Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte wins 2 golds on 3-swim night; Missy Franklin just misses medal at world swimming championships Friday

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Ryan Lochte took on a task Michael Phelps never attempted and completed it spectacularly at the world swimming championships in Barcelona on Friday night.

Lochte swam three events — the 200-meter backstroke final, the 100 butterfly semifinals and the 4×200 freestyle relay final — and finished first in every race. Neither Lochte nor Phelps had ever attempted a triple at a major international meet before.

Lochte, who turns 29 on Saturday, upped his medal count this week to three golds and one silver. He has two finals left, the 100 butterfly Saturday and the medley relay Sunday, to win five golds at worlds for the second straight time. Lochte ranks second all time in world golds (15 to Phelps’ 26) and total medals (23 to Phelps’ 33).

Missy Franklin, aiming to become the first woman to win six golds and seven medals at a single world championships, took fourth in the 100 free final. Her shot at seven medals is now over. She was not expected to win the event but was considered a medal contender. Franklin, 18, also qualified first into Saturday’s final in the 200 backstroke, where she is a heavy favorite.

Franklin will also be part of the women’s medley relay. She has four golds now and has a great chance at six total golds. Kristin Otto of Germany and Tracy Caulkins and Shirley Babashoff of the U.S. have also won six medals (but not all gold) at a single worlds.

Below are full results, analysis, quotes and video highlights from Friday’s action at Palau Sant Jordi.

NBC, Universal Sports broadcast schedule | Live results

Women’s 100 Freestyle Final

Results
Gold: Cate Campbell (AUS) 52.34

Silver: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 52.89
Bronze: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) 53.42
4. Missy Franklin (USA) 53.47
5. Femke Heemskerk (NED) 53.67
6. Britta Steffen (GER) 53.75
7. Tang Yi (CHN) 54.27
8. Shannon Vreeland (54.49)

Summary
Franklin would have won bronze if she repeated her preliminary time, which was a personal best. Still, she was smiling after the race. Franklin won’t win seven medals, but she still is likely to win six golds, which no woman has done at a world championships. Australia wins both the 100 freestyle world titles at the same world championships for the first time. Campbell was .61 seconds under world-record pace at the 50-meter mark. She finished behind the world mark of 52.07. Sjostrom adds silver to her 100 butterfly gold. Kromowidjojo was the 2012 Olympic champion.

“I’m very, very happy with that race,” Franklin said. “I have so much to improve on in that race.”

Men’s 200 Backstroke Final

Results
Gold: Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:53.79
Silver: Radoslaw Kawecki (POL) 1:54.24
Bronze: Tyler Clary (USA) 1:54.64
4. Ryosuke Irie (JPN) 1:55.07
5. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:55.43
6. Craig McNally (GBR) 1:55.67
7. Xu Jiayu (CHN) 1:57.13
8. Peter Bernek (HUN) 1:58.26

Summary
Lochte had a slight lead at the 50, opened it up to a half-second at the 100 and the 150 and held on for his second straight world title in the 200 back and his second straight gold in Barcelona. Kawecki was a surprise medalist, snatching silver with a European record. Clary is the Olympic champion and was the top seed going into the final. The U.S. has won this event at every worlds and Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

“My first reaction getting into the wall was frustration,” Clary told Universal Sports. “It’s going to be fun trying to get back up on the podium the next three years.”

Women’s 200 Backstroke Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Missy Franklin (USA) 2:06.46
2. Hilary Caldwell (CAN) 2:07.15
3. Elizabeth Pelton (USA) 2:08.20
4. Belinda Hocking (AUS) 2:08.49
5. Daryna Zevina (UKR) 2:08.74
6. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2:08.97
7. Daria Ustinova (RUS) 2:09.08
8. Sinead Russell (CAN) 2:09.84

Summary
Franklin showed how dominant she is in her signature event by qualifying more than a half-second faster than anyone else 20 minutes after getting out of the pool from the 100 free final. She’s the world champion, Olympic champion, world record holder and heavy, heavy favorite for gold No. 5 on Saturday. Pelton, who had a pair of third-place finishes at last year’s Olympic trials, looks to be in the mix for silver and bronze with Caldwell and Hocking, the 2011 world silver medalist.

