Katie Ledecky swims 200m free time at nationals that would have won world title


Katie Ledecky didn’t swim the 200m freestyle at last month’s world championships, but her winning time at the U.S. Championships on Wednesday would have won the world title by nearly a half-second.

Ledecky prevailed in 1 minute, 54.50 seconds at nationals in Irvine, California, distancing Erin Gemmell (who lowered her personal best by 1.27 seconds on Wednesday) by 1.64 seconds. Ledecky is undefeated in domestic 200m free races for eight years.

“I’m really happy with that time,” she said on Olympic Channel. “I didn’t feel so great today, so really wasn’t expecting to go that fast.”

SWIMMING NATIONALS: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Ledecky swam the fourth-best time of her career. Only Australian rival Ariarne Titmus has gone faster this year — a 1:53.31 at her national championships in May. Titmus, who also broke Ledecky’s 400m free world record at Australian nationals, skipped worlds to focus on the Commonwealth Games that start later this week.

Ledecky passed on the 200m free at worlds in part because the 200m free semis were the same night as the 1500m free final.

China’s Yang Junxuan won the world title in 1:54.92. Neither American made the final.

Ledecky hasn’t decided whether she will re-add the 200m free to her program ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Last year, she was fifth in the 200m free, her shortest event, at the Tokyo Olympics, when she also won the 1500m free in the same session. For Paris, the 1500m free and 200m free are separated by two days, which betters the chances that Ledecky puts it back into her program at Olympic Trials.

Ledecky’s last victory in the 200m free at a major international meet was at the 2016 Rio Games.

In Wednesday’s men’s 200m free, 19-year-old Luke Hobson upset Olympian Kieran Smith and won in 1:46.14. Hobson, who was seventh at April’s world championships trials, lowered his personal best by 78 hundredths.

Matt Fallon, a rising Penn sophomore, won the men’s 200m breaststroke in a personal best by one second, 2:07.91, which would have won silver at the world championships. Fallon skipped April’s world team trials to focus on academics.

Mackenzie Looze, daughter of Indiana coach Ray Looze, won the women’s 200m breast in 2:25.35, a personal best by 2.14 seconds.

Isabelle Stadden upset world team members Rhyan White and Claire Curzan in the women’s 200m backstroke, prevailing in 2:07.29. She now ranks sixth in the world this year and fourth among Americans.

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Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz exit French Open, leaving no U.S. men

Frances Tiafoe French Open

Frances Tiafoe kept coming oh so close to extending his French Open match against Alexander Zverev: 12 times Saturday night, the American was two points from forcing things to a fifth set.

Yet the 12th-seeded Tiafoe never got closer than that.

Instead, the 22nd-seeded Zverev finished out his 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory after more than 3 1/2 hours in Court Philippe Chatrier to reach the fourth round. With Tiafoe’s exit, none of the 16 men from the United States who were in the bracket at the start of the tournament are still in the field.

“I mean, for the majority of the match, I felt like I was in control,” said Tiafoe, a 25-year-old from Maryland who fell to 1-7 against Zverev.

“It’s just tough,” he said about a half-hour after his loss ended, rubbing his face with his hand. “I should be playing the fifth right now.”

Two other American men lost earlier Saturday: No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz and unseeded Marcos Giron.

No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina beat Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, and Nicolas Jarry of Chile eliminated Giron 6-2, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3.

There are three U.S women remaining: No. 6 Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens and Bernarda Pera.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

It is the second year in a row that zero men from the United States will participate in the fourth round at Roland Garros. If nothing else, it stands as a symbolic step back for the group after what seemed to be a couple of breakthrough showings at the past two majors.

For Tiafoe, getting to the fourth round is never the goal.

“I want to win the trophy,” he said.

Remember: No American man has won any Grand Slam title since Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open. The French Open has been the least successful major in that stretch with no U.S. men reaching the quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003.

But Tiafoe beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the U.S. Open along the way to getting to the semifinals there last September, the first time in 16 years the host nation had a representative in the men’s final four at Flushing Meadows.

Then, at the Australian Open this January, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton became the first trio of Americans in the men’s quarterfinals in Melbourne since 2000. Paul made it a step beyond that, to the semifinals.

After that came this benchmark: 10 Americans were ranked in the ATP’s Top 50, something that last happened in June 1995.

On Saturday, after putting aside a whiffed over-the-shoulder volley — he leaned atop the net for a moment in disbelief — Tiafoe served for the fourth set at 5-3, but couldn’t seal the deal.

In that game, and the next, and later on, too, including at 5-all in the tiebreaker, he would come within two points of owning that set.

Each time, Zverev claimed the very next point. When Tiafoe sent a forehand wide to end it, Zverev let out two big yells. Then the two, who have been pals for about 15 years, met for a warm embrace at the net, and Zverev placed his hand atop Tiafoe’s head.

“He’s one of my best friends on tour,” said Zverev, a German who twice has reached the semifinals on the red clay of Paris, “but on the court, I’m trying to win.”

At the 2022 French Open, Zverev tore ligaments in his right ankle while playing Nadal in the semifinals and had to stop.

“It’s been definitely the hardest year of my life, that’s for sure,” Zverev said. “I love tennis more than anything in the world.”

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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.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

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.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, 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 last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury 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, is her top remaining challenger in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round. No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who has three wins over Swiatek this year, withdrew before her third-round match due to illness.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope 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

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw