Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel headline first Pro Swim Series meet of 2022; TV schedule

Katie Ledecky
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Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel, and many more Olympic medalists, are entered in the first Pro Swim Series meet of the year, live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA this week.

Swimmers gather in suburban Chicago — Westmont, to be exact — as they prepare for world championships trials in April.

Olympic Channel airs live finals coverage Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. ET, also streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. Entry lists are here.

Ledecky and Dressel both changed coaches since the Tokyo Games and train under the same man, University of Florida head coach Anthony Nesty.

Ledecky moved from Stanford, where she competed for the Cardinal, turned professional in 2018 and then continued to train under coach Greg Meehan. In Florida, she is closer to her family in Maryland.

Dressel stayed in Gainesville, announcing a switch from club coach Gregg Troy in November. Dressel later said he was the only member from Troy’s post-grad group who is still swimming.

“After coming back from Tokyo, I think I needed some change,” Dressel told Swimswam. “It just worked out, the timing of where me and Troy were at in our lives.”

Troy, who retired as UF coach in 2018, later told retired Australian Olympian Brett Hawke that he talked with Dressel, and that Troy had a lack of pool access in the area. Troy said that Dressel asked him to stay in contact, and he obliged.

Individual Olympic gold medalists Lydia Jacoby, Lilly King and Ryan Murphy are also entered in Westmont.

Two previously scheduled Pro Series meets this year were canceled — a Knoxville stop in January (due to COVID) and a Des Moines stop that was supposed to be this weekend. The Des Moines meet was canceled after FINA announced that the 2022 World Championships were postponed to 2023.

After FINA rescheduled worlds for Budapest this June and July, the Westmont meet was added to the Pro Series schedule.

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight


Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen

Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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