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At swimming trials, Ledecky keeping an eye on NHL playoffs

Katie Ledecky is keeping an eye on the NHL playoffs. Her uncle, Jon Ledecky, is a co-owner of the New York Islanders.

OMAHA, Nebraska — Even as she attempts to qualify for her third U.S. Olympic team, champion swimmer Katie Ledecky is keeping an eye on the NHL playoffs.

Her uncle, Jon Ledecky, is a co-owner of the New York Islanders. The team has advanced to the final four of the Stanley Cup playoffs, facing the Tampa Bay Lightning in a best-of-seven series for the chance to take on either Las Vegas or Montreal in the final.

Game 1 is Sunday. Katie Ledekcy will be watching from Omaha, where she is competing in the U.S. Olympic swimming trials that also begin Sunday.

“I actually will be able to because I don’t have a race” on the opening day of the meet, she said. “I’m thrilled. It’s so exciting.”

The Islanders are attempting to capture their first Stanley Cup since 1983, when a dynasty led by Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier and Denis Potvin won the last of four straight championships.

“I love the Islanders,” Katie Ledekcy said. “I’ve watched I think almost every regular-season game this year. During the pandemic, I made sure I was able to watch the games because it provided a little bit of entertainment. So I’m a big fan of the team and I’ll be cheering them on.”

Credit: AP
In this April 11, 2021, file photo, Katie Ledecky competes in the women's 1500-meter freestyle final at the TYR Pro Swim Series swim meet in Mission Viejo, Calif. Ledecky finished first. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

The 24-year-old Ledekcy is expected to be one of the biggest stars at the Tokyo Olympics. She won four golds and a silver at the 2016 Rio Games.

Jon Ledekcy is planning to be in Omaha for at least some of his niece's races, she said.

“I think he’s doing a little bit of back and forth this week, which will be interesting,” Katie said.

The Islanders are planning to move into a new arena at Belmont Park next season.

“Obviously, I can’t go to any games right now, but in the fall they’re opening up a new arena, so I’m hoping I can go to some of those games in the fall,” Katie Ledecky said.

For now, she's focused on swimming — and a bit of playoff hockey from afar.