Missy Franklin misses out at US Nationals
IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Missy Franklin missed out at the U.S. national championships, failing to qualify for the two biggest meets leading up to the 2020 Olympics.
Franklin didn’t make the final in either of her events and as a result will miss next month’s Pan Pacific championships in Tokyo and the 2019 world championships.
She led through the first three laps in the C final of the 200-meter freestyle on Thursday night before fading to third and touching in 1 minute, 59.15 seconds.
“I’ve trained really, really hard the past seven months, and was definitely hoping it would show up a little bit more,” Franklin said.
The four-time gold medalist at the 2012 London Games didn’t enter her signature backstroke events, having undergone two shoulder surgeries at the start of last year.
Katie Ledecky averted a potential crisis in the morning preliminaries, swimming in a practice suit after her racing suit split.
The five-time Olympic champion wasn’t the only one having a wardrobe malfunction.
Ledecky said several swimmers’ suits were sticking to them and tearing, in part because of the near 90-degree heat in the morning and steamy conditions from showers running constantly in the locker room.
“It was a blessing in disguise because it really pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and really race this morning,” she said. “Kind of tried to take that same energy and apply it tonight in a racing suit. Just made my morning a little bit harder.”
Ledecky led all the way to win the 200 free, earning a second individual event to swim in Japan next month.
Ledecky touched first in 1 minute, 54.60 seconds, second-fastest in the world this year behind her top time of 1:54.56 she swam in June. Looking on was Lakers great Kobe Bryant and one of his daughters.
Ledecky qualified for her second event at the Pan Pacific championships in Tokyo in August after winning the 800 free on Wednesday.
Swimming in the next lane, three-time Olympian Allison Schmitt chased Ledecky the entire race and finished second in 1:55.82.
Schmitt was buoyed by supportive messages from friend Michael Phelps in her comeback that began full-time in January.
“He just reminded me that swimming is such a small part of life,” she said. “You’re still loved by the same people.”
Also earning trips to Japan were third-place Gabby Deloof and Olympian Leah Smith, who was fourth.
The foursome qualified for the 4x200 free relay at Pan Pacs, reuniting Ledecky and Schmitt, who first swam a relay together at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
“I’m really excited about it. This is one of our best relays historically,” Ledecky said. “We’ve kind of been hovering around the world record that’s been standing for a really long time. If we can challenge that, that would be really exciting.
Andrew Seliskar surprised a field including five Olympians to win the men’s 200 free in 1:45.70, third-quickest in the world this year.
Micah Sumrall, who took time off after failing to make the 2016 Olympic team, won the 200 breaststroke by 1.26 seconds. Sumrall, who used to swim under her maiden name of Lawrence, touched in 2:22.06, fourth-best in the world this year. Lilly King, the Olympic 100 breast champion, was fifth.
The men’s 200 breast winner was 2016 Olympic silver medalist Josh Prenot in 2:07.28, the world’s fastest time this year.
There was a tie for first in the women’s 200 backstroke between 2016 Olympian Kathleen Baker and 16-year-old Regan Smith. Their time of 2:06.43 was third-quickest in the world this year and a junior world record for Smith.
“It was crazy,” a breathless Smith said.
Ryan Murphy, who swept the backstroke events in Rio, won the men’s 200 back in 1:54.15, second-best in the world this year.