had the next best time. Olympians Blake Pieroni and Townley Haas are also in the field. Pieroni is after his first individual Olympic event, while Haas was fifth in the 200 in Rio. Twelve-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte ranked 25th of 50 in the prelims and did not advance to the semis. Lochte was on the last four Olympic 4×200 relay teams.

Women’s 100m Breaststroke Semifinals — 8:35 p.m.
Lilly King was easily the top qualifier in 1:05.67 and should sail through to the final. King won the 2016 Olympic title at this distance and set the current world record of 1:04.13 at the 2017 Worlds. The silver medalist in the 200m breaststroke at those Worlds, Bethany Galat, was second in the prelims, followed by Annie Lazor, who swept both distances at the 2019 Pan American Games and has been second fastest in the nation behind King since the start of 2019. Molly Hannis, who competed in the 200 in Rio with King, also qualified to the semis.

Men’s 100m Breaststroke FINAL — 8:54 p.m.
Believed to be the first to ever set an American record in both the prelim and semifinal rounds at U.S. Olympic Trials, Michael Andrew could also become the first to do so in all three rounds if he lowers his time of 58.14 seconds in the final. After turning pro at age 14, Andrew is expected to finally make his Olympic debut this year at 22. He is joined in the eight-man final by the next three fastest U.S. men in history: Nic Fink, Andrew Wilson and Kevin Cordes, who missed the Olympic podium in Rio by 0.35.

Women’s 400m Freestyle FINAL — 9:04 p.m.
While Ledecky has the potential to finish a few seconds ahead of the field, the race for second place should be far more challenging. The field includes Leah Smith, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist who was second in the country to Ledecky every year from 2014-19. Smith was fourth in the morning’s qualifying round though, behind Sierra Schmidt, a 2015 World junior silver medalist in this race, and Haley Anderson, who has already qualified for her third Olympics in open water swimming. Ashley Twichell, who will be competing in the 5k in Tokyo with Anderson, also made it to the final but scratched.

Men’s 100m Backstroke Semifinals — 9:08 p.m.
Perhaps the most competitive race of the day, the prelims saw eight swimmers under the Olympic standard time of 53.85 seconds and 10 within a second of each other. Recent Cal graduate Bryce Mefford led the pack in 52.99, just ahead of Justin Ress, the 2017 World University Games winner. The real favorite, though, is Ryan Murphy, who has held the world record since setting it when he won the 2016 Olympic gold. Murphy also has the top time by an American since the start of 2019. His predecessor, Matt Grevers, is eager to return to the Olympic stage at age 36 after winning the event in London but finishing third at the 2016 Trials. Andrew is also competing, for his second event of the night.

Women’s 100m Backstroke Semifinals — 9:38 p.m.
Smith has been an Olympic medal favorite since winning the 2019 World title in the 200m backstroke, and she is expected to inch closer to that Olympic debut in this race, if she does not make the team earlier in the 100m fly. Smith also set the 100 breast world record of 57.57 seconds at that meet in her leg of the 4x100m medley relay. She held that record until Sunday when Australian Kaylee McKeown beat it at her own Olympic Trials, going 57.45. Smith’s top spot in prelims (58.35) was followed by this year’s NCAA gold and silver medalists, Katharine Berkoff and Rhyan White, who tied at 58.88 seconds. 2019 World bronze medalist Olivia Smoliga and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Kathleen Baker also qualified to the semis. Smith, Smoliga, White, Baker and Phoebe Bacon, fifth this morning behind Smoliga, are five of the 10 fastest swimmers in the world since 2019.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Canada wins men’s hockey world title; Latvia wins first medal

IIHF Hockey World Championship

TAMPERE, Finland — Samuel Blais scored two goals to rally Canada to a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the world men’s hockey championship on Sunday.

It’s a record 28th world title for Canada, and its second in three years. Russia has 27 while Germany has never won the trophy.

Blais netted with a backhand 4:51 into the final period for a 3-2 lead for Canada, which was playing in its fourth straight final.

“It feels really good,” Blais said. “We’ve been in Europe for a month and we’ve all waited for that moment to play for the gold medal game. And we’re lucky enough to have won it.”

Lawson Crouse, Tyler Toffoli and Scott Laughton also scored for Canada, Peyton Krebs had two assists and goaltender Samuel Montembeault stopped 21 shots.

Toffoli stretched the lead to 4-2 from the left circle with 8:09 remaining and Laughton made it 5-2 with an empty net goal.

Adam Fantilli became only the second Canadian player after Jonathan Toews to win gold at the world juniors and world championship the same year.

Canada had to come back twice in the final.

John Peterka wristed a shot past Montembeault from the left circle 7:44 into the game. It was the sixth goal for the Buffalo Sabres forward at the tournament.

Blais was fed by Krebs to beat goaltender Mathias Niederberger and tie it 1-1 at 10:47.

Daniel Fischbuch put the Germans ahead again with a one-timer with 6:13 to go in the middle period.

Crouse equalized on a power play with 2:32 remaining in the frame.

It was the first medal for Germany since 1953 when it was second behind Sweden.

The two previously met just once in the final with Canada winning 6-1 in 1930.


Defenseman Kristian Rubins scored his second goal 1:22 into overtime to lead Latvia to a 4-3 victory over the United States and earn a bronze medal earlier Sunday.

It’s the first top-three finish for Latvia at the tournament. Its previous best was a seventh place it managed three times.

The U.S. lost in the bronze medal game for the second straight year. The U.S. team was cruising through the tournament with eight straight wins until it was defeated by Germany in the semifinal 4-3 in overtime.

Rubins rallied Latvia with his first with 5:39 to go in the final period to tie the game at 3 to force overtime.

Roberts Bukarts and Janis Jaks also scored for Latvia.

Rocco Grimaldi scored twice for the U.S. in the opening period to negate Latvia’s 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Matt Coronato had put the U.S. 3-2 ahead 6:19 into the final period.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

1 Comment

At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Turning 22 during the tournament, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw