Dana Vollmer

Meilutyte breaks world record; Franklin, Lochte advance to finals at swim worlds as U.S. wins two more medals

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The second night of the world swimming championships provided a few surprises, but Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin didn’t disappoint, advancing to their first individual finals in Barcelona.

Lochte is the second qualifier into the 200-meter freestyle final Tuesday night. Franklin overcame a slip at the start to gain the top seed into the 100 backstroke final, also Tuesday. Lochte, already with a 4×100 free relay silver, is on the second of a planned seven events this week. Franklin, a gold medalist in the 4×100 free relay, is on No. 2 of eight.

The big international news came in the semifinals of the 100 breaststroke, where Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte broke the world record.

Two Americans medaled among the four finals Monday. Olympic champion Dana Vollmer took bronze in the 100 butterfly, overcoming illness. Eugene Godsoe was a surprise silver medalist in the 50 butterfly, an event that’s not on the Olympic program.

The other finals saw Hungarian Katinka Hosszu win the 200 individual medley (Olympic champion Ye Shiwen was fourth), and Australian favorite Christian Sprenger take the 100 breaststroke.

Scroll down for event-by-event results, video and analysis.

NBC, Universal Sports broadcast schedule | Live results | Swimming on newspaper front pages

Men’s 100 Breaststroke Final

Results
Gold: Christian Sprenger (AUS) 58.79
Silver: Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 58.97
Bronze: Felipe Lima (BRA) 59.65
4. Damir Dugonjic (SLO) 59.68
5. Fabio Scozzoli (ITA) 59.70
6. Kosuke Kitajima (JPN) 59.90
7. Kevin Cordes (USA) 1:00.02
8. Nic Fink (USA) 1:00.10

Summary
The Olympic champion van der Burgh blazed out, making the turn two tenths under world-record pace. He couldn’t sustain it and got ran down by the favored Aussie, who came into the final with the three fastest times in the world this year. Sprenger had finished second to van der Burgh in London. Both Americans are collegians and will only get better.

Women’s 100 Butterfly Final

Results
Gold: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 56.53
Silver: Alicia Coutts (AUS) 56.97
Bronze: Dana Vollmer (USA) 57.24
4. Jeannette Ottesen Gray (DEN) 57.27
5. Katerine Savard (CAN) 57.97
6. Ilaria Bianchi (ITA) 58.11
7. Noemie Ip-Ting Thomas (CAN) 58.13
8. Claire Donahue (USA) 58.30

Summary
Sjostrom took the world title back from Vollmer, who was the reigning Olympic champion and world-record holder. Vollmer had said Sunday she was feeling ill and still has the 50 fly and medley relay left. Sjostrom won the world title as a 15-year-old in 2009 and was the fastest qualifier into the final. Coutts picked up her second silver after bursting into tears following losing the lead on anchor of the 4×100 free relay Sunday.

“I just kept telling myself that it was less than a minute and that my body can pull it together,” Vollmer said on Universal Sports. “Last night I felt horrible.”

Men’s 100 Backstroke Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Matt Grevers (USA) 52.97
2. David Plummer (USA) 53.10
3. Jeremy Stravius (FRA) 53.23
4. Ryosuke Irie (JPN) 53.41
5. Camille Lacourt (FRA) 53.42
6. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 53.68
7. Ashley Delaney (AUS) 53.74
8. Gareth Kean (NZL) 53.81

Summary
The five fastest men in the world this year were among the top six qualifiers into Tuesday’s final. Grevers, the reigning Olympic champion, posted the fastest time in the world this year to win his semifinal. Plummer, who beat Grevers at nationals, is in great shape to medal as well. Stravius, who anchored France to 4×100 free relay gold Sunday, had the world’s fastest time before Grevers took it. Stravius and Lacourt shared the world title in 2011. Both Japanese men could also factor into the medals. It’s a stacked final.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 1:04.45 WR
2. Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 1:05.29
3. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN) 1:05.99
4. Jessica Hardy (USA) 1:06.10
5. Breeja Larson (USA) 1:06.61
6. Viktoria Solnceva (UKR) 1:06.67
7. Jennie Johansson (SWE) 1:06.96
8. Marina Garcia (ESP) 1:07.12

Summary
Meilutyte broke the world record by one tenth, the first world record set this year. Meilutyte, who stunned Rebecca Soni to win Olympic gold at age 15, was .07 off the world record in the prelims. Hardy was the previous world-record holder and looks likely to fight for a bronze. Meilutyte is a huge gold-medal favorite, and Efimova is a clear pick for silver going into Tuesday’s final.

Men’s 50 Butterfly Final

Results
Gold: Cesar Cielo (BRA) 23.01
Silver: Eugene Godsoe (USA) 23.05
Bronze: Frederick Bousquet (FRA) 23.11
4. Nicholas Santos (BRA) 23.21
5. Andriy Hovorov (UKR) 23.22
6. Yauhen Tsurkin (BLR) 23.28
6. Steffen Diebler (GER) 23.28
8. Florent Manaudou (FRA) 23.35

Summary
The 50 fly is not an event contested at the Olympics. Cielo, the world-record holder in the 50 free and 100 free, defended his world title, as expected. But the surprise story was Godsoe, 25, who won silver in his first major international meet after being the last man to qualify into the final.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” Godsoe told Universal Sports. “I knew for the 50 fly, if you have a lane, you have a shot.”

Women’s 100 Backstroke Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Missy Franklin (USA) 59.31
2. Emily Seebohm (AUS) 59.38
3. Elizabeth Pelton (USA) 59.44
4. Aya Terakawa (JPN) 59.80
5. Fu Yuanhui (CHN) 59.82
6. Daryna Zevina (UKR) 59.90
7. Simona Baumrtova (CZE) 59.99
8. Belinda Hocking (AUS) 1:00.24

Summary
Franklin, swimming the second of a potential eight events, slipped off the start but came back to become the top qualifier into Tuesday’s final. Franklin didn’t contest this event at 2011 worlds but won it at the 2012 Olympics. She’s a big favorite for gold after the second fastest in the morning prelims, Katinka Hosszu, scratched the event to focus on the 200 individual medley. Seebohm and Terakawa, the Olympic silver and bronze medalists, will fight for the same medals in the final. As will Pelton, who just missed making the Olympic team by finishing third in two events at trials.

“I totally slipped,” Franklin told Universal Sports. “Definitely not what we want, but that’s good that it happened now and not tomorrow. … Even though it happens, you just have to continue on like you’re swimming a normal race. We’ve kind of prepared for something like that to happen.”

Men’s 200 Freestyle Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Danila Izotov (RUS) 1:45.84
2. Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:46.06
3. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:46.87
4. Robbie Renwick (GBR) 1:46.95
5. Yannick Agnel (FRA) 1:47.01
6. Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:47.05
7. Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS) 1:47.21
8. Cameron McEvoy (CHN) 1:47.31

Summary
Lochte, the defending world champion, is easily into the final of his first individual event at worlds — and second event of a planned seven. The slight edge as favorite may have to go to Izotov, who also owns the world’s fastest time of 2013 (1:44.87). Hagino qualified for two finals Monday and already has a silver from the 400 free. Agnel, the champion in London, has yet to show his Olympic form in Barcelona, having swum a poor leadoff leg in Sunday’s 4×100 free relay.

“It felt kind of smooth,” Lochte told Universal Sports. “I know there’s a lot left. I kind of didn’t push myself until the last 75 (meters).”

Women’s 200 Individual Medley Final

Results
Gold: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2:07.92
Silver: Alicia Coutts (AUS) 2:09.39
Bronze: Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) 2:09.45
4. Ye Shiwen (CHN) 2:10.48
5. Caitlin Leverenz (USA) 2:10.73
6. Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) 2:10.95
7. Sophie Allen (GBR) 2:11.32
8. Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (GBR) 2:12.03

Summary
The Olympic gold medalist and defending world champion Ye was lucky to get fourth. She was eighth after 150 meters. Remember, Ye came under scrutiny at the 2012 Olympics for swimming a faster final 50 meters in her 400 IM victory than Lochte did in his. Hosszu opted out of a potential medal in the 100 back to focus on this event. It paid off big time. Coutts won her second silver of the night.

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Yulia Stepanova, doping whistleblower, appeals her Olympic ban

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - JULY 06:  Yuliya Stepanova looks on after finishing last in the Womens 800m heats during day one of the 23rd European Athletics Championships at Olympic Stadium on July 6, 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images for European Athletics )
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Whistleblower Yulia Stepanova‘s hopes of competing in the Summer Olympics are all but over. Her fight to expose doping and corruption is not.

“It’s OK to lose a good fight,” Stepanova’s husband, Vitaly Stepanov, told The Associated Press on Monday.