“I will (relax),” said Franklin, who gets her first session off Saturday morning. “I’m going to get Starbucks.”

Men’s 50 Freestyle Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Florent Manaudou (FRA) 21.37
2. Anthony Ervin (USA) 21.42
3. Cesar Cielo (BRA) 21.60
3. Nathan Adrian (USA) 21.60
5. Frederick Bousquet (FRA) 21.62
6. Vladimir Morozov (RUS) 21.63
7. Roland Schoeman (RSA) 21.67
8. George Bovell (TRI) 21.74

Summary
Manaudou, the Olympic champion, also had the fastest prelim time. He’s the favorite for gold Saturday. Ervin, though, was spectacular in his semifinal and could also win gold after coming .02 shy of Cullen Jones‘ American record. Ervin was the co-gold medalist in the splash and dash at the 2000 Olympics. Cielo is the two-time defending world champion and world record holder. Adrian, too, is in the medal picture, though he has never medaled in this event at a worlds or Olympics. Adrian’s rival, James Magnussen, missed the final.

“My goal this summer was to get that bottom half of 21, 21.59 or better was my goal,” Ervin said. “Just with that swim alone, I feel really good the next couple years to Rio, the possibility of Rio.”

“Each hundredth is just so much emotional energy,” Adrian said. “If you want to win at this point, you’ve got to nail your start, breakout and your finish. That right there is the entire race.”

Women’s 200 Breaststroke Final

Results
Gold: Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 2:19.41

Silver: Rikke Pedersen (DEN) 2:20.08
Bronze: Micah Lawrence (USA) 2:22.37
4. Rie Kaneto (JPN) 2:22.96
5. Viktoriya Solntseva (UKR) 2:23.01
6. Marina Garcia Urzainqui (ESP) 2:23.55
7. Sally Foster (AUS) 2:24.01
8. Martha McCabe (CAN) 2:25.21

Summary
Efimova passed Pedersen on the final 50 meters. Pedersen had broken Rebecca Soni‘s world record in the semifinals — clocking a 2:19.11. Efimova adds a gold to her Olympic silver and bronze from the 2011 worlds. Lawrence wins her first world or Olympic medal.

Men’s 100 Butterfly Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Ryan Lochte (USA) 51.48
2. Chad le Clos (RSA) 51.52
3. Konrad Czerniak (POL) 51.55
4. Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS) 51.60
5. Laszlo Cseh (HUN) 51.61
6. Matteo Rivolta (ITA) 51.64
7. Steffen Deibler (GER) 51.65
8. Yauhen Tsurkin (BLR) 51.78

Summary
Lochte swam a personal best to vault into the medal picture Saturday. Le Clos is the Olympic and world champion in the 200 butterfly and probably still the favorite for gold. Watch out for Deibler, who is the fastest in the world this year.

Women’s 50 Butterfly Semifinals

Advance To Final
1. Jeanette Ottesen Gray (DEN) 25.50
2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) 25.68
3. Francesca Halsall (GBR) 25.90
4. Melanie Henique (FRA) 25.95
5. Dana Vollmer (USA) 26.06
6. Inge Dekker (NED) 26.11
7. Farida Osman (EGY) 26.12
7. Ying Lu (CHN) 26.12

Summary
Vollmer, the Olympic champion and world record holder in the 100 fly, is healthy again after suffering through illness to a bronze in the 100 fly a few days ago. Ottesen Gray and Halsall are probably the favorites as the fastest women in the world this year. Dekker is the defending world champion. And how about Egypt getting a swimmer in a final?

“(I feel) so much better,” said Vollmer, who had three days off between events. “It just feels like everything kind of cleared up. My energy’s back.”

