Tom Shields

U.S. edges Europe in tiebreak relay to win Duel in the Pool (video)

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The U.S. remained unbeaten in the Duel in the Pool — barely.

Down 68-54 after Friday, the Americans rallied to win the Ryder Cup-style swimming event 132-131 following a tiebreaking mixed relay when the teams were even after 30 scheduled races in Glasgow, Scotland, on Saturday.

NBC will televise the Duel in the Pool on Sunday from 4-6 p.m. ET.

The U.S. has won all six duels, including a 181.5-80.5 whipping of a European all-star team at the last edition in 2011 in Atlanta. The first three duels were U.S.-Australia battles during the heyday of their rivalry in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

This matchup was expected to be the closest yet, given the U.S. was missing Michael PhelpsRyan Lochte and Missy Franklin and its star, Katie Ledecky, was feeling under the weather and managed one podium finish, second place in the 200m freestyle Saturday.

“I didn’t have the best meet,” a hoarse Ledecky said, according to Swimming World. “But it sure as heck will be one that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Europe led by as much as 86-63 after 17 of 30 races in the short-course meet. The pool was 25 meters long, as opposed to Olympic-size 50-meter pools.

Points were awarded for first, second and third place in individual events (five for first, three for second, one for third). Seven points were given in winner-take-all relays.

The U.S. stormed back with five straight individual wins but never led, forcing a 131-131 tie after the final men’s 4x100m freestyle relay anchored by Cullen Jones.

“It was intense,” two-time U.S. Olympian Anthony Ervin said, according to Swimming World“I heard mutterings about that we had to win the last relay in order to go to the tiebreaker relay. Personal efforts aside, we dug deep like we did the whole day as a team.”

So, the teams came back out for a mixed 4x50m medley relay. The U.S. led after each split with anchor Simone Manuel touching .20 of a second ahead of Great Britain’s Francesca Halsall to set off “U-S-A” chants.

A 2015 Duel in the Pool announcement has not been made, but it is expected to be staged in the U.S.

Women’s 800m Freestyle — Europe 77, U.S. 54
1. Mireia Belmonte Garcia (EUR) 8:07.90
2. Lotte Friis (EUR) 8:10.40
3. Jazmin Carlin (EUR) 8:12.01

Men’s 800m Freestyle — Europe 80, U.S. 60
1. Michael McBroom (USA) 7:33.99
2. Pal Joensen (EUR) 7:39.69
3. Michael Klueh (USA) 7:41.96

Women’s 200m Freestyle — Europe 86, U.S. 63
1. Michelle Coleman (EUR) 1:53.63
2. Katie Ledecky (USA) 1:53.83
3. Melani Costa (EUR) 1:53.96

Men’s 200m Freestyle — Europe 87, U.S. 71
1. Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:41.68
2. Tyler Clary (USA) 1:43.84
3. Robbie Renwick (EUR) 1:44.44

Women’s 100m Backstroke — Europe 91, U.S. 76
1. Olivia Smoliga (USA) 57.06
2. Simona Baumrtova (EUR) 57.11
3. Daryna Zavina (EUR) 57.16

Men’s 100m Backstroke — Europe 92, U.S. 84
1. Eugene Godsoe (USA) 50.08
2. Tom Shields (USA) 50.18
3. Chris Walker-Hebborn (EUR) 50.55

Women’s 100m Breaststroke — Europe 93, U.S. 92
1. Jessica Hardy (USA) 1:04.65
2. Micah Lawrence (USA) 1:05.27
3. Sophie Allen (EUR) 1:05.39

Men’s 100m Breaststroke — Europe 97, U.S. 97
1. Kevin Cordes (USA) 56.88
2. Marco Koch (EUR) 57.05
3. Damir Dugonjic (EUR) 57.08

Women’s 200m Butterfly — Europe 103, U.S. 100
1. Mireia Belmonte Garcia (EUR) 2:03.31
2. Cammile Adams (USA) 2:04.61
3. Franziska Hentke (EUR) 2:05.83

Men’s 200m Butterfly — Europe 107, U.S. 105
1. Tom Shields (USA) 1:50.61
2. Velimir Stjepanovic (EUR) 1:52.06
3. Roberto Pavoni (EUR) 1:52.87

Women’s 50m Freestyle — Europe 115, U.S. 106
1. Francesca Halsall (EUR) 23.93
2. Jeanette Ottesen Gray (EUR) 24.02
3. Simone Manuel (USA) 24.40

Men’s 50m Freestyle — Europe 115, U.S. 115
1. Jimmy Feigen (USA) 21.20
2. Cullen Jones (USA) 21.27
2. Anthony Ervin (USA) 21.27

Womens’ 200m Individual Medley — Europe 121, U.S. 118
1. Sophie Allen (EUR) 2:05.90
2. Caitlin Leverenz (USA) 2:06.77
3. Hannah Miley (EUR) 2:08.55

Men’s 200m Individual Medley — Europe 124, U.S. 124
1. Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:53.51
2. Roberto Pavoni (EUR) 1:54.20
3. Chase Kalisz (USA) 1:54.26

Women’s 400m Freestyle Relay — Europe 131, U.S. 124
1. Europe 3:27.70
2. U.S. 3:28.96

Men’s 400m Freestyle Relay — Europe, 131, U.S. 131
1. U.S. 3:06.66
2. Europe 3:07.95

Mixed 4x50m Medley Relay — U.S. 132, Europe 131
1. U.S. 1:37.17
2. Europe 1:37.37

Video: U.S., Canada in women’s hockey brawl

Karen Chen breaks U.S. Champs scoring record; Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold trail

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KANSAS CITY — A skater broke the U.S. Championships women’s short program scoring record Thursday night, but it wasn’t Ashley Wagner or Gracie Gold.

