More than 15 members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic swim team are in Austin, Texas this week for the AT&T Winter National Championships.
Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin, who recently competed at the Minneapolis Grand Prix, headline the list of swimmers. Others include Allison Schmitt, Matt Grevers, Nathan Adrian, Jessica Hardy and Ricky Berens.
The Thursday-Saturday meet will be contested in a short-course yards format at the University of Texas, which means the times will differ from those at the Olympics – they’ll be lower than those long-course marks because yards are shorter than meters. Also, short-course times are typically faster because of the benefit of pushing off the walls.
So it’s no stretch to say that we’ll see some low times in Austin this week.
Many of the swimmers are using the meet as preparation for the Short-Course World Championships, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey Dec. 12-16. In Franklin’s case, the Nationals meet is a the prelude to her final high school season after the 17-year-old decided to swim for Regis Jesuit her senior season.
One swimmer we’re anxious to watch this weekend is Garrett Weber-Gale, who lives and trains in Austin. He famously won gold with the 4x100m freestyle relay team at the Beijing Olympics (read: Jason Lezak and the greatest relay swim in history) but at the 2012 Olympic Trials, Weber-Gale fell short of his goal to make the London team in the 50m and 100m freestyles and the 4x100m freestyle relay. The founder of AthleticFoodie.com, Weber-Gale recently said he’s focusing on the Short-Course Worlds for now but left the door open for what he’ll do the next three years leading up to the 2016 Olympics.
Watch prelims and finals live from Austin at USASwimming.com, and be sure to catch NBC’s coverage Sunday from 2-3 p.m. ET.
We already knew Katie Ledecky can beat the boys in practice, even an Olympic champion.
One of the many takeaways from this week’s Sports Illustrated profile of Ledecky is that she has beaten 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte in practice.
Ledecky and Lochte may rep different swim clubs — Ledecky in Washington, D.C., and Lochte in Charlotte — but they both take trips to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., for altitude training.
“She swims like a guy,” Lochte said after training with Ledecky in Colorado Springs in March, according to SI. “I’ve never seen a female swimmer like that. … Her times are becoming good for a guy. She’s beating me now, and I’m like, What’s going on?”
When Ledecky broke the women’s 1500m freestyle world record for the third time at the August 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, her time of 15:28.36 was .01 faster than Lochte’s 1500m free time at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials (one of the rare instances Lochte swam a 1500m free).
Ledecky has since re-broken the women’s 1500m free world record twice more, bringing it down to 15:25.48.
“I trained with her in Colorado once, and she made me look like I was stopping,” Lochte reportedly told media on his 31st birthday, Aug. 3 at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia. “She flew by me.”
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Athens Olympic softball champion Jennie Finch will manage the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent minor-league baseball team on Sunday and, reportedly, become the first woman to manage a men’s pro baseball team.
Finch, a pitcher, retired from softball in 2010, two years after her sport’s Olympic farewell in Beijing, where she and the U.S. took silver behind Japan.
Finch has been an advocate for softball’s return to the Olympics, which could happen in Tokyo 2020.
The International Olympic Committee is expected to decide in August if baseball and softball, among four other sports, will be added for the Tokyo Games.
Finch, who is married to former MLB pitcher Casey Daigle, is also known for having struck out Albert Pujols.
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