Richardson, Crouser star at U.S. trials
The Associated Press

Former Carter sprinter Sha ’Carri Richardson ran the fastest time in women’s 100 meters qualifying, and UT-ex Ryan Crouser(above) broke the longstanding shot put world record at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials, Callie Caplan writes.

EUGENE, Ore. — At times as a child, Sha’Carri Richardson would run so quickly from one room to the next in her Dallas home that her grandma, Betty Harp, wouldn’t even realize Richardson was present.

Viewers at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on Friday might’ve felt the same.

Richardson ran the first round of the women’s 100 meters in 10.84, the top time among all 29 runners across four heats.

The 21-year-old, who graduated from Carter in 2018, will be on the move again soon.

The women’s 100 semifinals will start at 8:03 p.m. (Dallas time) on Saturday. Should Richardson finish in the top eight from both heats, she’ll race in the 100 final less than two hours later, when the top three will clinch a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Richardson is two races and one day from her biggest dream.

“As big as it is, and the meaning and importance of this race, just remembering that it’s another race,” Richardson said. “This is what I do, This is how I practice. So coming in, I just literally just thought to continue to do what I’ve been doing. Don’t change anything because why fix something that’s not broken?”

Richardson, who is also qualified to the 200 meters next weekend, showed little sign of intimidation on the biggest stage of her career — so far.

For her, that meant her trials debut showcased fashionable flair.

After a 15-second introduction about her career highlights from the Hayward Field public address announcer, Richardson flashed peace signs to the crowd and nodded her head. Then, she let her orange hair flow without a ponytail and put on a sprinting show for her growing fanbase, which comes with running in the premiere race each Olympic cycle.

Richardson eased as she approached the finish line a few strides ahead of her competitors — with an untied shoelace.

“I’ll be sure to lace them up and tuck them for the next rounds to come,” Richardson said with a laugh.

Her aunt Shay was in the stands, and many close supporters — all of whom have long heard about Richardson’s Olympic aspirations — watched the TV broadcast from Dallas.

Richardson entered as the No. 1 overall qualifier with a blazing 10.72 time, which she logged in April at the USA Track and Field Golden Games. The mark is the sixth fastest women’s 100 time in history, .23 seconds behind the record of Florence Griffith-Joyner, Richardson’s idol.

Richardson wasn’t the only local product to advance in their respective events Friday.

Ryan Crouser, who graduated from Texas in 2016, broke a 31-year-old world record at 76 feet 81/4 inches on his fifth attempt in the men’s shot put final. Five years after winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Crouser officially clinched his berth to Tokyo and the opportunity to repeat.

“There was definitely things that I can take from each throw,” Crouser said, “and continue to improve and work toward that perfect throw.”

At the same time as Crouser’s performance, 2019 Mansfield Lake Ridge graduate Jasmine Moore, a sophomore at Georgia, finished second in the triple jump qualifying. She jumped 46-03/4 on her second attempt. She is on pace to finish in the top three of the final at 7:55 p.m. Sunday.

Courtney Okolo, a 2012 Carrollton Newman Smith graduate, finished her first-round 400-meter race in 52.37, fourth in her heat and 15th out of 28 total competitors. She advanced to the women’s 400 semifinals at 7:20 p.m. Saturday.

Okolo, who also starred at Texas, won gold with the U.S. 4x400-meter relay team in Rio.

Arlington Lamar 2014 graduate Erich Sullins finished eighth in the men’s hammer throw qualifying with a 234-feet mark. As part of the top 12 in the 24-athlete field, Sullins will participate in the hammer throw final, scheduled for 6:25 p.m. Sunday.

The 25-year-old Sullins, who also played offensive line for Lamar’s football team, was primarily a discus thrower in high school before attending Arkansas and setting program records in his new discipline.

Twitter: @CallieCaplan

■ Ryan Murphy, Lilly King qualified for second Olympic swimming events.

OMAHA, Neb. — After beating only one other swimmer, Ryan Lochte was the last one to climb from the pool.

He struggled to lift himself out of the water, undoubtedly feeling all of his 36 years after attempting to make one more Olympic team in the grueling 200-meter individual medley.

In the end, he didn’t come close.

There won’t be a chance for redemption in Tokyo.

After embarrassing himself five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, Lochte’s bid for a fifth Olympics ended with a labored, seventh-place finish in the 200 IM at the U.S. swimming trials Friday night.

Youth was served in a race that requires one lap using each of swimming’s four strokes.

That was something Lochte just didn’t have.

Michael Andrew — 14 years his junior — romped to victory by going under world record pace over the first three laps and holding on in the freestyle for a winning time of 1 minute, 55.44 seconds.

Chase Kalisz, who already had won the 400 individual medley at these trials, claimed another Olympic event by finishing next in 1:56.97.

Lochte lagged far behind, touching in 1:59.67. That was nearly 6 seconds off the world record he still holds, a time of 1:54.00 from the 2011 world championships in the prime of his brilliant career.

A tearful Lochte wouldn’t go as far as saying his swimming days are over.

Everyone in the race sensed the significance of the moment. Kalisz waited at the edge of the pool to dole out a hug. Andrew did the same.

Even Michael Phelps, Lochte’s longtime rival who retired after the 2016 Rio Games, came down the from the stands to embrace Lochte.

In other events, Ryan Murphy romped to victory in the 200 backstroke, adding to his triumph in the 100 back, while Abby Weitzel won the 100 freestyle.

Lilly King also booked a second event in Tokyo, though she didn’t tough the wall first. The outspoken American settled for the runner-up spot in the 200 breaststroke, touching the wall nearly three-quarters of a second behind Annie Lazor.

King had previously won the 100 breast.

Caeleb Dressel, who is expected to succeed Phelps and Lochte as the big star in the U.S. men’s team, looked unbeatable in the semifinals of the 100 butterfly. He led the way in 49.76, while no one else cracked the 50-second barrier.

Bryce Mefford took the likely second Olympic spot behind Murphy in 1:54.79. No one else was within a second of the top two.

Weitzell’s winning time in the 100 free was 53.53, with Erika Brown taking the second individual spot for Tokyo in 53.59. Olivia Smoliga (53.63) and Natalie Hinds (53.84) finished third and fourth to earn spots on the 4x100 free relay.

Hinds became the first Black swimmer to make this Olympic team.

Manuel upset: Tears welled in Simone Manuel’s eyes. Her voice broke as she revealed the heartbreaking reason behind her failure to advance in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic trials.

The first Black woman ever to win an individual swimming gold medal at the Olympics was diagnosed with overtraining syndrome — or burnout — in late March. She’d never heard of it before. Her mother looked up the condition online. At first, Manuel modified her training at Stanford for two weeks.

“I wasn’t seeing any progress with my performance in the pool,” she said Thursday night. “It actually was declining.”

Manuel first noticed in January that she seemed off. But it wasn’t until two months later that “my body completely crashed.” Her symptoms included increased heart rate while at rest and in training, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and muscle soreness.

Workouts that once were easy became harder. She’d snap at her mother’s questions over the phone from Texas and eventually isolated herself from her family. She had trouble eating. She talked to sports psychologists.

Finally, Manuel, 24, was forced to stop training and stay out of the pool for three weeks as a way to let her body rest.

But the break came at the worst possible time. She didn’t resume training until April 17. Hardly enough time to ramp back up and try to qualify for the postponed Tokyo Games.

Manuel has one more chance to make the team in the 50 free preliminaries starting Saturday.

The Associated Press