Karen Chen, a 17-year-old former junior star who struggled the last two years, tallied 72.82 points at the Sprint Center to lead going into Saturday’s free skate (8 p.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Mirai Nagasu, a 2010 Olympian, is second, .87 of a point behind.

That leaves Wagner and Gold, who combined to win the last five U.S. titles, in third and fifth, respectively.

This is concerning for Wagner (1.88 behind Chen) and Gold (7.97 behind) given U.S. Figure Skating can send three women to worlds in two months. That selection will be made this weekend, primarily — but not totally — based off U.S. Championships results.

Tessa Hong is in fourth place, but at 14 years old is too young for senior worlds.

Full results are here.

Though Wagner and Gold are usually higher placed, the biggest surprise was Chen.

“My body’s still trembling right now,” she said, two hours after her performance.

Chen skated a clean program Thursday, rare for her in the last couple of seasons. Chen burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old two years ago, finishing third at nationals behind Wagner and Gold.

She was too young to be selected for the 2015 Worlds team. Little has been heard from Chen since.

She dropped to eighth at the 2016 U.S. Championships and came into Kansas City as the seventh-ranked U.S. woman this season. Struggling to find comfortable boots — a common skater problem — has plagued her. She went through 14 pairs in a four-month stretch.

“Everyone has doubts, and I certainly do as well,” said Chen, who choreographed her short program. “But I just kept pushing and telling myself that I’m gaining more experience, I’m learning about everything in the process and I’m just going to keep getting better.”

Wagner bounced back from her last outing — her worst Grand Prix finish in 25 career starts — with a decent program. She needed to save a double Axel near the end of her short. The 2016 World silver medalist was the pre-event favorite.

“People do not understand how difficult of a position I am in,” said Wagner, a 25-year-old bidding to become the oldest U.S. women’s champion in 90 years. “It might seem like I’m on top of the world, or second from being top of the world, but this is a very tough position to be in. It’s mentally been weighing on my shoulders all season. To be able to come out and show people I am a fighter, I’m really proud of that.”

Gold needed to show a fighting spirit given her well-publicized disaster of a fall season. And she did. Her only miss in the short program was doubling a planned triple flip.

“I can feel a huge improvement as a skater. I think everyone can see it,” Gold said. “I have made comebacks before. This doesn’t feel like a major comeback in some ways, because I felt pretty solid. … A long program is worth a lot of points, and I can certainly deliver some good long programs. I kind of feel like I’m due for a good one.”

If Gold doesn’t improve in the free skate, she could be left off the worlds team for the first time in her senior career. However, Gold believes her strong credentials in recent seasons merit consideration.

“We’ve seen different controversies where people aren’t on the [nationals] podium, and they’re still selected for events,” Gold said. “Michelle Kwan has not gone to nationals and been selected for an Olympic team [in 2006]. I believe that I deserve to be on the world team, but I’m not on the selection committee. Of course, every athlete feels like they should be on the world team.”

Earlier Thursday, the pairs short program produced surprise leaders.

The U.S. Championships continue Friday with the short dance and men’s short program. A full broadcast schedule is here.

MORE: U.S. Figure Skating boss wants Russia out of PyeongChang

Women’s Short Program
1. Karen Chen — 72.82
2. Mirai Nagasu — 71.95
3. Ashley Wagner — 70.94
4. Tessa Hong — 65.02
5. Gracie Gold — 64.85

 

Gwen Jorgensen pregnant, to sit out 2017 triathlon season

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: USA's Gwen Jorgensen followed by Switzerland's Nicola Spirig Hug (L) compete in the running portion of the women's triathlon at Fort Copacabana during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 20, 2016.(Photo by Jeff Pachoud-Pool/Getty Images)
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Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen is pregnant and will not compete this year.

“Just kind of take this year a little bit easier,” Jorgensen said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.

The baby is due Aug. 3, according to Jorgensen’s social media.

Jorgensen, 30, became the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion in Rio after going in as the heavy favorite. She has said for months that she planned to take time off to have a baby before returning to defend her Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

Swiss Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016 silver medalist, is reportedly expecting a child in May.

In Jorgensen and Spirig’s absences, the top triathletes going into the season are defending world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, U.S. Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True and Britons Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.

Jorgensen’s last competition was the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, when she finished 14th in her first running race longer than 10 miles.

The World Triathlon Series kicks off in Abu Dhabi the first weekend of March.

MORE: Triathlon federation boss wants Olympic races shortened