Ledecky poised to win 3rd individual title at US swim trials
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Katie Ledecky set herself up to swim a third individual event in Rio, qualifying fastest for the 800-meter freestyle at the U.S. trials Friday.
The Maryland teenager's time of 8 minutes, 10.91 seconds in the preliminaries was third fastest in the world this year. She owns the 10 leading times in the event's history. Ledecky made a name for herself by winning the 800 free four years ago in London.
She is already on the team in the 200 and 400 free. Ledecky is in line to match Debbie Meyers' sweep of the 200, 400 and 800 freestyles at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Shane Gould of Australia won the 200 and 400 free in world-record time at the 1972 Munich Games, and finished second in the 800 free.
Ledecky has the 100 free final Friday night and returns Saturday for the 800 free final.
''I don't think I've done this before, 800 free prelims and then a big-time 100 free final,'' she said. ''It'll be fun. A little different.''
Leah Smith, already on the team in the 400 free, qualified second fastest for the 800 free in 8:21.64 - 10.73 seconds behind Ledecky.
Michael Phelps was back in the pool for the 100 butterfly heats, where he qualified sixth fastest in 51.87 seconds. Ryan Lochte was ninth to move into the 16-man evening semifinals, but will not swim.
Lochte was focused on the 200 individual medley final Friday night, where he and Phelps were to resume their long rivalry. The top two finishers qualify for Rio.
Phelps has a busy night ahead. He'll swim the 200 IM final and return about 30 minutes later for the 100 fly semis.
The fastest qualifier in the 100 fly was Matthew Josa in 51.61. He swims at Division III Queens University in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Missy Franklin topped the 200 backstroke heats in 2:09.69. Maya DiRado, already on the team in the 200 and 400 IM, goes for a third individual event. She was second fastest in 2:09.76. They moved on to the evening semis.
Olympic newcomer Caeleb Dressel led a veteran field in the 50 free heats with a time of 21.76. Anthony Ervin, the 200 Olympic champion, was second in 21.80. Cullen Jones, silver medalist in London, was third at 21.84 to make the semis.
''It means a lot to be able to hold your own against these young guys,'' said Jones, who is 32.
He failed to qualify in the 100 free and was shaken after friend Matt Grevers missed out in the 100 back as the defending Olympic champion.
''But I had to put that aside,'' Jones said. ''I had to think about how I wanted to go out, how I wanted to do everything I planned on doing. I put too much work in this year to not put up a good time.''
Nathan Adrian, the 100 free winner at trials, also advanced fourth in 21.96.