Ryan Lochte

What U.S. swim stars have been up to since London Olympics

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The year after an Olympics is often break time for athletes recovering to gear up for the next Games. That’s not apparent at this week’s USA Swimming national championships. Most of the 35 U.S. medalists at the London Aquatics Centre are in the field at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis through Sunday. They’re bidding for top-two finishes to qualify for individual events at the world championships in Barcelona, which begin July 28.

Who isn’t swimming in Indy? The retired Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak and Peter Vanderkaay, as well as Brendan Hansen. Rebecca Soni and Eric Shanteau are on extended post-Olympic breaks.

Of the headliners competing, here’s a look at what they’ve been up to since London:

Ryan Lochte: What has Ryan Lochte done? Well, his own TV show, for starters. He’s also decided to leave his longtime training base, Gainesville, Fla., for a fresh environment after worlds. Despite words of warning Troy for lackluster early-season times, Lochte’s still the class of the American men across several events, going into nationals with the top U.S. times in the 200 backstroke, 100 butterfly and 200 and 400 individual medleys, according to FINA. Lochte entered 11 events at nationals, but he will surely scratch some.

Missy Franklin: The bubbly five-time 2012 medalist hasn’t slowed down too much in or out of the pool. She met Justin Bieber, chose a college, graduated high school and met Prince Harry among other dryland exploits. In a suit, she’s still a record-breaker. She lowered the national championship mark in winning the 100-meter freestyle in 53.43 on Monday. Franklin’s plenty busy in Indianapolis, having entered six events.

Allison Schmitt: Schmitt, a five-time medalist in London, capped her collegiate career with three more NCAA titles and Georgia’s first team title since 2005. She returned to the North Baltimore Aquatic Club (as did her coach, Bob Bowman, after nine months away). At nationals, she was less than her dominant self to start out, missing the A final in the 100 and 200 free.

Nathan Adrian: The sizzling sprinter can focus solely on professional swimming, having graduated from Cal last year. Adrian told SwimSwam.com in April he’s added 10 pounds, most of it muscle, that may help his explosiveness in the 50 free. Adrian backed up his Olympic gold in the 100 free by besting a field that included six Olympic champions on the opening night of nationals. He’s booked for Barcelona.

Natalie Coughlin: Many thought Coughlin, 31, would hang up her suit after collecting her 12th Olympic medal in the 4×100 free relay in London. But the desire is still there, after a winter trip to watch gorillas. With Phelps’ retirement, Coughlin is now the most decorated active Olympian. Her event focus shifted after her third Olympics. The two-time Olympic backstroke champion is only swimming the 50 and 100 freestyles in Indianapolis.

Olympic champion, Tour de France runner-up tests positive

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Samuel Sanchez, a 2008 Olympic champion and 2010 Tour de France runner-up, was provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned growth hormone on Aug. 9.

Sanchez, a 39-year-old Spaniard, was due to race the Vuelta a España starting Saturday but is now out indefinitely until the conclusion of his case. That may include the testing of his B sample.

Sanchez denied wrongdoing, saying the failed test was a surprise, according to Spanish news agency EFE.

Sanchez won the road race on the first day of the Beijing Games in a five-man sprint that also included Swiss Fabian Cancellara, who would win the time trial in 2008 and 2016, and Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck.

Two years later, Sanchez finished fourth in the Tour de France but was upgraded to second behind Schleck due to doping bans for original winner Alberto Contador and third-place Denis Menchov.

Sanchez also took the polka-dot jersey for best climber at the 2011 Tour and finished second and third at the Vuelta in 2009 and 2007, respectively.

Sanchez rode in the 2010 Tour wearing a special helmet honoring his Olympic title. He also got a tattoo behind his right shoulder commemorating the Beijing gold on Aug. 9, 2008.

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Victoria Azarenka may miss U.S. Open due to custody battle

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Olympic and Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka says her participation in the U.S. Open is in doubt because she might not be able to bring her son with her to New York as a result of her separation from the baby’s father.

Azarenka is “faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away,” according to a post on the former top-ranked player’s social media accounts Thursday. “No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.”

The 28-year-old from Belarus gave birth to Leo, her first child, in December, then returned to the tour in June.

Azarenka’s post said that shortly after Wimbledon — where Azarenka lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10 — she separated from her son’s father.

“As we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the U.S. Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California,” was posted on Azarenka’s social media, “which I’m not willing to do.”

The U.S. Open starts Aug. 28.

“I remain optimistic that in the coming days Leo’s father and I can put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction to more effectively work as a team and agree on an arrangement for all three of us to travel and for me to compete,” was posted, “but, more importantly, to ensure that Leo has a consistent presence from both of his parents.”

Azarenka was the runner-up in New York in 2012 and 2013, losing in the final each year to Serena Williams.

Those were also the years that Azarenka won her two Grand Slam singles titles in Australia.

Wimbledon was Azarenka’s first major tournament in more than a year. She currently is ranked 204th.

“Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace. I want to support men and women everywhere who know it is OK to be a working mother — or father. No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both,” was posted on Azarenka’s social media. “I am incredibly grateful for all of the support I have received from women and men around the world who recognize the importance of supporting working moms and our right to be with our children. I look forward to hopefully having positive developments soon so that this difficult situation can be resolved and I can get back to competing.”

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