Lilly King completed a sweep of the breaststrokes at the world swimming championships trials, while fellow gold medalist Lydia Jacoby missed a spot on the world team by nine hundredths of a second.
King, the 2016 Olympic champion and world-record holder, won the 100m breast in 1:05.67 in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday night. She previously won the 50m and 200m breast events, setting up a busy schedule at June’s worlds in Budapest.
She’s joined on the world team by training partner Annie Lazor, who made it in her last shot after placing third in her primary event, the 200m breast, earlier this week. Lazor, who was .45 behind King, edged NCAA champion Kaitlyn Dobler of USC by .07 and Jacoby by .09 for the second and final spot on the world team in the 100m breast.
“In every breaststroke race, it seems like the top three in the world are the top three in the U.S.,” said King, who took bronze in Tokyo and ranks second in the world this year behind Reona Aoki of Japan. “It’s pretty crazy and getting a lot more competitive than it used to be.”
The worlds field will be without Olympic silver medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa, who is prioritizing the Commonwealth Games later this summer. The fourth- and fifth-place finishers from the Olympics are both from Russia, so they’ll be absent, too, due to the nation’s ban.
Jacoby, the Alaska high schooler who stunned for 100m breast gold in Tokyo, took third, fourth and fifth in the three breaststrokes this week with personal bests in the 50m and 200m. The 18-year-old is expected to matriculate at the University of Texas later this year, competing collegiately while taking advantage of name, image and likeness deals.
The U.S. has never carried over all of its individual Olympic gold medalists to the following year’s world championships. In 2017, Anthony Ervin didn’t make it. In 2013, Allison Schmitt didn’t qualify.
“I told her good job,” King said of Jacoby. “That’s tough. It is definitely a setback, but she has a bright future ahead of her.
“I know, especially from personal experience, that the year after the Olympics, it’s really hard. And I can’t imagine going back to high school the year after the Olympics.”
In other events Friday, Katie Ledecky extended an eight-year domestic win streak in freestyle races 200m or longer by taking the 400m in 3:59.52, supplanting Australian rival Ariarne Titmus as fastest in the world this year. Ledecky won the 200m and 800m earlier this week and has one event left, the 1500m, on Saturday. Titmus is skipping worlds to focus on Commonwealths.
Olympic bronze medalist Kieran Smith, who now trains with Ledecky, won the men’s 400m free.
Triple 2016 Olympic champion Ryan Murphy was beaten by an American in a 100m backstroke for the first time in four years. He finished second behind Hunter Armstrong, who on Thursday broke the world record in the 50m back, which is not an Olympic event.
Murphy will swim both the 100m and 200m back at worlds, having won the 200m earlier this week.
Former world-record holder Regan Smith swam the fastest time ever in an American pool, 57.76 seconds, to win the women’s 100m back over Claire Curzan. Curzan, a 17-year-old from nearby Cary, qualified for her fourth individual event in her third different stroke.
Like King, Nic Fink qualified for all three breaststrokes after winning the men’s 100m breast by .14 over Michael Andrew. Cody Miller, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, was sixth.
Trials finish Saturday, highlighted by Caeleb Dressel in the 50m free.
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