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.

Kara Goucher won’t race U.S. Olympic Trials, report says

Kara Goucher
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Kara Goucher ended her bid to make a third straight U.S. Olympic team, saying she won’t contest the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on July 2, according to Competitor.com.

That likely means the end of Goucher’s Olympic career, as she is 37. In 2020, she will be older than any previous U.S. Olympic runner except Meb Keflezighi.

Goucher, the 2007 World Championships 10,000m bronze medalist, finished ninth and 10th in the 2008 Olympic 5000m and 10,000m. She took 11th in the 2012 Olympic marathon, making the London team after giving birth to boy Colt on Sept. 25, 2010.

She failed to make the Rio Olympic marathon team, taking fourth at the Olympic Trials on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles, where the top three secured Olympic berths.

Goucher said after racing Feb. 13 that she would contest the 10,000m at the Olympic Track and Field Trials on July 2, but her recovery hasn’t gone as well as hoped, she said, according to Competitor.com.

Goucher is instead expected to race a fall marathon.

MORE: Ethiopian legend not on Olympic marathon team

Claressa Shields sets U.S. boxing history with repeat World title

Claressa Shields
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Claressa Shields can make her case as the most decorated U.S. amateur boxer in history after repeating as World champion on Friday.

Shields beat the Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn via unanimous decision in the middleweight final in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Shields, who won gold at age 17 in women’s boxing’s debut at the London Olympics and took her first World title in 2014, became the first American to capture three combined global titles.

“I have never had these emotions before, and it was definitely overwhelming,” Shields said, according to USA Boxing. “This World Championships was different because I was coming in as the reigning World champion, not just the Olympic gold medalist. I had a standard to uphold, and that was to dominate everyone.”

Many great U.S. Olympic champion boxers, such as Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, fought before the World Championships debuted in 1974 (and Worlds switched from every four years to every other year starting in 1991).

Shields, of Flint, Mich., moved to 74-1 overall and has won 48 straight fights since her only loss to Great Britain’s Savannah Marshall at the May 2012 World Championships, according to USA Boxing.

Shields and Marshall were in line to face each other at the 2012 Olympics, 2014 Worlds and 2016 Worlds, but each time Marshall was eliminated one round before their potential rematch.

Shields will not fight again until the Rio Games in August, where she can become the first American boxer to earn gold at multiple Olympics.

MORE: Shields sick of hearing about Ronda Rousey

Corrections: An earlier version of this post had the wrong name of a British boxer. Her name is Savannah Marshall, not Sarah Marshall. Shields’ record was also updated from 73-1 via USA Boxing to 74-1 via USA Boxing.