23-year-old Carlijn Schoutens became the first champion at the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials when she earned the fastest time in the women’s 3000m.
With a time of 4:14:022, Schoutens was the fastest by over a second a half. Schoutens was mostly raised in the Netherlands, which is known for being a hotbed of speed skating talent–and as a result, the deepest and most competitive pool of potential Olympic speed skaters. Schoutens came to the U.S., where she was born, in 2014 in hopes of representing Team USA on the Olympic stage.
The U.S. earned only one quota spot in the women’s 3000m distance, meaning only the winner of today’s race was guaranteed an Olympic berth.
Schoutens is ranked 13th in the 3000m this World Cup season, the only U.S. woman in the top 24.
The second-place skater was Mia Manganello, who retired from speed skating after missing out on the Olympic team for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. She turned to professional cycling for six years, but decided to get back on the ice in 2015. Manganello will have another chance to make the Olympic team for PyeongChang in the women’s 5000m event, which will take place on Thursday.
Manganello’s time was 4:15.730, and the third-place finisher, Petra Acker, clocked 4:18.844.