Olympics-Ledecky continues domination of 1,500m freestyle at US trials


  • Swimming
  • Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

FILE PHOTO: Jun 18, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Katie Ledecky swims during the women's 1500 meter freestyle prelims during U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mykal McEldowney-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Katie Ledecky cruised to another dominating win in her signature event, the 1,500m freestyle, at the U.S. Olympic trials in Indianapolis on Wednesday, while teenager Thomas Heilman became the youngest American man to make the squad in 24 years.

After already secured her place at a fourth Games by winning the 200m and 400m freestyle this week, the seven-time Olympic champion made it a hat-trick of titles by touching first in 15 minutes, 37.35 seconds, the fastest time in the 1,500m free this year.

Having posted the 18 fastest times in the world in the event there was never any doubt about who was going to get to the wall first, Ledecky as usual spending most of the swim racing against herself and the clock.

Katie Grimes was next to come home, more than 20 seconds behind.

The only person unimpressed by Ledecky's performance was the 27-year-old herself.

"I was pretty excited coming into tonight, would have wanted to swim a little faster but I'll take it," said Ledecky her time just .01 second off her gold medal winning time at the Tokyo Summer Games. "I'll be better in a few weeks.

"Just looking forward to getting together as a team and getting to know each other, push each other and go represent Team USA."

Kate Douglass got the evening off to an rousing start by winning the 100m free, powering away at the turn from a quality field packed with Olympians to get to the wall first in 52.56.

Torri Huske touched second ahead of Gretchen Walsh and Simone Manuel, the first Black woman to win an individual Olympic swimming gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games.

All three will be going to Paris as part of the U.S. relay squad.

Minutes later, Heilman had another big crowd of more than 20,000 at Lucas Oil Stadium back on its feet, the 17-year-old punching his ticket to Paris by winning the 200m butterfly in 1:54.50.

Heilman becomes the youngest American man to make the Olympic team since Michael Phelps and Aaron Peirsol at the 2000 Sydney Games.

"Going to the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Heilman. "I'm looking forward to cherishing moment."

Chris Guiliano powered his way to victory in the men's 100m free in 47.38 ahead of Jack Alexy. Caeleb Dressel, the reigning Olympic champion in the event, will not get the chance to defend his gold medal in Paris after coming home third.

But the result was good enough to earn Dressel a trip to his third Olympics as part of the relay team along with fourth-place finisher Hunter Armstrong.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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