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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Haven Denney, Brandon Frazier win U.S. pairs title after year off

Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier perform in the championship pairs short program during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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KANSAS CITY — Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier returned from a year off to win their first U.S. pairs title on Saturday, despite an error-prone free skate and against a field lacking any previous U.S. champion teams.

Denney and Frazier jumped from second after the short program to total 188.32 points and win by 2.04 over Sochi Olympian Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran. Denney and Frazier’s total score was 23.33 points fewer than last year’s winning score.

Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc, who led by 3.96 after the short program, had a strong free skate going until a fall on their throw triple Lutz and finished third Saturday.

Full results are here.

Denney and Frazier were the top U.S. pair in the fall international season by 16 points, taking a silver medal at Skate America.

But Denney struggled on landings in the short program, her right leg wrapped after blowing out her right knee in spring 2015 that caused them to miss the entire 2015-16 season. They also had multiple jumping errors in their free skate, but, unlike the rest of the top five, stayed on their feet Saturday.

“We’re trying harder elements, harder jumps, bigger throws, bigger twists,” Frazier said. “What you see is a couple of ups and downs. This is all building for the next season.”

The U.S. will send two pairs to the world championships in Helsinki in two months, but not definitively the top two finishers from Saturday. The world championships pairs teams will be named Sunday.

Denney and Frazier finished 12th at the 2015 Worlds, after placing second at that year’s U.S. Championships. Castelli and Tran, in their second year as a pair, have no worlds experience together and are ineligible for the 2018 Olympics. Tran, born in Canada, is not a U.S. citizen.

Pairs is the U.S.’ weakest discipline. The last U.S. pair to earn an Olympic or world medal was Kyoka Ina and John Zimmerman at the 2002 Worlds. Eight different pairs have won the last nine U.S. titles.

In 2016, the U.S. pairs finished ninth and 13th at worlds, but both of those teams are out due to injuries.

Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim, the top U.S. pair in international competition in recent seasons, has been out of competition all season due to her September stomach surgery. They have returned to full training.

The Knierims filed a petition to be named to the world championships team, which is selected on a discretionary basis on results from the U.S. Championships and other recent competitions.

“Whatever they decide,” Tran said of a U.S. Figure Skating selection committee, “we’re all for that.”

The 2016 U.S. champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea withdrew before the free skate Saturday after Kayne suffered a concussion in a short-program fall. They placed fifth in the short program.

The U.S. Championships continue Saturday night with the women’s free skate (8 p.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Check out NBCsports.com/USFIGS for all-access coverage all weekend.

VIDEO: Tara Lipinski reflects on 1997 U.S. title at age 14

U.S. Championships Pairs
GOLD: Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier — 188.32
SILVER: Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran — 186.28
BRONZE: Ashley Cain/Timothy LeDuc — 184.41

4. Deanna Stellato/Nathan Bartholomay — 173.50
5. Jessica Pfund/Joshua Santillan — 168.90

Tara Lipinski reflects on winning 1997 U.S. title at age 14

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Tara Lipinski says she can remember everything about the 1997 U.S. Championships, when she became the youngest national champion at age 14.

The victory 20 years ago helped catapult her to become the youngest individual Winter Olympic champion of all time a year later.

“It changed my life in that moment [in 1997],” said Lipinski, now an NBC Olympics analyst. “That was when you talk about peaking at the right time. I knew when I stepped off the ice as a national champion, I can be Olympic champion.”

In 1996, Lipinski finished third at age 13 at the U.S. Championships behind Michelle Kwan, who won the first of her nine U.S. titles. Lipinski then struggled at the world championships, taking 15th, while Kwan won.

So Lipinski was certainly not the favorite going into the 1997 U.S. Championships in Nashville.

But she delivered an unforgettable performance, landing seven triple jumps in her free skate, including the first triple loop-triple loop combination, to surpass the short program leader Kwan, who fell twice in her free skate.

“I always got very nervous,” Lipinski said. “Now to be a broadcaster on live television, I always wonder, why do I pick these professions where there’s a lot of pressure? It’s because I love it, and I thrive under it. Looking back then, it was interesting to look back and remember how nervous I was and then that relief and that pure joy. Then realizing what happened in the next year, and how I was able to get to the point that I did still gives me chills. I have to sort of pinch myself.”

For perspective on how long ago that victory was, check out this story from the Chicago Tribune:

Within an hour of Tara Lipinski’s victory at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Saturday night, a “media alert” was on the information table in the press room at the Nashville Arena to announce Lipinski’s site on the Internet.

“Visit America’s hottest sensation at `www.TaraLipinski.com’ ” said the press release from the skater’s agency, Edge Marketing. “Visitors can dive inside Tara’s life by checking out her biography, famiily life stories and other fun facts about Tara (i.e., which of Tara’s talents might pose a threat to Martha Stewart?).”

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