Men’s 200 Breaststroke Final

Results
Gold: Daniel Gyurta (HUN) 2:07.23

Silver: Marco Koch (GER) 2:08.54
Bronze: Matti Mattsson (FIN) 2:08.95
4. Andrew Willis (GBR) 2:09.13
5. Michael Jamieson (GBR) 2:09.14
6. Viatcheslav Sinkevich (UKR) 2:09.34
7. Akihiro Yamaguchi (JPN) 2:09.57
8. Ryo Tateishi (JPN) 2:10.28

Summary
Gyurta, seventh at 100 meters, took the lead between 100 and 150 and cruised home to become the sixth man to win three straight world titles in the same event. He went faster than his world record at the 2012 Olympics (a record since broken by the Japanese Yamaguchi). Mattsson became Finland’s first world medalist since 1994. Jamieson, the Olympic silver medalist, disappointed in fifth after coming in with the fastest time in the world this year.

Men’s 4×200 Free Relay

Results
Gold: United States 7:01.72

Silver: Russia 7:03.92
Bronze: China 7:04.74
4. France 7:04.91
5. Japan 7:04.95
6. Germany 7:10.07
7. Belgium 7:11.15
8. Great Britain 7:12.00

Summary
The U.S. used three of its four swimmers from the 2012 Olympic final — Lochte, Ricky Berens and Conor DwyerCharlie Houchin, who swam in the prelims in London, replaced Michael Phelps.The Americans were a solid but not overwhelming favorite.

Russia (Danila Izotov) led France (Yannick Agnel) by three tenths and the U.S. (Dwyer) by six tenths after the first leg, each nation using its medalist from the individual 200 free on leadoff. Lochte propelled the U.S. into the lead on his last turn of the second leg. Houchin and Berens extended the edge over Russia to a full body length to win easily.

The U.S. won its fifth straight world title in the event. Lochte finished a perfect night, two golds and qualifying first in the 100 butterfly. He now has three golds, one silver and a fourth with two finals left.

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Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross beat top-ranked Brazilians for first time

Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross
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Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross beat Brazil’s best beach volleyball team for the first time and extended the longest winning streak of their partnership in winning the Moscow Grand Slam on Sunday.

“That just shows our growth,” Ross said. “We’re still on the up and up.”

Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion, and Ross, an Olympic silver medalist, beat Olympic qualifying top seed Larissa and Talita 22-20, 21-17 in the final for their third straight international title.

Walsh Jennings and Ross have now won 22 straight FIVB World Tour matches, the best run of their three-year parternship. Walsh Jennings last reached a streak this long from 2007 to 2010, when she won 78 straight international matches with Misty May-Treanor and Nicole Branagh, according to BVBInfo.com

The Americans had lost all three of their previous matches (one a one-set exhibition) versus Larissa and Talita:

Feb. 27, 2015 — 26-24 in Rio de Janeiro
Aug. 23, 2015 — 21-18, 21-16 in Long Beach, Calif.
March 20, 2016 — 22-20, 21-19 in Vitoria, Brazil

“You know what makes me happy? This is done. Now we’ve done it, we’ve beaten them and put it to rest,” Walsh Jennings said, according to USA Volleyball.

Larissa and Talita, seeking to become Brazil’s first Olympic women’s beach volleyball champions in 20 years, have won 12 of their 20 international tournaments since pairing in July 2014.

The FIVB World Tour continues in Hamburg, Germany, next week, the final event in Olympic qualifying. Walsh Jennings and Ross are expected to play there.

Walsh Jennings and Ross and Larissa and Talita are already qualified for the Rio Games.

MORE: Logan Tom continues volleyball career in Indonesia

Star goalie Ashleigh Johnson set to make U.S. Olympic water polo history

Ashleigh Johnson
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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — Donna Johnson just wanted her five children to be safe around the pool at her Miami home. That was it, really, the first step in Ashleigh Johnson‘s path from prodigy to USA water polo.

Swim lessons turned into meets when their instructor told Donna Johnson her children were so good she had nothing left to teach them. When Ashleigh and her siblings continued to show athletic potential as they got older, Donna Johnson, a single mother and nurse from Jamaica, delivered a simple message to them.

“For everything that they do, it’s not about pressure, it’s about maximizing your potential,” she said.

