Swimming: U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Coughlin and her coach may (or may not) be in a tiff

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Neither U.S. swimmer Natalie Coughlin nor her long-time coach, Terri McKeever, seem to know if they’ve had a falling out since an Olympics experience in London that was a little awkward for the pair.

Coughlin won bronze in London in the 4x100m freestyle relay, her twelfth career medal tying her with Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson as the most decorated lady swimmers of all-time. But she won the medal after only participating in the prelims and then – surprisingly – being dropped from the squad that raced in the final, a decision made by McKeever, who coached the women’s team in London. Naturally, the snub has everyone wondering if there’s bad blood between the two.

“No, no, no, no,” Coughlin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’ve been with Teri for 12 years. Our relationship is good… Teri’s been the most important figure in my swimming career. Our relationship is good; it’s fine.”

McKeever, who guided the U.S. women to 14 total medals this summer, seemed less certain.

“I don’t know that, to be honest,” McKeever was quoted as saying. “I would hope it doesn’t hurt our relationship. … I am proud of our relationship and what we accomplished over the last 12 years, 12 amazing years that have changed my life and her life.”

McKeever said she made the tough call to drop Coughlin in part because she was uncomfortable with how fast Coughlin made the exchange in swimming her leg of the prelims. The exceptionally fast exchange clocked in at 0:00, meaning Coughlin came as close as possible to leaving the block before her teammate touched the wall, narrowly avoiding an error that would have disqualified the team. It also meant that Coughlin’s split time, the fastest of among her teammates in the qualifying round, was deceptive. All that made McKeever nervous and led to her controversial choice.

After her disappointing showing in London, which Coughlin chalked up to a bad season, the swimming legend says she’s unsure of what’s next. The 30-year-old says she has made no decisions yet about her future and is leaving the door firmly open to continue her illustrious career.

It’s a decision she says she plans to make with McKeever’s input – but that’s a conversation that would necessitate, you know, talking to each other.

World record smashed at Paris Diamond League

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AP
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PARIS (AP) — Olympic champion Ruth Jebet broke the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase world record by six seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday

Meanwhile, Kendra Harrison won the 100 hurdles without beating her own record.

The 19-year-old Jebet, born in Kenya and running for Bahrain, clocked 8 minutes, 52.78 seconds at Stade de France.

The previous record was 8:58.81 by Gulnara Samitova-Galkina of Russia at the 2008 Beijing Games.

“I tried many times to beat the world record,” Jebet said. “I was not expecting such a big difference with the record.”

Jebet’s performance was so dominant that she beat Diamond League rival Hyvin Kiyeng of Kenya by nearly 10 seconds, and Emma Coburn of the U.S. by almost 20.

Harrison won the 100 hurdles in 12.44 seconds, followed by American countrywoman Dawn Harper-Nelson (12.65).

“I felt all right even though I kicked a few hurdles, which made me a bit upset,” Harrison said. “The start wasn’t that great. Now I have a few days off, so I’m really looking forward to Zurich [on Thursday].”

Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers won the 200 in 22.13, and American Natasha Hastings won the 400 in 50.06.

Ben Youssef Meite of the Ivory Coast won the 100 in 9.96 seconds, followed by South African Akani Simbine and Dutchman Churandy Martina.

Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre, the Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 meters, pulled out after feeling a twinge when warming up.

“I didn’t feel well,” Lemaitre said. “There’s no point tempting the devil and getting injured.”

Kenyan Nicholas Bett won the men’s 400 hurdles, beating American Kerron Clement, while Kenyan Alfred Kipketer won the 800 meters.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Kenyan Yomif Kejelcha won the men’s 3,000 in 7:28.19, the fastest time this year.

Olympic silver medalist Renaud Lavillenie of France won the pole vault with an effort of 5.93 meters, Czech Jakub Vadlejch won the javelin, and American Chris Carter won the triple jump in 16.92 meters, with Cuban Alexis Copello second in 16.90.

Tom Walsh of New Zealand just beat Ryan Crouser of the U.S., the Olympic champion, by one centimeter in the shot put.

Britain’s Laura Muir set the leading time this year to win the 1,500 in 3:55.22.

“I couldn’t believe the time, especially since I didn’t do one track session since Rio,” Muir said. “I knew I had to dig in and hold on during the third lap.”

Serbian Ivana Spanovic won the long jump, Spaniard Ruth Beitia won the high jump, and Croatian Sandra Perkovic clinched the discus.

David Ortiz weighed down by Aly Raisman’s medals (video)

David Ortiz, Aly Raisman
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David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.

“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”

Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.

It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.

Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.

She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.

“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”

Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.

MORE: Gymnastics royalty reacts to Biles and Raisman’s Olympic heroics