Caeleb Dressel wins three gold medals in one day at swimming worlds

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Who is replacing Michael Phelps as swimming’s alpha male? Caeleb Dressel answered loudly on Saturday.

Dressel became who is believed to be the first swimmer to win three gold medals in one day at an Olympics or world championships, giving him six golds for the meet in Budapest.

He can match Phelps’ record of seven golds at a worlds Sunday in the men’s medley relay.

“The comparisons … are probably inevitable,” Dressel said in a press conference Saturday night. “But I’m not the same person as Michael. … My goal here is not to count medals. So, it’s a tough question. I don’t know if I welcome them [comparisons], but I know they’re going to come. I don’t think it puts any more pressure on me.”

The rising University of Florida senior captured the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly and was part of the winning U.S. mixed 4x100m freestyle relay in a two-hour span on Saturday. He received social media congratulations from Phelps on Instagram and Ryan Lochte on Twitter, plus a reported text from Phelps.

Also, Katie Ledecky finished worlds with her fifth gold (and sixth medal overall) by winning the 800m freestyle, but she was eight seconds slower than in Rio and followed by a 15-year-old Chinese phenom.

In the 50m free, Dressel clocked 21.15 seconds, an American record and the fastest time outside of the super-suit era. Brazil’s Bruno Fratus took silver in 21.27, followed by Great Britain’s Ben Proud for bronze.

In the 100m butterfly, Dressel won in 49.86, missing Michael Phelps‘ world record from the 2009 Worlds by .04. Hungarian Kristof Milak took silver in 50.62, followed by Olympic champion Joseph Schooling and James Guy sharing bronze in 50.83.

Finally, Dressel led off the mixed relay to an easy gold, being joined by Nathan AdrianMallory Comerford and Simone Manuel to break the world record by more than three seconds.

“It all goes back to training and just preparing for situations like this,” Dressel said on NBC. “College swimming, you’re used to swimming two or three times a night. … This isn’t just an accident. This is a three-year process.”

Before Saturday, Dressel won golds in the 100m freestyle, men’s 4x100m free relay and mixed 4x100m medley relay in Budapest.

He should anchor the heavily favored U.S. men’s medley relay on Sunday before taking an algebra test on Monday and then exploring Europe.

“I haven’t had much time to think tonight,” Dressel told media in Budapest. “As physically demanding as it is, mentally it’s even more straining. … Give myself 30 minutes tonight. I guess let it sink in a little bit, and then it’s time to refocus for that relay tomorrow.”

Though Dressel can match Phelps’ medal record, Phelps was unable to swim mixed relays as they were not on the worlds program when he won seven events in 2007. Mark Spitz also won seven golds at the 1972 Olympics without mixed relays.

“I wouldn’t put myself with that group yet,” Dressel said. “I’m still getting my feet wet in international swimming.”

Still, Dressel marked an incredible rise in the last year. The former No. 1 swim recruit in the nation, who nearly quit the sport three years ago, led off the Olympic 4x100m free relay to gold and swam one other individual event in Rio, placing sixth in the 100m free.

He qualified to swim in as many as nine events in Budapest, though he sat out one relay and placed fourth in the 50m butterfly.

Also Saturday, Australian Emily Seebohm won Australia’s first gold medal of the meet by repeating as 200m backstroke champion. Seebohm clocked a national record 2:05.68 to win by .17 over Katinka Hosszu. American Kathleen Baker picked up bronze.

Swede Sarah Sjöström won the 50m butterfly in 24.60 seconds, topping Dutchwoman Ranomi Kromowidjojo by a whopping .78. Farida Osman won Egypt’s first Olympic or world swimming medal with a bronze.

Sjöström clocked the second-fastest time ever and now holds the 12 fastest times ever in the non-Olympic event. She later broke the world record in the 50m freestyle semifinals, giving her four current world records (50m and 100m butterflies and freestyles).

Lilly King led the qualifiers into Sunday’s 50m breaststroke final by breaking her American record with a 29.60. She’ll be bordered by Russian rival Yulia Efimova, the No. 2 seed, in the final.

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WORLDS: TV Schedule | Schedule/Results | Race Videos

Men’s 50m Freestyle Results
Gold: Caeleb Dressel (USA) — 21.15
Silver: Bruno Fratus (BRA) — 21.27
Bronze: Ben Proud (GBR) — 21.43
4. Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 21.46
5. Pawel Juraszek (POL) — 21.47
6. Ari-Pekka Liukkonen (FIN) — 21.67
7. Kristian Gkolomeev (GRE) — 21.73
8. Cesar Cielo (BRA) — 21.83

Men’s 100m Butterfly Results
Gold: Caeleb Dressel (USA) — 49.86
Silver: Kristof Milak (HUN) — 50.62
Bronze: Joseph Schooling (SGP) — 50.83
Bronze: James Guy (GBR) — 50.83
5. Laszlo Cseh (HUN) — 50.92
6. Li Zhuhao (CHN) — 50.96
7. Grant Irvine (AUS) — 51.00
8. Mehdy Metella (FRA) — 51.16

USA Gymnastics closes Karolyi Ranch

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USA Gymnastics said it will no longer use the Karolyi Ranch in Texas as its training center, where athletes said Larry Nassar sexually abused gymnasts.