Now her oldest daughter is about to make history this summer. Ashleigh, a goaltender blessed with jaw-dropping athleticism, is a lock for Rio de Janeiro, putting her on track to become the first black woman to play water polo for the U.S. Olympic team.

While this is just the fifth Games for the women’s tournament, Johnson’s ascension to elite goaltender is a welcome development for a sport looking for more diversity and growth outside of water polo-crazy Southern California.

Each of Johnson’s teammates is from the Golden State, and the same three Pac-12 schools — UCLA, Southern California and Stanford — dominate the roster. Seventy-five percent of USA Water Polo’s roughly 42,000 members live in California.

After starring at Ransom Everglades High School in Florida, Johnson opted for Princeton instead of USC.

“I think Ashleigh Johnson’s the future of our sport in the U.S.,” USA Water Polo CEO Christopher Ramsey said. “She’s an out-of-California athlete who grew up in Florida. She went to Princeton, high academic achiever from a different background than a lot of traditional water polo families are from.”

Just a short while ago, Johnson, 21, wasn’t interested in that future, at least with the national team. The thought of moving away from her tight-knit family and joining a new team in California wasn’t appealing to her, but several conversations with coach Adam Krikorian helped change her mind.

“I didn’t really know that the Olympics was a possibility for me,” Johnson said. “I thought it was just like coming and training like I had been doing for years, but just living out here, and he made me realize that the Olympics was a great opportunity and a possibility for me.”

Krikorian first heard of Johnson about 10 years ago when he was the head coach at UCLA. Nicolle Payne, one of his assistants with the Bruins and a former national team goaltender, was working a camp in Miami when she sent an email to Krikorian about America’s next great goaltender.

“She said, ‘Adam, keep this name in your mind,’ and she told me her name — Ashleigh Johnson,” Krikorian said. “‘She is the most amazing goalie I have ever seen.”‘

It’s easy to see what got Payne’s attention.

The 6-foot-1 Johnson has long arms, perfect for firing outlet passes for U.S. counterattacks and guarding the top parts of the goal, and she cuts through the water with impressive ease. Sick of swimming in high school, she was offered an out by her mother and coach if she won the 50-meter freestyle at states as a sophomore. So she won and walked away.

She collected 54 saves while helping the United States qualify for the Olympics at a tournament in the Netherlands in March, including 10 stops in an 11-6 victory over Italy in the final, capping an 8-0 performance for the Americans. But that gifted sprinter is still inside her.

At a recent practice, assistant coach Chris Oeding gave the team a chance to cut short the swimming portion of training if the players could assemble a sub-1:40 200-yard freestyle relay team. Krikorian and assistant coach Dan Klatt offered a nodding Johnson as a candidate, but four different players were chosen.

They made the time, but Johnson stole the show by swimming the second leg alongside the relay, leaving Krikorian and Klatt shaking their heads as she churned through the pool like a motorboat.

“She’s a freak,” Princeton coach Luis Nicolao said. “She’s just athletic. I often joke she could probably start for our basketball team, track team, swim team, she just has that natural ability to succeed at anything she does.”

Johnson and her sister, Chelsea, play for Nicolao with the Tigers. They have two older brothers, Blake and William, and one younger brother, Julius.

Their parents got divorced when Ashleigh was little, and Donna Johnson raised the kids mostly on her own. It’s a challenging juggling act not lost on her children.

“I mean she’s such a hard-working, loving and determined woman,” Ashleigh said, “and she’s taught me that hard work ethic and just to try my best at everything and love what I do.”

Chelsea Johnson, who joked that she followed her sister to Princeton because she didn’t want to play against her, said she sees similarities between Ashleigh and their mother.

“I think the biggest thing from her, she and Ashleigh, is that she’s always smiling, no matter what,” she said. “Like her and Ashleigh, not matter what they’re doing, no matter how hard the thing is, they’re always smiling and trying to make everyone around them feel better about whatever’s happening.”

VIDEO: Ashleigh Johnson stands out on U.S. water polo team