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

Ragan Smith delivers in first U.S. championship title win

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ragan Smith embraced the role of heavy favorite coming into the U.S. gymnastics championships.

Thrust into the spotlight for the first time in her career, the 17-year-old hardly appeared intimidated by the stage. Smith pulled away from the field to claim her first national title Sunday, posting a score of 115.250, more than three points clear of Jordan Chiles in second place and Riley McCusker in third.

Smith opened up a 1.3-point lead over McCusker in the opening round Friday but admitted afterward she wasn’t particularly impressed by her own performance. She was considerably sharper less than 48 hours later, her 57.850 total in the finals was the best in the 16-woman all-around field by nearly two points.

Smith is one of the few holdovers from the 2016 Olympic cycle, serving as an alternate for the “Final Five” team that won half of the available medals in Rio de Janeiro last fall. Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez are taking breaks or have moved on, leaving Smith as the standard bearer for new national team coordinator Valeri Liukin.

The program appears to be in solid hands. Smith ditched “The Addams Family” themed floor routine she used last year for something a little more mature. It’s not the only part of her gymnastics that has grown up. Smith finished first on floor and beam and tied for third on bars.

Smith will be in the mix for the all-around title at the world championships in Montreal, where she’ll have a chance to extend the U.S.’s dominance. An American woman has won the world or Olympic title each of the last six years. Barring injury, Smith should be right there.

Liukin said he wasn’t alarmed following an uneven performance by the field in preliminaries, calling it a positive step for a group lacking in experience. The gymnastics were markedly improved in the finals.

Chiles slipped by McCusker into second thanks to a fabulous save on beam in which she turned a near disaster into something decidedly artful.

Chiles was in the middle of “wolf turn” (basically spinning on one foot while in a crouch on a 4-inch wide piece of wood) when she nearly fell over. Instead she rose to her feet, kept rotating, and went right into the next part of her routine as if it was planned all along.

Chiles’ steadiness gives Liukin another option as he tries to put together the rest of the four-woman team that will join Smith in Montreal. McCusker, only recently recovered from foot and wrist injuries, tried to keep the heat on Smith but stepped out of bounds following the last tumbling pass on her floor routine. McCusker finished first on bars — her legs practically magnetized together as she went from bar to bar — to win the event with ease.

Ashton Locklear, like Smith an alternate last summer, wound up second on bars with a watered down routine as he makes her way back from her own injury issues and should have time to install upgrades before Montreal.

Whoever heads to Canada in October will go with the usual expectations for what has become the sport’s most dominant program.

MORE: Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles has competed in the six previous U.S. National Championships, winning the last four, but in Anaheim this year, she’s watching from the sidelines. Biles won four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor) and one bronze (on beam) last summer at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

This week she revealed she has returned to the gym to prepare for a yet to be determined event, in her return to competition.

When asked how she’s been doing in the gym by NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce, Biles responded with her signature smile accompanied by an endearingly bashful eye roll, “the beginning is…OK.”

MORE: Danell Leyva on why he’s retiring

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