Sports

Four of America's biggest swimming stars double up at the US swimming trials

INDIANAPOLIS — (AP) — Four of America's biggest swimming stars doubled up at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials on Thursday night.

Lilly King left with another big prize.

An engagement ring.

Ryan Murphy, Regan Smith, Kate Douglass and King all claimed a second individual event in Paris with their performances in the temporary pool at Lucas Oil Stadium.

But the most dramatic moment came just off the deck.

King's boyfriend, former Indiana University swimmer James Wells, pulled out a ring, dropped to a knee and asked her to marry him.

She said yes with a kiss and a big hug.

In the pool, Murphy touched first in the men's 200-meter backstroke, adding to his triumph in the 100 back. Smith won the women's 200 butterfly after previously setting a world record in the 100 backstroke. And Douglass followed up her win a night earlier in the 100 freestyle with a victory in the 200 breaststroke.

King rallied to finish behind Douglass, edging Alex Walsh for the second U.S. spot at the Olympics. King had previously won the 100 breaststroke.

Murphy used his stunning underwater technique to hold off Keaton Jones and Jack Akins, finishing in 1 minute, 54.33 seconds. He punched the water in triumph when he saw his name atop the scoreboard for the second time in the meet.

Jones claimed the second spot at the Olympics in 1:54.61, while it was another heartbreaking finish for Akins. He was third in 1:54.78, the same position he had in the 100 backstroke when he missed a Paris berth by two-hundredths of a second.

Smith trailed 17-year-old Alex Shackell at the final turn but rallied to win in 2:05.70. Shackell, from suburban Carmel, thrilled the home crowd by claiming an Olympic berth in 2:06.69

Shackell is heading to the Olympics with her 19-year-old brother Aaron, who made the team by winning the 400 freestyle on the opening night of the trials. Their father, Nick Shackell, represented Britain at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

Douglass dominated the 200 breaststroke, going out under world-record pace over the first half of the race and finishing in 2:19.46.

King was third at the final turn, but turned up the pace on the final lap for a runner-up finish of 2:21.93.

Walsh, a silver medalist in the 200 individual medley at Tokyo Olympics, failed to join her sister Gretchen on this Olympic team. Alex Walsh still has a shot to make the squad in the 200 IM, which begins Friday.

Caeleb Dressel bounced back with the second-fastest time in the semifinals of the 50 freestyle, one night after a third-place finish in the 100 free cost him a chance to defend his Olympic title in that event.

Dressel will need to finish in the top two of the 50 free final Friday night to claim his first individual race of the Paris Games. The tattooed Floridian was one of the biggest stars in Tokyo, winning five gold medals, but he hasn't been as dominant since returning from a long layoff.

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

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