IRVINE, Calif. (AP)
-- Katie Ledecky cruised to a nearly 11-second victory in the 800-meter
freestyle Wednesday on the opening night of the U.S. national championships.
Ledecky was under
her own world-record pace through the first 300 meters before dropping off
and finishing in 8 minutes, 11.98 seconds on Wednesday night. She failed to
crack the top 10 performances in the event, which all belong to her.
Leah Smith chased
Ledecky all the way and touched second in 8:22.79.
Ledecky earned the
14th national title of her career and a spot in the event at next month’s
Pan Pacific championships in Tokyo, site of the 2020 Olympics.
"It didn’t feel
super sharp, but it always takes me a little time to get into these meets,”
Ledecky said. “I know people are chasing me and that’s motivating.”
Defending world and
Olympic champion Simone Manuel won the 100 freestyle in 52.54 seconds,
setting a U.S. Open record. Mallory Comerford, fourth in last year’s world
meet, took second in 53.09. Margo Geer was third and Abbey Weitzeil was
fourth to grab spots on the Pan Pacs team.
“I think there’s
room for improvement,” said Manuel, newly signed to a suit endorsement deal
with Tyr. “I’ve been doing pretty good things in practice that I haven’t
been doing before.”
champion Missy Franklin was relegated to the C final of the 100 free, which
she won in her first major meet since the 2016 Rio de Janiero Games. She is
coming back from two major shoulder surgeries and a struggle with
In the men’s 100
free, Blake Pieroni rallied to hold off 2012 Olympic champion Nathan Adrian.
Pieroni won in 48.08 and Adrian touched in 48.25. Townley Haas was third and
world champion Zach Apple was fourth to earn trips to Tokyo.
champion Caeleb Dressel barely made it into the final and finished sixth.
“It’s certainly not
the best we’ve seen from Caeleb,” Adrian said, adding that he expects to see
Dressel to drop more time.
In the women’s 200
butterfly, Hali Flickinger won in 2:06.14. The 24-year-old Georgia swimmer
broke Mary T. Meagher’s 37-year-old U.S. Open record in the preliminaries
with a time of 2:05.87.
rallied to win the men’s 200 fly in 1:54.63.
who is already on the Pan Pacs team in open water, earned a spot in the pool
events by winning the 1,500 free in 14:48.89.