a world record for Walsh, a good debut for Ledecky at the American selections

a world record for Walsh, a good debut for Ledecky at the American selections

The American selections were marked by the remarkable performances of Gretchen Walsh and star Katie Ledecky on Saturday in Indianapolis.

What a beginning! Gretchen Walsh’s 100m butterfly world record and Katie Ledecky’s 400m freestyle demonstration kicked off the US Olympic swimming trials into high gear on Saturday in Indianapolis. The unique and gigantic setting of the Lucas Oil American football stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colt transformed into a swimming arena, deserved great performances, which arrived on the first day of the selections (from June 15 to 23), where the American swimmers chase the first two places in each event to hope for individual qualification for the Paris Olympic Games (July 26 – August 11).

Gretchen Walsh raced through the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly in 55 sec 18, putting a slap in the face of the world record of Swede Sarah Sjöström (55.48), set at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Triple medalist at the Fukuoka Worlds in 2023 (gold in the 4x100m medley relay, silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay, bronze in the 50m butterfly), Walsh had especially distinguished herself this season during the NCAA championship tournament with the University of Virginia and wanted to surpass her reputation as a good short course swimmer.

The 21-year-old American, already present at the Olympic selections in 2016 at the age of 13, but who never qualified for the Olympics, sent a message but will have to confirm in the final on Sunday to validate her ticket for Paris, before present yourself at the start of the 50 m and 100 m freestyle. Her big sister Alex Walsh won silver in the 200m medley in Tokyo in 2021.

World swimming legend, Katie Ledecky secured a 4th Olympic selection by easily winning the 400m freestyle in front of Paige Madden. The seven-time Olympic champion, who won her first 800m title in London in 2012 at the age of 15, clocked 3 min 58 sec 35, her best time since 2022, but will have to surpass herself at the Games against Australian Ariarne Titmus and Canadian Summer McIntosh.

Ledecky (27 years old) is also registered in the 200, 800 and 1500 m freestyle in the US selections. Local Aaron Shackell won the men’s 400m freestyle (3:45.46) ahead of Kieran Smith (3:45.76).

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