Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte

Duel in the Pool swimming competition set for December

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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

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

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NEW YORK – Laurie Hernandez hardly considers her 14 months away from competitive gymnastics a break.

Since earning Olympic team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, the 17-year-old won “Dancing with the Stars,” authored a book and even enrolled in ballet lessons.

But her most rewarding experience has been speaking at schools. Students have asked her seemingly every question, from when she started taking gymnastics classes (age 5) to whether she climbed trees when she was younger (yes, all the time).

Seeing how many children were inspired by her Rio performance motivated Hernandez as she prepares to return to the sport.

“I didn’t realize at the Olympics how many people were truly watching,” Hernandez said Wednesday night at the annual Women’s Sports Foundation Salute to Women in Sports. “Now I’m excited to get back into the gym.”

Hernandez recently added handstand holds, back tucks and front flips to her conditioning program, in addition to continuing to run and lift weights.

“It’s a little difficult, but it’s fine,” she said. “I’ll push it a little more after the holidays.”

She has her eye on returning to competition in 2018.

“That’s definitely the hope,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to rush anything, but I would love to compete in 2018.”

Hernandez, who said her next goal in gymnastics is to compete at the world championships for the first time and hopefully the 2020 Olympics, has not yet identified her comeback meet.

She noted that Aly Raisman took more than two years off after the London Olympics.

“I know every athlete is different,” Hernandez said. “But I wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps.”

Simone Biles, who has not competed since winning four gold medals in Rio, recently announced that she plans on returning to full-time training Nov. 1 and competition next summer.

“I look up to her, even though we are teammates,” Hernandez said. “I can’t wait to see her out there, but hopefully I’ll be out there with her soon.”

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Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Olympic cycling gold medalist Marty Nothstein is the latest to announce he’s running for the eastern Pennsylvania congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.

Dent, a former state senator, is a centrist Republican who has held the seat since 2005. He’s retiring after his term expires next year.

Nothstein, who won sprint silver in 1996 and gold in 2000, is the only American track cyclist to win an Olympic title at a fully attended Games.

Two Republican state representatives, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons, previously announced they’re running for Dent’s 15th District seat.

Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is also running.

Dent’s district includes Allentown and all of Lehigh County, and parts of four surrounding counties.

Republicans in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

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