Cate Campbell

Australian women break 4x100m free relay world record

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Australia broke an Olympic swimming event world record for the first time since 2009 at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday, putting the U.S. on notice one month before the Pan Pacific Championships.

The Australian 4x100m freestyle relay quartet of Bronte CampbellMelanie SchlangerEmma McKeon and Cate Campbell clocked 3 minutes, 30.98 seconds to win gold in Glasgow.

It easily the beat the previous world record of 3:31.72 set by the Netherlands at the 2009 World Championships, the peak of the high-tech swimsuit era.

Cate Campbell, the reigning World champion in the 100m free, is the best of the Aussie bunch. U.S. fans may remember her winning bronze in the 50m free at the 2008 Olympics, when she was 16 years old and swimming in the lane next to 41-year-old Dara Torres, who won silver.

Campbell came back with Schlanger and two others to win the 4x100m free relay at the 2012 Olympics, ahead of the Netherlands and the U.S., which had Missy Franklin leading off.

However, Franklin and the U.S. beat Australia by .12 of a second at the 2013 World Championships. The Americans clocked 3:32.31, the fastest ever by a U.S. quartet, but also 1.33 seconds slower than what the Aussies just posted Thursday.

The Aussies and the U.S. will duel again at the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia.

In terms of the Olympics, the 4x100m free is likely to be one of several events Franklin swims. Last year, Franklin became the first woman to win six gold medals at a single World Championships.

The record for most golds won by a woman at a single Olympics is also six, by East German swimmer Kristin Otto in 1988. If the Aussies are this fast now, they might just play a role in keeping Franklin from matching Olympic history in Rio de Janeiro.

Queen photobombs Commonwealth Games athlete selfie

Lance Armstrong’s $100 million trial set for November

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 20:  Lance Armstrong (C) heads out with cyclists on December 20, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The disgraced Tour de France rider is in New Zealand to film a commercial, and put out a call on social media for local riders to join him on a ride along the Auckland Waterfront.  (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong‘s $100 million legal fight with the federal government has been set for a November trial.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper on Thursday set a Nov. 6 trial start in Washington. Armstrong’s legal team had asked to postpone trial until 2018 because of a potential scheduling conflict.

The government wants Armstrong to pay back the $32 million the U.S. Postal Service paid his team for sponsorship, plus triple damages.

Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis initially filed the whistle-blower case in 2010, accusing him of violating the sponsorship contract by taking performance-enhancing drugs. The government joined the case in 2013 after Armstrong admitted cheating and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and 2000 Olympic bronze medal.

Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for cheating, could collect up to 25 percent of damages awarded.

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Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin set for busy weekend

Lindsey Vonn, MIkaela Shiffrin
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Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin are slated for one of the busiest race weekends of their careers, streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app starting Friday morning.

Vonn and Shiffrin are each expected to race Friday, Saturday and Sunday in World Cup action in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

The schedule:

Friday — Super Combined
Super-G run: 4:30 a.m. ET
Slalom run: 8:30 a.m. ET

Saturday — Super-G
4:30 a.m. ET

Sunday — Super Combined
Super-G run: 4:30 a.m. ET
Slalom run: 7:30 a.m. ET

Plenty is at stake in the first races since the world championships.

Vonn, who earned downhill bronze at worlds, hopes to move closer to the career World Cup wins record of 86 held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark. She picked up her 77th victory last month, her only win in eight races since coming back in January from knee and upper arm fractures.

Vonn returned quickly, with little training, and said at worlds she was unable to put her hair in a ponytail due to a lack of grip in her right hand from November broken arm surgery. She duct-taped her right glove to her ski pole for her final two races at worlds.

Vonn last won a super-G on Jan. 24, 2016, and last won a combined event on Jan. 27, 2012.

Shiffrin, who took slalom gold and giant slalom silver at worlds, enters the weekend with a hefty 414-point lead on her closest challenger in the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

It would take a collapse in the final 11 races over the next month for Shiffrin not to become the third U.S. woman to take the crown after Tamara McKinney and Vonn.

It looked as if Shiffrin and defending overall champion Lara Gut would battle for the title, until Gut suffered a torn ACL and meniscus damage in a world championships super combined warm-up two weeks ago, ending her season.

Shiffrin, already a multiple Olympic medal favorite, could be poised for her first World Cup podium in super-G or super combined this weekend. She was a career-best fourth in her most recent super-G at a World Cup stop last month.

The youngest Olympic slalom champion will also benefit from the fact that Friday and Sunday’s combined races feature a super-G and a slalom rather than a downhill and a slalom. Shiffrin is stronger in super-G than downhill.

After Crans-Montana, the World Cup schedule has three more stops — a downhill and super-G at the 2018 Olympic venue in South Korea, followed by a giant slalom and slalom in Squaw Valley, Calif., and the four-race World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo.

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