“USA Gymnastics has terminated its agreement with the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas,” USA Gymnastics CEO and president Kerry Perry said in a press release Thursday. “It will no longer serve as the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center.

“It has been my intent to terminate this agreement since I began as president and CEO in December. Our most important priority is our athletes, and their training environment must reflect this. We are committed to a culture that empowers and supports our athletes.

“We have cancelled next week’s training camp for the U.S. Women’s National Team. We are exploring alternative sites to host training activities and camps until a permanent location is determined. We thank all those in the gymnastics community assisting in these efforts.”

MORE: Nassar calls hearing ‘media circus’ as Olympic gymnasts testify

World champions Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols said that Nassar sexually abused gymnasts at the ranch.

“When I was 15 I started to have back problems while at a National Team Camp at the Karolyi Ranch,” Nichols wrote in a victim impact statement read at one of Nassar’s sentencing hearings on Wednesday and published last week. “This is when the changes in his medical treatments occurred.

“I trusted what he was doing at first, but then he started touching me in places I really didn’t think he should. He didn’t have gloves on and he didn’t tell me what he was doing. There was no one else in the room and I accepted what he was doing because I was told by adults that he was the best doctor and he could help relieve my pain.

“He did this ‘treatment’ on me, on numerous occasions.”

Raisman, a three-time Olympic champion, urged USA Gymnastics to close the ranch in a Tuesday interview on ESPN.

“I hope USA Gymnastics listens because they haven’t listened to us so far,” she said. “I hope they listen, and I hope they don’t make any of the girls go back to the ranch. No one should have to go back there after, you know, so many of us were abused there.”

Simone Biles did not specifically name the Karolyi Ranch in her Monday statement, but Raisman said Tuesday that Biles was referring to that site.

“It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing at Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused,” was posted on Biles’ social media.

Jamie Dantzscher, a 2000 Olympian, said Nassar was alone with her in her bed at the ranch.

“There was no one else sent with him,” she said on CBS last year. “The treatment was in the bed, in my bed that I slept on at the ranch.”

USA Gymnastics said in July 2016 that it reached an agreement with former national team coordinators Bela and Martha Karolyi to purchase the training facility the couple owned.

The national governing body backed out of the purchase in May “for a variety of reasons” but continued under its current lease agreement while exploring alternative locations for camps. It held national team camps there in September and November.

The Karolyis established the ranch in 1983 after defecting from Romania. It had been a national team training center since 2001.

Larry Nassar calls hearing ‘media circus’ as Olympic gymnasts testify

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A statement from McKayla Maroney read Thursday repeated that sexual assault by Larry Nassar “left scars” in her mind that may never fade as a judge heard a third day of testimony from victims.

Nassar could be sentenced Friday in Lansing. Since Tuesday, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has been listening to dozens of young women who were molested after seeking his help for injuries.

Aquilina started the hearing Thursday by saying Nassar had written a letter fearing that his mental health wasn’t strong enough to sit and listen to a parade of victims. He called the hearing “a media circus.”

The judge dismissed it as “mumbo jumbo.”

“Spending four or five days listening to them is minor, considering the hours of pleasure you’ve had at their expense, ruining their lives,” Aquilina said.

Nassar, 54, faces a minimum sentence of 25 to 40 years in prison for molesting girls as a doctor for Michigan State University and at his home.

He also was a team doctor at USA Gymnastics for nearly two decades. He’s already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.

“Dr. Nassar was not a doctor,” Maroney said in a statement read by a prosecutor (Maroney’s statement was previously posted in the fall). “He left scars on my psyche that may never go away.”

USA Gymnastics in 2016 reached a financial settlement with Maroney that barred her from making disparaging remarks. But the organization this week said it would not seek any money for her “brave statements.”

A 2000 Olympian, Jamie Dantzscher, looked at Nassar and said, “How dare you ask any of us for forgiveness.”

“Your days of manipulation are over,” she said. “We have a voice. We have the power now.”

Nassar wasn’t the only target. Victims also criticized Michigan State and USA Gymnastics.

Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon attended part of the session Wednesday. The school is being sued by dozens of women, who say campus officials wrote off complaints about the popular doctor.

“Guess what? You’re a coward, too,” current student and former gymnast Lindsey Lemke said Thursday, referring to Simon.

The judge has been praising each speaker and criticizing Nassar.

It’s “about their control over other human beings and feeling like God and they can do anything,” Aquilina said of sex offenders.

On Jan. 31, Nassar will get another sentence for sexual assaults at a Lansing-area gymnastics club in a different county.