Michael Phelps was the fastest swimmer in the top seeded 100m butterfly heats and third fastest in the 100m freestyle at the Santa Clara Grand Prix on Friday, the first events of his third comeback meet.
Phelps clocked 52.57 seconds in the 100m fly, faster than the 52.84 and 53.26 in 100m fly prelims from his first two comeback meets in April and May. The finals session begins at 8 p.m. ET.
In the 100m free, he swam 49.99 seconds, beating Olympic champions Yannick Agnel (200m free) and Matt Grevers (100m backstroke) in his heat. It was his first 100m free in competition since swimming the second leg on the U.S. 4x100m free relay at the London Olympics.
Olympic 100m free champion Nathan Adrian was the fastest qualifier at 49.95 in a later heat, followed by Conor Dwyer at 49.96.
Missy Franklin was the top qualifier out of the top seeded heats in the women’s 100m free in 55.12 seconds. Franklin, who became the first woman to win six golds at a single World Championships last year, is coming off her freshman year at California.
She later swam an event she rarely contests, the 100m fly, and took 20th overall in the top seeded heats in 1:01.69, according to Swimming World.
World champion, world record holder unretires after Sochi trip
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the American sprinters whose raised-fist salutes at the 1968 Olympics are an ageless sign of race-inspired protest, will join the U.S. Olympic team at the White House next week for its meeting with President Barack Obama.
Smith and Carlos were sent home from the Olympics after raising their black-gloved fists in a symbolic protest during the U.S. national anthem. They called it a “human rights salute.”
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun asked them to serve as ambassadors as the federation tries to bring more diversity to its own ranks. They will join the team at the White House next Wednesday, then later that evening at an awards celebration in Washington.
The sprinters have been referenced frequently in the recent protests, spurred by Colin Kaepernick, during national anthems at NFL games. One player, Marcus Peters of the Chiefs, raised his own black-gloved fist before Kansas City’s season opener.
“I think Tommie and John have played an important and positive role in the evolution of our attitudes about diversity and inclusion, not only in the United States but around the world,” Blackmun said Friday night at a dinner to celebrate the U.S. performance in Brazil this summer.
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The men’s marathon world record has been broken five of the last nine years at the Berlin Marathon.
Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, who broke the world record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, believes that he can do it again on Sunday, when the race will stream live on the NBC Sports app beginning at 2:30 a.m. ET.
“I’ve trained well and, three years down the line from my world record here, I feel good and believe I have the potential to attempt the world record once more,” he said at today’s press conference, according to the IAAF. “Running at the top level, there is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially when you are running for a time, but I am very focused on the world record.”
Kipsang clocked 2 hours, 3 minutes, 23 seconds when he broke the world record in 2013. A year later, fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto lowered it to 2:02:57 on the same course. Kimetto will not race in Berlin this year.
Kipsang will be challenged by Kenyan compatriot Emmanuel Mutai, who has the fastest time (2:03:13) in the field, and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.
Bekele is a three-time Olympic track champion and the 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder, but acknowledged that his marathon personal best of 2:05:04 places him a distant fourth in the field.
“I consider my personal best of 2:05 to be slow compared to the best runners,” he said. “I want to run as fast as I can on Sunday and beat my best.”
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