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Every individual medal Katie Ledecky could win in Tokyo

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When the USA Swimming Olympic Trials concluded last weekend, Katie Ledecky had won all four events she entered: the 200M, 400M, 800M, and 1500M freestyle. 

Ledecky has reigned as the freestyle despot for the better part of a decade. Her first taste of dominance came when she won gold in the 800M as the youngest member of swimming’s Team USA at the 2012 Olympics in London. She added four more golds and a silver in Rio, winning the 200M, 400M, and 800M (which no other swimmer had accomplished since 1968) and setting new world records in both the 400M and 800M, which still stand today. 

The only reason she doesn’t yet have gold in the 1500M is because the distance wasn’t an Olympic event for women until this year. With her ticket to Tokyo punched many times over, let’s break down what she’s up against in each of her events.

200M Free

Ledecky’s shortest distance is the only one in which she’s not the current world record holder. That belongs to Federica Pellegrini, whose time of 1:52.98 clocked in 2009 (when special swimsuits were permitted) has yet to be beaten. Ledecky’s fastest 200M time so far this year is a 1:54.40, but 20-year-old Australian Ariarne Titmus swam a 1:53.09 at Australia’s Olympic Trials, a pace Ledecky has never reached at this distance. Ledecky may be the reigning gold medalist from Rio, but she is heading to Tokyo as the underdog for what many are hoping will be a fiercely competitive 200M final.

400M Free

Ledecky’s 400M world record time of 3:56.46 from Rio has been untouchable in the years since, but Titmus is suddenly breathing down her neck. Prior to last week, Ledecky held the seven fastest times ever in the event, but when Titmus clocked a 3:56.90 in the 400M final at Australia’s trials she came closer than anyone else has to Ledecky’s world record. Titmus now owns the second fastest time ever recorded and the best time of any swimmer this year. Ledecky’s fastest 400M time this year was a 3:59.25 in April. She could find herself the underdog in not one but two races heading into Tokyo.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

800M Free

If swimmers had jerseys for fans to rock, Ledecky’s number would be 800. It was the event of her first gold medal in 2012. She has set new world records at this distance five separate times, the latest being her gold medal swim in Rio, and she owns the 23 fastest times ever recorded. While her pace this year isn’t entering record-breaking territory, she’s still the fastest of all active swimmers. If she manages to win gold in the 800M this summer, she will be the first American woman to ever win three straight gold medals in the same individual Olympic swimming event.  

1500M Free

The second iteration of a Ledecky jersey would be number 1500. The gap between her and her closest competition is bigger here than in any other event. Her current 1500M world record of 15:20.48 is eighteen seconds faster than the next best time. Eighteen seconds. At the Olympic Trials this year, she won the final by more than ten seconds. 

It’s a good thing the IOC finally got around to adding the event on the women’s side before the greatest female miler ran out of chances to win gold. (Similar to the marathon, back in the dark ages the 1500M swim was deemed too taxing for women.) As John Lohm of Swimming World put it, “To see her anywhere but on the top step of the [1500M] podium would mean disaster struck.”

Between 2013 and 2016, Ledecky posted thirteen of her fourteen career world record breaking swims. There is no clear indication that new world records are on the horizon this summer, almost completely the fault of her own dominant prior self, but she is a gold medal contender, if not landslide favorite, in every single one of her events in Tokyo. 

Cameron Brink likes Caitlin Clark for 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Cameron Brink poses with Caitlin Clark at 2024 wnba draft in new york
Cameron Brink poses with fellow draftee — and possible WNBA ROY —Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Dash winger Maria Sanchez confirms trade request a day shy of NWSL deadline

María Sanchez of Houston Dash during a NWSL game
In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the club worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Maria Sanchez issued a statement on Thursday, confirming recent reports that she has requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

In it, she revealed that the club has been aware of the request "since late March."

"This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I’ve requested an immediate trade," she wrote. "My expectations and reasons have been clear. I trust that my current club’s management will honor my decision in a timely manner and proceed with accepting a trade."

"I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football," she concluded.

Reports of Sanchez's trade request first surfaced on ESPN last week, and were later confirmed by multiple sources. 

