By Sharon Robb
June 28, 2017—Less than an hour after finishing sixth in the 100-meter freestyle, Katie Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle to make the U.S. team for next month’s FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
The two-time defending Olympic champion pulled ahead of the field early and went on to win in 8:11.50, just shy of her national meet record of 8:10.32 and winning by nearly nine seconds at the Phillips 66 National Championships and World Team Trials on Tuesday at Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis.
Ledecky, 20, has won every 800 freestyle she has raced since she made her international debut five years ago.
“I didn’t rest too much for this,” Ledecky said. “Compared to other trials and selection meets, this might be the least tapered I have been over the past couple of years,” Ledecky told reporters after her swim.
“I am getting in and racing,” Ledecky said. “I have confidence from training that I can get up and go times like that.”
Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian got all he could handle from Bolles’ Caeleb Dressel holding him off by 0.01 to win n 47.96, third fastest time in the world this year.
Adrian, at 28, the oldest swimmer in the final, came home in 24.69. Dressel went out in 22.81. It was the third time Dressel cracked 48 seconds.
“That’s kind of what we have built into my nervous system,” Adrian said. “I’ve always tried to go out and bring it back in the back half. Now maybe we can figure out what to do in the front half.”
In the 100-meter freestyle, Mallory Comerford of Louisville broke the meet record in the prelims and came back in final to win in 52.81, 4/10ths faster than her morning swim. It was back-to-back meet records and U.S. Open record. Stanford’s Simone Manuel (53.05) and Lia Neal (53.59) were second and third.
Hali Flickinger led from start-to-finish to win the 200-meter butterfly in 2:07.60. In the men’s event, Jack Conger held off Pace Clark and Chase Kalisz to win the 200-meter butterfly in 1:54.47.
Stanford’s True Sweetser reeled in early leader Robert Finke of St. Petersburg in the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:59.73.
The winners of each event qualify for worlds with runners-up also likely to make the team through a selection process.
By winning, Ledecky has already given herself the option to compete in the 1,500 at Budapest without having to swim the event on Saturday.
The five day meet continues Wednesday. Wednesday’s events are: men’s and women’s 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter breaststroke, 200-meter backstroke and 50-meter butterfly.
The meet is being live streamed at usaswimming.org and also televised over 12 hours on the NBC Sports Group that includes NBCSN, Universal HD and NBC on July 1-2, 1-3 p.m.
FLORIDA GOLD COAST RESULTS
Women 200-meter butterfly: 28. Mary Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 2:15.23, 44. Jessica Nava, Pine Crest 2:16.92: C Final, 3. Mary Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 2:13.28.
Men 200-meter butterfly: 24. Luke Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 2:00.39, 50. Miguel Cancel, Gulliver 2:04.87.
Women 100-meter freestyle: 72. Marta Ciesla, Pine Crest 57.27, 79. Mary Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 57.49.
TUESDAY DAY ONE FINAL RESULTS
Women 200-meter butterfly: 1. Hali Flickinger, Athens Bulldogs 2:07.60, 2. Dakota Luther, ASC 2:08.71, 3. Sarah Gibson, TAMU 2:08.75.
Men 200-meter butterfly: 1. Jack Conger, NCA 1:54.47, 2. Pace Clark, Athens Bulldogs 1:54.58, 3. Chase Kalisz, North Baltiomore 1:54.79; C Final: 4. Luke Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 2:00.49.
Women 100-meter freestyle: 1. Mallory Comerford, Louisville 52.81, CR, US record; 2. Simone Manuel, Stanford 53.05, 3. Lia Neal, Stanford 53.59.
Men 100-meter freestyle: 1. Nathan Adrian, Cal Aquatics 47.96, 2. Caeleb Dressel, Bolles 47.97, 3. Townley Haas, Nova Aquatics 48.20.
800-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, Stanford 8:11.50, 2. Leah Smith, Cavaliers 8:20.46, 3. Hannah Moore, Wolfpack 8:27.58.
1500-meter freestyle: 1. True Sweetser, Stanford 14:59.73, 2. Robert Finke, St. Petersburg 15:01.31, 3. PJ Ransford, Michigan 15:01.82.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com