Swimmer Jake Mitchell likely headed to Olympics after racing alone

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OMAHA, Neb. — Jake Mitchell returned to the pool all by himself.

He got a do-over, a chance to redeem himself.

Boy, did he ever.

Mitchell produced a much-improved performance in a time trial after all the scheduled races were done Tuesday, likely earning a trip to his first Olympics.

He had flopped in the 400m freestyle on the first night of the U.S. swimming trials, going too slow to meet the Olympic qualifying standard.

“It’s insane,” Mitchell said. “I’ve wanted to be an Olympian since I was a kid. This is definitely a dream come true.”

It was surely a different feeling that he had Sunday.

While Mitchell finished second behind Kieran Smith in the final of the 400 free — which normally would be good enough for a spot on the Olympic team — his sluggish time (3:48.17) was more than 3 seconds behind the winner and not fast enough to meet the Tokyo cut.

“Obviously, I was pretty disappointed,” Mitchell said. “All summer long, I’ve been training to go 3:44, 3:45, somewhere around there. Going 3:48 was not as good as I hoped.”

Everyone who finished behind Smith had until June 27 to produce a time that was good enough to make the Olympic standard of 3:46.78 — a unique predicament for the powerful U.S. team, which usually has no trouble meeting the cutoff in any event.

Mitchell got the first crack at it, swimming solo in the main pool in a time trial approved by world governing body FINA after many fans had already left the arena.

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

But a few hung around — and they were all cheering loudly for Mitchell.

“I was super nervous in the staging area. Shaking almost,” he said. “As soon as I walked out, I looked around. I made a point to look at everyone in the stands, to hear everyone cheering for me. That was an amazing feeling.”

Mitchell went out much stronger this time and held on finish in 3:45.86 — more than 2 seconds faster than his previous race.

He pounded the water and thumped his chest when he saw the time. Back in the practice pool, a huge roar went up from fellow swimmers who were still warming down after a busy night that included four finals.

“I’m really grateful to get a second chance, to get a time trial,” Mitchell said. “I just spent the last couple of days training to execute as best I could.”

He was inspired by the performance of Carmel Swim Club teammate Drew Kibler, who earlier Tuesday finished third in the 200 free final to secure a relay spot at the Olympics.

“We’re such good friends,” Mitchell said. “To see him make it, I knew I had to make it as well. I knew I could.”

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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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

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.

No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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