They have appealed to the International Olympic Committee to reverse its decision, handed down Sunday, that denies Stepanova a chance at competing in the Rio Games, which begin Aug. 5. The decision, the Stepanovs claim, is based on incorrect information, including the IOC’s framing of Stepanova’s decision to become a whistleblower as a too-little-too-late desperation play made after the Russian team had cast her aside.

It’s a conclusion that both the World Anti-Doping Agency and track’s governing body, the IAAF, disagree with; both recommended Stepanova be allowed to compete in Rio.

But Stepanov said he received several signals that the IOC would not go along, beginning with a general lack of interest from the key decision makers. He said that during the push for Olympic eligibility, he spoke with two separate IOC officials for a total of 90 minutes.

“I think what the IOC didn’t do is spend enough time to understand how big the problem is in Russia and how much covering up is happening in Russian sports,” he said.

Stepanova was the 800-meter runner who was entrenched in the Russian doping system but later came forward with details about the cheating. That triggered investigations that led to the banning of the Russian track team from the Olympics. After receiving more information about Russian sports as a whole, the IOC opted against a ban of the entire Russian team.

Part of that decision included a ruling that any Russian with a previous doping ban would not be allowed in Rio. That includes Stepanova, though the legality of that ruling is in question: In 2011, the Court of Arbitration for Sport invalidated the IOC’s Rule 45, which called for Olympic bans for any athlete who’d served more than a six-month doping penalty. CAS said it amounted to double jeopardy.

It was one of several facets from the decision handed down Sunday that indicated the difficulty the IOC had in finding the right balance between, as president Thomas Bach called it, “individual justice and collective responsibility.” There also were political concerns; a Russian official addressed the IOC executive board and told members not to cave into geopolitical pressure.

While Russia largely welcomed the decision, it was roundly criticized by those in the anti-doping world. The move to ban Stepanova was widely viewed as the worst part of the judgment.

“The decision to refuse her entry in to the Games is incomprehensible and will undoubtedly deter whistleblowers in the future from coming forward,” said Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Stepanov said his wife got a bout of the stomach flu on Sunday – making a bad day that much worse.

She was training for the Olympics, knowing that if she made it, she would not compete for a medal, the way she had in the past.

“Her goal is to participate,” Stepanov said. “In my view, she deserved to be an Olympian a lot more than when she was a doped athlete.”

But the odds are against her.

Stepanov said there is no money to fund an appeal to CAS, which would have the last say on her possible ban.

“Sunday was a day to cry a little, to get disappointed,” Stepanov said. “But today’s Monday. We feel we’re trying to fight for the right thing, so we wake up and start fighting again.”

MORE: Russian whistleblower denied bid to compete in Rio Olympics

Gabby Douglas ‘a very strong possibility’ for all-around, Martha Karolyi says

Gabby Douglas
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Gabby Douglas has “a very strong possibility” to get a chance to defend her Olympic all-around title in Rio, U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi said Monday.

“Gabby’s preparation is in a very, very good direction, and I foresee that she can be in the all-around, but we’re not taking this decision as of now yet,” Karolyi said.

The U.S. will put no more than three women from its five-woman team in the all-around in qualifying. The top two Americans in qualifying will advance to the all-around final, the most prestigious individual competition in the sport.

“We have a tentative lineup, but that’s absolutely tentative and we would not reveal that lineup at the moment yet, because most likely there will be changes as time goes,” said Karolyi, adding that the lineup won’t be finalized until next week.

Simone Biles is considered a lock to be one of the all-arounders in qualifying. Who joins her is unclear.

Douglas and Aly Raisman were tapped at the 2015 World Championships, with Biles and Douglas topping Raisman in qualifying and then going one-two in the all-around final.

However, both Raisman and first-year senior Laurie Hernandez finished higher than Douglas in the all-around at the P&G Championships and the Olympic Trials in the last month.

Karolyi said that Douglas, who fell off the balance beam on both nights at the Olympic Trials, has improved at a pre-Olympic training camp. Karolyi also said that Douglas would not perform the difficult Amanar vault in Rio, which carries five tenths more in start value than the vault Douglas used at the Olympic Trials.

Biles and Raisman both perform the Amanar. If Biles, Douglas and Raisman do the all-around in qualifying, Douglas will go in with a start-value disadvantage in the chase to grab two available final spots.

In 2012, Douglas, Raisman and Jordyn Wieber all did the all-around in qualifying, with the 2011 World all-around champion Wieber finishing third out of the Americans (and fourth overall), missing the all-around final.

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