Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte

Michael Phelps enters 5 events at Pan Pacific Championships

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The Pan Pacific Championships psych sheets are out, providing a look at which events the U.S.’ best swimmers are entered in at the biggest international meet of the year.

Michael Phelps is entered in five events — the 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley. Of course, he could pull out of any of them between now and the start of the meet Thursday.

These are the events Phelps has focused on the most since coming out of a 20-month competitive retirement in April. Phelps went winless at the U.S. Championships last week for the first time since the 2000 Olympic Trials.

Phelps’ longtime rival, Ryan Lochte, is entered in the same five events plus the 200m backstroke. Lochte won one event at Nationals, the 200m individual medley over Phelps.

Times from the U.S. Championships and Pan Pacific Championships will determine the U.S. roster for the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia. No more than two Americans can qualify for the A finals of an individual event at Pan Pacs, though many more can swim in the preliminary heats.

Pan Pacs are in Gold Coast, Australia, which is 14 hours ahead of Eastern time, and run through Aug. 24 in the pool. The open-water competition at Pan Pacs is Aug. 25.

Missy Franklin is entered in the same four individual events she swam the finals in at the 2013 World Championships — the 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 200m backstroke and 200m freestyle. Franklin won the first three at the U.S. Championships and was second to Katie Ledecky in the 200m free.

Ledecky, who has broken 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle world records this year, is entered in the 100m free, 200m free, 400m free, 800m free and 1500m free.

The U.S.’ biggest competition will come from host and longtime rival Australia.

World 100m free champion James Magnussen is entered in the 50m free and 100m free. He is slated to go up against the U.S. Olympic champion in the 100m free, Nathan Adrian, in both events.

Sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell are the top two seeds in the 50m free and 100m free, creating tough competition for Franklin in the latter.

Christian Sprenger, the World champion in the 100m breaststroke, is out of Pan Pacs with a shoulder injury. That means American Kevin Cordes‘ biggest threats will come from Japan.

Japan’s roster does not include the most decorated breaststroker of all time, Kosuke Kitajima, who failed to qualify for the team. Nor does it include 200m breast world record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi.

Japan’s biggest star is Kosuke Hagino, who won Worlds silver in the 400m free and 200m IM at age 18 last year. Hagino is entered in the 200m back, 200m free, 200m IM, 400m free and 400m IM.

South Korea’s four-time Olympic medalist Park Tae-hwan is in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyles.

Brazil’s roster does not include its most decorated swimmer, Cesar Cielo. South Africa did not send Olympic champions Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos. China’s team is missing Olympic champions Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen.

Janet Evans sees parallels with Katie Ledecky

Kerri Walsh Jennings’ next partner is a familiar one

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Kerri Walsh Jennings is slated to play with with 2008 Olympian Nicole Branagh this summer, after she and Olympic bronze medal teammate April Ross split last month.

Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion with Misty May-Treanor before that bronze in Rio, and Branagh, who made the Beijing Games quarterfinals with Elaine Youngs, are entered in an FIVB World Tour event in Croatia the last week of June.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are both 38 years old and briefly paired in 2010 when May-Treanor was uncertain about making a run for the London Olympics. When May-Treanor told Walsh Jennings she was all-in for London, Walsh Jennings split from Branagh.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are hoping to play together through the World Tour Finals in late August, according to Volleyball Magazine.

That includes the world championships in Vienna, Austria, in late July and early August.

It’s not known if they will have the combined ranking points to earn an outright worlds spot. They could also receive a wild card for worlds. Entries will be announced next month.

Walsh Jennings, a mother of three, has said she hopes to play in the 2020 Olympics at age 41, when she will be older than any previous Olympic beach or indoor volleyball player, according to Olympic historians.

Branagh returned to competition this year after a one-year break to have her second child. She has played few international events since 2012 and last won internationally in 2010 (with Walsh Jennings).

Ross, an Olympic silver and bronze medalist and 2009 World champion, is now partnered with Lauren Fendrick, who played with Brooke Sweat in Rio. Ross, 34, said she will figure out her long-term partner plans for Tokyo 2020 after this season.

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Catching up with Ross Powers

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Ross Powers, now 38 years old and 15 years removed from his Olympic snowboarding title, is still out with halfpipe riders on the snow five days per week.

The difference now is that Powers is coaching. He runs the snowboarding program at Stratton Mountain School in Vermont, where he graduated from in 1997.

Powers spoke with OlympicTalk before last season, reflecting on 20 years of snowboarding in the Olympics, Shaun White and how he likes coaching.

OlympicTalk: The PyeongChang Winter Games will mark 20 years since snowboarding’s debut in Nagano. What was it like competing in the first Olympic halfpipe?

Powers (who won bronze in Nagano at age 19): It seemed kind of like a regular World Cup. We were up in the mountains. At the time, it was a really good halfpipe, but we ended up competing in some bad weather, some rain. I didn’t realize until I left Japan and got home how big the Olympics were. But looking back, it was a special time. And I really learned from the ’98 Olympics, like if I get this chance again, I’m going to go there, I’m going to do it all. I’m going to go to Opening Ceremonies, Closing Ceremonies, watch as many events as I can and just make the most out of the Games.

OlympicTalk: The Nagano halfpipe was about half the size of today’s superpipes (394 feet long with 11 1/2-foot walls vs. 590 feet with 22-foot walls in Sochi). Could today’s snowboarders compete with you guys back in 1998?

Powers: It was so different. At the time, I want to say it was the biggest pipe we rode, but compared to today’s standards, it’s small. The weather was tricky. I think a lot of those guys [today] could ride it, but it’s so much different than today’s halfpipe for sure.

OlympicTalk: In 2002, when you led a U.S. men’s halfpipe medal sweep, the rider who just missed the Olympic team was a 15-year-old Shaun White. What do you remember about him?

Powers: You kind of knew he was going to be the next guy. Where he took our sport and certain tricks. One thing that really impressed me about him is he’ll train really hard for an event, show up, even if the conditions are bad, he’s planned this trick he wants to do, and he’ll try it no matter what. Most of the time he’ll give it a go and land it. That actually hurt him in Russia [White attempted but couldn’t perfect the YOLO Flip 1440 in Sochi] because he probably could have stepped down a notch, gotten a medal and maybe even won the event.

OlympicTalk: Did Shaun ever beat you before you retired?

Powers: I had my run from 1998, ’99, ’00, ’01, all those times that I was doing really well. I tried to make the 2006 Olympics in Italy. I was the alternate, so I just missed that. He was definitely beating me up through those times.

OlympicTalk: Did you travel to the Torino Olympics as an alternate?

Powers: I did, yeah. I traveled over there and actually watched my buddy [Seth] Wescott win the gold in boarder cross. That night, he was like, you should try boarder cross. That kind of got me into doing that my next few years after that.

[Editor’s Note: Powers almost made the 2010 Olympic team in snowboard cross, even finishing third in a December 2009 World Cup.]

OlympicTalk: Which is tougher, coaching or competing?

Powers: I would say it is tougher coaching than competing. You just have so many responsibilities and so much work. The nice thing about coaching, though, compared to competing, is you can kind of push yourself and have fun [riding] on certain days but then also sit back and really work with the athletes on all other days. So when you’re feeling it, you can push yourself. So it’s not like an athlete, where you have to push yourself.

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