Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte

Duel in the Pool swimming competition set for December

Leave a comment

The Duel in the Pool, which is becoming swimming’s version of the Ryder Cup, will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, on Dec. 20-21, according to Swimming World.

It reports this year’s duel will pit a U.S. team against European all-stars, the same format as the previous two editions in 2009 (Manchester, England) and 2011 (Atlanta). The first three duels were U.S.-Australia battles during the heyday of their rivalry in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

In Glasgow, swimmers will compete in short-course meters (25-meter pool rather than 50 in the Olympics) at the venue that will be used for the Commonwealth Games next July and August, according to the report.

USA Swimming confirmed the dates but no additional details. An announcement is expected Thursday.

The U.S. is not allowed in the Commonwealth Games, and there are no long-course World Championships until 2015. There are short-course World Championships in December 2014 in Doha, Qatar.

If history is any indication, this will be the most star-studded swim meet between now and the Pan Pacific Championships in August.

In 2011, the U.S. whipped Europe, 181.5 to 80.5 points, thanks to a roster that included Ryan LochteMissy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer. The biggest absences were Michael Phelps Allison Schmitt and Nathan Adrian.

The European team included Olympic medalists Laszlo CsehDaniel Gyurta and Katinka Hosszu (Hungary) and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Netherlands). But it was missing more stars than the U.S., including Yannick Agnel and Camille Muffat (France) and Federica Pellegrini (Italy).

Perhaps the format should be tinkered with in the future given the U.S. has won all five duels.

A U.S.-Asia duel could be much closer than the 2011 blowout, given Japan and China were second and third to the U.S. in the 2012 Olympic swimming medal count. Australia, though, caught up again at the 2013 World Championships. If China was involved, the two best male swimmers in the world could go head to head: Lochte and Sun Yang.

It will be interesting to see which swimmers show up in Scotland in December.

Franklin will be on break from her freshman year at California. Will she want to spend some of that time so far away from her Colorado home?

Quadruple 2013 worlds gold medalist Katie Ledecky will also be on a break, from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Md., where she is a junior.

Who knows where Lochte will be. It’s been reported he hopes to spend four months training in Australia beginning this fall, but he has yet to leave the U.S.

Video: Michael Phelps blinged out in commercial with Lil Jon

Olympic downhill champion wants Formula One-like qualifying in ski racing

Leave a comment

VIENNA (AP) — World Cup skiing needs a qualification system like Formula One, with qualifying runs determining the starting order for the race, Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer said Friday.

“You could compete in training for who is the first to pick a start number,” the Austrian skier said.

Mayer’s proposal goes a step further than rules for downhill and super-G implemented this season. In the new system, the top 10 skiers can choose an odd start number between 1 and 19, and the skiers ranked between 11th and 20th pick an even number between 2 and 20.

The International Ski Federation has changed the old format, where the top seven were randomly given a number between 16 and 22, because it hopes TV viewers will watch longer when the best skiers are more spread out.

“It will change something, definitely,” said Mayer, who was speaking at a sponsor event. “The best racer can pick the start number he wants. I think it’s a positive development. But we should discuss a qualifying format in training.”

FIS men’s race director Markus Waldner said skiing’s governing body considered several options before deciding on the new regulation.

“The idea is to spread out the top 10 from the start list,” Waldner said. “Most of our TV viewers were starting to watch a race after the TV break, after the first 15 starters, because the top seven racers all started between 16 and 22. We would like to motivate our TV viewers to watch from the very beginning of a race.”

A winner of three World Cup races, Mayer missed most of last season after breaking two vertebrae in a downhill crash in Val Gardena, Italy. He returned to training on snow in July, and is planning a comeback at the speed races in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Nov. 26-27.

The Austrian skipped the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden last Sunday, though he skied on the course as a forerunner, a skier doing a test run just before the race starts.

MORE: Men’s Alpine skiing season preview

Spain keeps men’s basketball coach through 2020 Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 21:  Spanish coach Sergio Scariolo reacts during the Men's Basketball Bronze medal game between Australia and Spain on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sergio Scariolo will coach Spain at a third straight Olympics in 2020.

Scariolo’s contract was extended through the Tokyo Games by the Spanish basketball federation, it announced Friday.

The 55-year-old Italian began coaching Spain in 2009 and led the nation to silver at the London Olympics and bronze in Rio.

Spain lost by seven points to the U.S. in the 2012 Olympic final and by six points to the U.S. in the Rio semifinals, though it also lost to Croatia and Brazil in group play in Rio.

The Spanish national team’s NBA veterans are aging. Pau Gasol is 36 and hasn’t announced if he will try for a fourth Olympics in Tokyo. Younger brother Marc Gasol is 31.

José Calderón, 35, retired from the national team after the Rio Games.

PHOTOS: Simone Biles meets 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki