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

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

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon

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).

Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet in Kenya’s Rift Valley, often hauling by bike several gallons of the family’s milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a nursery school teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.

At 18, he upset legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 World 5000m title on the track. He won Olympic 5000m medals (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then moved to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup

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