Lochte wins big, in and out of the pool

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Surprise, surprise: Ryan Lochte won another race Thursday night.

Lochte and a host of his USA Swimming national teammates are at the University of Texas for the Winter National Championships, a short-course-yards meet. Lochte won the 200m IM, a race, at least in long-course competitions, he all but owned from 2009 until last summer. As you remember, Phelps beat him at the London Olympics.

Now that Phelps is the proud owner of an AARP card, the race is Lochte’s to lose once again.

Other winners included Katie Ledecky (women’s 500y freestyle), who recently took home the Golden Goggles for Breakout Performer of the Year and Female Race of the Year, Jessica Hardy (women’s 50y freestyle) and Matt Grevers (men’s 50y freestyle).

One-time Olympian (and five-time Olympic medalist) Missy Franklin took third in the women’s 200y IM.

The victory came at a good time for Lochte, who announced this morning that he had signed with entertainment and sports agency CAA (Creative Artists Agency). The company has offices across the world, including Los Angeles – where Lochte was rumored to be relocating earlier this fall. He ultimately stayed put in Gainesville, Fla. but we wonder if this new development will bring him to the west coast to train and further develop the Ryan Lochte brand. CAA’s list of athletes includes Olympic snowboarder Shaun White, soccer player David Beckham, hockey player Sidney Crosby and NFL quarterback Tony Romo.

Lochte recently appeared in GQ Magazine’s “Least Influential People of 2012” list. The magazine ripped him pretty badly so today’s news is sure to provide a boost. Warning: This slideshow contains strong language and is not for the kids.

Katie Ledecky wins by 28 seconds on 21st birthday to close NCAAs

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Katie Ledecky capped her second NCAA Championships with a win by 28 seconds in the 1,650-yard freestyle on her 21st birthday Saturday.

Last year, Ledecky lapped all but one swimmer through 1,000 yards of the 1650 final and won by 21.19 seconds.

Earlier this week, Ledecky anchored Stanford to an 800 freestyle relay title and won the 500 free by a record margin of more than eight seconds.

Then on Friday, teammate Ella Eastin beat Ledecky by 3.69 seconds in the 400 individual medley, an event that Ledecky never swims on the major international level. Eastin broke Ledecky’s NCAA record by 1.93 seconds.

Ledecky hasn’t discussed with Stanford whether she will return for her junior season or turn pro, according to the school.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins final slalom for best career season (video)

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Mikaela Shiffrin won her 12th World Cup race this season and seventh slalom, both personal bests, at the World Cup Finals in Are, Sweden, on Saturday.

Shiffrin, who clinched her second World Cup overall title and fifth slalom season title before the last races of the campaign this weekend, prevailed by 1.58 seconds over Swiss Wendy Holdener. PyeongChang gold medalist Frida Hansdotter of Sweden was third.

“The slalom has always been really close to my heart,” said Shiffrin, who won the last two slaloms this season after a shocking fourth-place finish in PyeongChang. “To finish with a run like that was super special.”

Full results are here.

Shiffrin matched Lindsey Vonn‘s American record for World Cup wins in one season — 12 — with one more race Sunday. Only Swiss Vreni Schneider has more women’s World Cup wins in a single campaign with 14.

Shiffrin, who turned 23 on Tuesday, also moved into solo fifth place on the women’s World Cup wins list with 43, including 23 victories in the last two seasons.

If Shiffrin keeps it up, she can move into the top three next season, though Lindsey Vonn‘s record 82 is a ways off.

“I’m not thinking about that so much,” Shiffrin said. “It’s way too soon to set that as my goal.”

Shiffrin is also three World Cup slalom wins shy of the record 35 held by retired Austrian Marlies Schild, whom Shiffrin supplanted as the world’s top slalom skier in 2013.

The World Cup Finals conclude Sunday with the women’s giant slalom. Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will air live coverage of the second run at 7:30 a.m. ET.

“After today I’m really looking forward to going to the start one more time this season and hammering down,” Shiffrin said.

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