Missy Franklin

Swimmers Franklin, Lochte return to the pool in Austin

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Missy Franklin is back.

The 17-year-old swimmer, who won four gold medals and one bronze at the London Olympics last summer, recently made waves when she returned to high school meets. Now she’ll make her 2013 debut at the national level at this weekend’s Austin Grand Prix.

Franklin will be joined by 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte and a host of other Olympians, including Chloe Sutton, Kate Ziegler, Nathan Adrian, Matt Grevers, Ricky Berens, Tyler Clary and Conor Dwyer. The meet will be contested at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center at the University of Texas.

Action starts Friday morning with prelims; finals will be Friday-Sunday night.

Here are three things to watch at the meet:

Low numbers
Typically at these Grand Prix meets, swimmers have to navigate a chaotic scene in the pool during warm-ups. There are so many swimmers that it’s a wonder collisions don’t occur. (Actually they do – Michael Phelps broke his goggles after colliding with Australian Cate Campbell at the 2009 World Championships.) We won’t see those kinds of problems in Austin this weekend, however. It’s a much smaller field at this meet, with some events like the women’s 200m breaststroke boasting just seven swimmers. Others like the men’s 200m freestyle has 38 entries.

We checked with USA Swimming, who told us the reason is that the time standards were lowered for Austin and for the next Grand Prix meet in Orlando. For the three meets after that, the times are a bit more lax – so we should see bigger fields then.

Men’s 100m freestyle
With nine Olympians in the field (including the top seven seeds), this will probably be the most exciting race of the meet. There’s Nathan Adrian, who won the gold medal in London by .01 of a second. Lochte’s there too, as is Jimmy Feigen, Garrett Weber-Gale, Grevers, Berens, Anthony Irvin, Dwyer and Charlie Houchin. That group owns a combined 31 Olympic medals.

Missy’s medals
How many races will Missy Franklin win? She’s entered in six events – 100m/200m/400m freestyle, 100m/200m backstroke and the 200m IM. The backstroke is her best stroke so figure she’ll win those two races. She’s strong in the 100m and 200m freestyle – let’s go with one gold and one silver. The 400m freestyle is a toss up. Franklin’s not known as an IMer but she’s not competing against a real strong field, so let’s assume she’ll at least win a medal (silver, for the sake of this blog post). That’s five medals – three gold and two silver. Agree?

Watch the action Saturday and Sunday night on Universal Sports TV.

Canada crushes U.S. in World Hockey Championship opener

Tyler Motte, Mark Stone
AP
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Canada beat the U.S. for the 39th time in 43 games in World Hockey Championship history, 5-1 in the biggest rout between the two rivals since 1997 in their Worlds opener in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.

NHL players Brad MarchandTaylor Hall, Matt Duchene, Brendan Gallagher and Boone Jenner scored for Canada, which came back from a 1-0 deficit.

The U.S. had New Jersey Devils backup Keith Kincaid in goal. Canada started Edmonton Oilers No. 1 Cam Talbot, who allowed a first-period goal to Patrick Maroon.

The U.S., bronze-medal winner in 2013 and 2015, and reigning World champion Canada are in the same eight-team group at Worlds.

The top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals that begin May 19.

The U.S. next plays Belarus on Saturday. Full NBC Sports broadcast coverage information of Worlds is here.

MORE: 2018 Olympic hockey groups determined

Lindsey Vonn sails with America’s Cup champion (video)

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Lindsey Vonn continued her offseason tour by sailing with Oracle Team USA, winner of the last two America’s Cups, in the Hudson River in New York City on Thursday.

That came one day after Vonn joined Tom BradyJordan Spieth and Vanilla Ice at an Under Armour party in Baltimore.

Vonn is next expected to hit Louisville for this weekend’s Kentucky Derby.

NBC Sports will present live coverage of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series from New York at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday (NBC Sports Live Extra) and Sunday (NBCSN, Live Extra).

MORE: Vonn details ‘excruciating pain’ from season-ending crash