Katie Ledecky

Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky lead U.S. swimming roster for Duel in the Pool

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This year’s Duel in the Pool may finally live up to its title.

The U.S. has won all five duels handily, including a 181.5-80.5 whipping of a European all-star team at the last edition in 2011 in Atlanta.

The rosters for the 2013 edition were announced Thursday for the U.S.-Europe meet in Glasgow, Scotland, Dec. 20-21. Olympic and world champions Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky will lead the U.S., while Olympic and world champions Yannick Agnel and Ranomi Kromowidjojo will lead Europe.

The U.S. is missing its two most successful female swimmers of this century — Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin — as well as breaststroker Rebecca Soni, who is taking a break from competitive swimming, and Olympic and world butterfly champion Dana Vollmer.

The men are missing the retired Michael Phelps, of course, and Olympic and world champions Nathan Adrian and Matt Grevers.

On Wednesday, Franklin said she couldn’t fit it into her freshman schedule at California, whose fall semester ends Dec. 20.

“For freshman year with finals and everything going on, it may not be the best time for an international trip,” she said. “But I would love to in the future, and I was honored to be asked. The timing didn’t work out too well this time.”

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Ledecky’s classes at her Bethesda, Md., high school also end Dec. 20.

“We’ve assembled a nice mix of veteran performers and rising stars on the U.S. roster, and we look forward to racing some of the top swimmers in Europe,” USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch said, according to a press release.

Europe, too, will go into the meet without a few champions — Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world champion in both individual medleys), Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom (world champion, 100m fly), Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte (Olympic and world champion, 100m breast) and Italian Olympic and world champion Federica Pellegrini.

“The European all-stars features by far the strongest lineup we’ve ever seen in what will be the third of these exciting biennial events,” British swim coach Bill Furniss said. The first two duels were U.S.-Australia affairs.

Early predictions tip the Europeans, which would win if based solely on 2013 times in individual Olympic events, though this is a short-course meet.

NBC will air the Duel in the Pool on Dec. 22 from 4-6 p.m. Eastern time.

Here is the complete U.S. Duel in the Pool roster:

Cammile Adams — 2012 Olympian
Sarah Denninghoff
Claire Donahue — 2012 Olympic champion
Jessica Hardy — 2012 Olympic champion
Megan Hawthorne
Sarah Henry
Breeja Larson — 2012 Olympic champion
Katie Ledecky — 2012 Olympic champion
Micah Lawrence — 2012 Olympian
Caitlin Leverenz — 2012 Olympic bronze medalist
Simone Manuel
Megan Romano
Gillian Ryan
Olivia Smoliga
Kendyl Stewart
Chloe Sutton — 2008, 2012 Olympian
Shannon Vreeland — 2012 Olympic champion

Tyler Clary — 2012 Olympic champion
Kevin Cordes
Conor Dwyer — 2012 Olympic champion
Anthony Ervin — 2000 Olympic champion, 2012 Olympian
Jimmy Feigen — 2012 Olympic silver medalist
Nic Fink
Eugene Godsoe
Cullen Jones — 2008, 2012 Olympic champion
Chase Kalisz
Michael Klueh
Ryan Lochte — 11-time Olympic medalist
Tom Luchsinger
Michael McBroom
Matt McLean — 2012 Olympic champion
Cody Miller
Shane Ryan

Here is the complete European Duel in the Pool roster:

Sophie Allen (GBR)
Simona Baumrtova (CZE)
Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP)
Charlotte Bonnet (FRA)
Jazmin Carlin (GBR)
Michelle Coleman (SWE)
Melanie Costa (ESP)
Fiona Doyle (IRL)
Lotte Friis (DEN)
Francesca Halsall (GBR)
Femke Heemskerk (NED)
Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED)
Hannah Miley (GBR)
Camille Muffat (FRA)
Jeanette Ottesen-Gray (DEN)
Lauren Quigley (GBR)
Daryna Zevina (UKR)

Yannick Agnel (FRA)
Bence Biczo (HUN)
Frederick Bousquet (FRA)
Konrad Czerniak (POL)
Damir Dugonjic (SLO)
Fabien Gilot (FRA)
James Guy (GBR)
Michael Jamieson (GBR)
Pal Joensen (FAR)
Radoslaw Kawecki (POL)
Yannick Lebherz (GER)
Florent Manaudou (FRA)
Craig McNally (GBR)
Roberto Pavoni (GBR)
Robbie Renwick (GBR)
Velimir Stjepanovic (SRB)
Jeremy Stravius (FRA)
Chris Walker-Hebborn (GBR)
Andrew Willis (GBR)

Video: Ryan Lochte swims in Charlotte

Alina Zagitova eyes more gold at worlds; women’s preview

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Alina Zagitova hasn’t lost internationally in 18 months, and that doesn’t figure to change this week at the world championships in Milan.

The 15-year-old Russian is favored to become the youngest world gold medalist since Tara Lipinski (duplicating her feat from the Olympics) and make it five straight Olympic or world titles for Russian women, the longest streak for one country since American Carol Heiss won six straight Olympic/world titles from 1956 through 1960.

Zagitova would also become the first Olympic women’s champion to win worlds the following month since Kristi Yamaguchi in 1992. That’s largely because Olympic champions usually skip worlds in Olympic years. Since Yamaguchi, the only one to compete was Yuna Kim, who grabbed silver in 2010.

Zagitova may be young, but she may not have the longevity of Kim to make it to a second Olympics. Russia turns over a new class of elite women’s skaters every year.

Two weeks ago, 13-year-old Alexandra Trusova won the world junior title as the first woman to land two different quadruple jumps in one program. Trusova isn’t old enough to compete at the senior worlds until 2020.

Zagitova’s current rival and training partner, Olympic silver medalist and 2016 and 2017 World champion Yevgenia Medvedeva, withdrew from worlds due to injury.

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Which leaves the last two Olympic bronze medalists, Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada and Carolina Kostner of Italy, plus PyeongChang fourth-place finisher Satoko Miyahara of Japan as the top challengers this week.

None finished within seven points of Zagitova at any competition this season, the Russian’s first on the senior international level.

Zagitova set herself apart at the Olympics by putting all of her jumps in the second half of her programs for 10 percent bonuses and landing them all with positive grades of execution.

The U.S. contingent includes national champion Bradie Tennell, two-time Olympian Mirai Nagasu and Mariah Bell (replacement for 2017 U.S. champion Karen Chen).

It is the end of a challenging season for U.S. women. In the autumn, none qualified for the Grand Prix Final for a second straight year (after at least one had done so each of the previous seven seasons).

In PyeongChang, no U.S. woman finished in the top six for the first time in Winter Games history. Tennell, who emerged this season after placing ninth at 2017 Nationals, was the top U.S. Olympic finisher in ninth.

Tennell goes into worlds as the top seeded American — seventh — by best international scores this season.

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Olympic golf qualifying, format largely unchanged for 2020

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic golf tournaments qualifying and format will remain largely the same as they were for the sport’s return to the Games in 2016, according to Golf Channel, citing a memo sent to PGA Tour players.

The format will again be four rounds of stroke play with 60 men and 60 women taken from the world rankings, according to the report.

The qualifying window to determine the rankings will be July 1, 2018 to June 22, 2020 for men and July 8, 2018 to June 29, 2020 for women. That’s a slight change, as for 2016 the dates were the same for men and women.

The 2016 process saw a maximum of two men and two women per country, or up to four if they were ranked in the top 15.

Then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said one month after the Rio Games that he hoped the Olympic golf format would be changed to have more medals awarded.

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