In December of last year, Sanchez signed a three-year contract with the Dash valued at $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. It was the largest contract in NWSL history at the time — a figure that would be eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

Sanchez spent the offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning that Houston could match any other team's offer to retain her rights. Should the Dash trade Sanchez, her current contract terms would remain intact, limiting potential buyers to teams able to afford to take on an inking of that size.

The Dash has yet to address the trade, instead reiterating to ESPN that Sanchez is "under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close tonight, April 19th, at 12 a.m. ET. The window will stay closed through the next 11 regular season games, reopening on August 1st, 2024.

Seattle Storm debut state-of-the-art $64 million practice facility

Jewell Loyd #24 of the Seattle Storm during warms up during practice on July 11, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jewell Loyd, seen here practicing at Florida's IMG Academy, and her team are in for a major upgrade this season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The four-time league champion Seattle Storm unveiled their new practice facility on Thursday, with Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel dubbing Interbay's Seattle Storm Center for Basketball Performance the team’s "new home."

"It's just such a special space," Brummel told Fox 13 Seattle. "I think when the players get here, it's gonna be overwhelming."

The sprawling 50,000-square-foot, $64 million property is just the second designated practice facility to be designed and built expressly for a WNBA team, with the Storm further noting that 85% of all design and engineering team members involved in the project's construction were women and people of color. The finished product holds two professional indoor courts, two 3x3 outdoor courts, a state-of-the-art locker room, and players' lounge, plus designated areas for strength and conditioning, kitchen, dining, and nutrition, and recovery. 

"This facility reflects our commitment to providing our athletes an exceptional environment that supports their growth, health, and performance," said Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder in an official team release. "It’s built for women, by women, embodying our dedication to leading the way in professional women’s sports."

For their part, the team can't wait to make the faciilty their own.

"It's amazing," Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Fox 13. "Not having to drive everywhere around, knowing you have access anytime of the day to get into the gym, to workout." 

Head coach Noelle Quinn said she predicts the team is "never going to leave this building."

"Which is a good thing for me," she continued. "You talk about having an edge in performance. We want our athletes to not only perform on the court, but get whatever they need."

All of the Storm's staff and operations will now live under one roof, and the team also has plans to launch a youth basketball program operating out of the building.

Mystics relocate game to accommodate Caitlin Clark fans

Maya Caldwell, Erica Wheeler, and Lexie Hull of the Indiana Fever celebrate Caitlin Clark
Get ready — Caitlin Clark is coming to town. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Caitlin Clark effect is quickly making its mark on the big leagues, as WNBA host teams around the country rush to upgrade their Fever games to larger arenas in order to accommodate surging ticket sales.

With Clark mere weeks away from her Indiana Fever debut, both the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have officially relocated their scheduled home games with head coach Christie Sides' squad. On Thursday, the Mystics became the latest to adjust their plans, moving their June 7th matchup from Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southwest DC to the more centrally located — and much larger — Capital One Arena "due to unprecedented demand."

The Mystics home court's capacity taps out at 4,200, while Capital One Arena — home to the Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoya's Men's Basketball — can fit nearly five times that crowd at some 20,000 spectators.

"The move to Capital One Arena will allow for additional fans in the stands as well as premium hospitality options, including Suites and the all-new all-inclusive courtside Hennessy Lofts," the team announced via Thursday's press release.

The Aces were one of the first teams to switch venues, aiming to take on the Indiana Fever in front of as many as 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena on July 2nd. That’s a sizable a boost from their home venue, which holds just 12,000.

For those still planning to face the Fever in their home arenas, ticket prices have skyrocketed. Previously scheduled construction has already forced the LA Sparks to relocate their first five games — including their May 24th clash with the Fever — to Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. The temporary venue is quite the downsize, holding just 4,000 in comparison to Arena's near-19,000. As of Friday, the get-in price for that game started around $400.

Despite fans launching a petition urging relocation, the Chicago Sky say they're unable to move their June 23rd Fever meeting from Wintrust Arena's 10,000-seat facility to the 23,500-seat United Center due to a concert. Tickets for that game start around $325 as of Friday.

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