Swimmer Jake Mitchell likely headed to Olympics after racing alone


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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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship

The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”


Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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