This week, Spring Grove High School graduate Hali Flickinger will again try to prove she’s among the best swimmers in the world.
Flickinger is set to compete in the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary, starting Wednesday. It’s her first-ever appearance in the event.
Flickinger is scheduled to compete in the 200-meter butterfly, an event she won at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in late June. That qualified her for the world championships.
Flickinger won her national crown with a time of 2 minutes, 7.60 seconds. Her winning time is the 10th fastest in the world for the 200 fly this year. Her career-best time in the event is 2:06.67.
The former York YMCA standout also competed in the 200 fly during the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she finished seventh.
Spain's Mireia Belmonte took gold in the 200 fly at Rio and is considered the heavy favorite in Budapest. Her winning time at Rio was 2:04.85. Germany's Franziska Hentke has the fastest time in the world this year at 2:06.18.
Flickinger, who excelled at the University of Georgia, is set to compete in the second of four heats on Wednesday at 4:17 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The top 16 swimmers will advance to the semifinals, scheduled for a session that begins at 11:30 a.m. EST Wednesday. The 200 fly final, featuring the top eight swimmers, is scheduled for a session that starts at 11:30 a.m. EST Thursday.
Preliminary heats will be televised on the Olympic Channel, with semifinals and finals on NBCSN.
Ledecky breezes to third gold: In Tuesday's action from Budapest, Katie Ledecky breezed to her third gold medal of the world championships.
It was left to Lilly King, Kylie Masse and Adam Peaty, however, to take down the swimming record book.
Ledecky captured the 1,500-meter freestyle by more than half the length of the pool on Tuesday, and returned just 49 minutes later to post the fastest time in the semifinals of the 200 free.
While Ledecky sucked all the drama out of her event — she was more than 19 seconds ahead of the runner-up — King’s performance marked another notch for the finger-wagging American in her rivalry with Russian star Yulia Efimova.
King won gold at the Rio Olympics last summer after spurning Efimova and brazenly proclaiming she had no business being allowed to compete because of doping violations.
Efimova nearly broke Ruta Meilutyte’s 4-year-old record in the semifinals, giving her the prime lane in the middle of the pool. But King, racing right beside her, was the one who came through when it really counted. She got off to a blistering start and led all the way, touching in 1 minute, 4.13 seconds to shave 0.22 off the Lithuanian’s mark from the 2013 worlds in Barcelona.
King defiantly pounded the water when she saw the time, then turned to congratulate the runner-up — American teammate Katie Meili, who edged out the Russian for the silver.
Ledecky, meanwhile, covered the metric mile in 15:31.82 — more than 6 seconds off her world-record pace from the world championships in Kazan, Russia, two years ago.
Peaty, Britain’s breaststroke lion with the tattoo to match, broke a pair of 50-meter breaststroke marks — one in the morning preliminaries, another in the evening semifinals. Peaty’s prelims time of 26.10 shaved 0.32 seconds off the standard he set at the 2015 worlds in Kazan. He went even faster during the semis of the non-Olympic event, touching in 25.95. The final in the event is Wednesday.
Masse took down another record from the rubber-suit era. She won the women’s 100 backstroke in 51.10 — 0.02 better than the mark set by Britain’s Gemma Spofforth’s at the 2009 worlds in Rome, the last hurrah for the performance-enhancing suits that allowed swimmers to essentially rewrite the record book.
In all, five world records have been set in Budapest.
It was a big night for the Chinese team, as well. Sun Yang captured his second gold of the championships, adding the 200 free gold to his victory in the 400 free. Xu Jiayu touched first in the 100 backstroke, beating out Americans Matt Grevers and Ryan Murphy, who settled for silver and bronze.