Minnesota will have a strong contingent at the 2020 Olympic Games next month but for Lakeville's Regan Smith, the quest for a spot in the 200-meter backstroke ended in disappointment.
Smith failed to qualify in the event after finishing third at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Saturday. The 19-year-old set the world record with a time of 2:03.35 in 2019 and finished with her best time of the year of 2:07.86 on Saturday but it wasn't enough to hold off Rhyan White and Phoebe Smith.
White won the event with a time of 2:05.73 while Bacon (2:06.46) edged out Smith by three-tenths of a second to qualify for Tokyo.
While Smith won't be competing in the 200-meter backstroke, she will still head to the Olympics with a season-best and U.S. Open record time of 57.92 seconds in the 100-meter backstroke. Smith also qualified in the 200-meter fly with a second-place finish and a time of 2:06.99.
Minnetonka's Kleckler qualifies for track
Joe Kleckler will be heading to Tokyo after he placed third in the 10,000-meter race during the USA Track & Field Olympic Trials on Friday.
Kleckler (27:54.90) finished behind Woody Kincaid (27:53.62) and Grant Fisher (27:54.29) thanks to a surge in the final 800 meters. The 24-year-old turned it on at the end of the race with a time of 1:58.36 over the final stretch and ran the final quarter-mile of the 6.2-mile race in 54.54 seconds to secure the spot on his first Olympic team.
The Minnetonka native was a star at Hopkins, setting the state record in the 1,600-meter run, leading the Royals to the Class AA Boys Track & Field Championship, and winning the Gatorade Minnesota Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year in 2015.
Kleckler continued his career at Colorado where he was a nine-time All-American and holds the school record in the 5,000-meter run. Kleckler also ranks second in school history in the mile and 3,000-meter run.
St. Paul's Suni Lee could qualify this week
Suni Lee could be the next Minnesotan to qualify for the Olympic Games when she competes at the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials in St. Louis.
The event will commence in St. Louis with the men competing on June 24 and 26 while the women on June 25 and 27. The top two gymnasts in each event will earn their spot on the U.S. Olympic team with the remaining four gymnasts to be selected by a selection committee based on rankings and performances.
Lee is coming off a strong showing at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, where she finished second in the All-Around competition to Simone Biles. The strength of her bid comes from her performance on the uneven bars where she finished in first place at the championships with a score of 30.200.
The competition for a spot on the team should be wide open after world champions Morgan Herd and Chellsie Memmel along with two-time Olympic medalist Laurie Hernandez have been ruled out due to injuries. With Lee fully recovered from an ankle injury, she should be one of the favorites to earn a spot on the team..