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Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone wins 400-meter title at US championships after switching from hurdles

<i>Ashley Landis/AP</i><br/>Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone breaks the tape at the US track and field championships.
Ashley Landis/AP
Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone breaks the tape at the US track and field championships.

By George Ramsay, CNN

(CNN) — Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone underlined her status as one of the best athletes in the world with a dominant 400-meter performance at the US track and field championships.

McLaughlin-Levrone, the world record holder in the 400-meter hurdles, switched to the flat event this year and on Saturday claimed the national title with a time of 48.74 seconds at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

That was just 0.04 seconds slower than Sanya Richards-Ross’ American record and put McLaughlin-Levrone 10th on the all-time list.

“It was a culmination of everything,” she told Citius Mag of her performance. “I think we’ve been continuing to progress through this year and put the pieces together.

“Learning a new event is always a little interesting and I think today was a little bit of the front end getting put together, the back end getting put together and taking a sigh of relief.”

The victory on the same track as her world record last year sees McLaughlin-Levrone book her spot on the US team for next month’s world championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Britton Wilson finished second in 49.79 and defending champion Talitha Diggs was third in 49.93.

The 23-year-old McLaughlin-Levrone has carried huge expectations this season after switching events, with many tipping her to break the long-standing 400-meter world record of 47.60 seconds during her career.

Having raced at meets in Paris and New York last month, this was her most complete performance over the new distance to date and the first time she has run under 49 seconds.

“The greats always push themselves and I want to be one of them, so I have to push myself and get out of my comfort zone,” McLaughlin-Levrone said in her trackside interview, according to Reuters. “I’m just happy to be here.”

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