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Caeleb Dressel, Sarah Sjöström take FINA Swimmer of the Year honors

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One more honor for Caeleb Dressel to cap a breakout 2017 — FINA Male Swimmer of the Year.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström won Female Swimmer of the Year.

Dressel won seven gold medals at the world championships in July, matching Michael Phelps‘ record, though Dressel had the benefit of mixed-gender relays that weren’t around in the Phelps era.

Dressel’s performances at worlds also led him to win USA Swimming’s Male Athlete of the Year award and be a finalist for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s annual male athlete honor. Kyle Snyder won the latter.

The 21-year-old Dressel took the FINA honor via the swimming body’s points formula that could use a little more detailed explanation.

The other top swimmers this year were Brit Adam Peaty (world’s top breaststroker), Chinese Sun Yang (world champion in 200m and 400m freestyles) and American Chase Kalisz (swept individual medleys at worlds).

Dressel joins Ryan LochteMissy FranklinKatie Ledecky, Phelps and Jordan Wilimovsky (open water) as the only Americans to take home FINA Swimmer of the Year honors. They have been handed out since 2010.

Sjöström, 24, won the 50m and 100m butterflies and the 50m freestyle at worlds. She also broke the 50m and 100m free world records.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, who swept the individual medleys at worlds for a third straight time, won the last three FINA Female Swimmer of the Year awards.

Katie Ledecky, who had her best medal haul at a major meet ever (five golds, one silver), won the FINA award once in 2013. Ledecky would score higher in FINA’s rankings system if she competed in World Cups, which the majority of the top Americans skip.

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Sweden’s top skater rules out defying NHL for Olympic place

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Swedish defenseman Erik Karlsson, the only player to make the NHL’s First All-Star Team each of the last three seasons, will not be going to the PyeongChang Olympics.

The Ottawa Senators captain said he will not follow the lead of Russian Alex Ovechkin, who has said he plans to play in PyeongChang despite the NHL not taking a schedule break to send players to the Winter Games.

“You can have guys go and ask their owners if they can go and play,” Karlsson said on Sportsnet on Thursday. “Am I going to do that? Would I like to do that? Yeah, I would like to go to play in the Olympics. But am I going to? I’m not. I’m not going to leave in the middle of February, leave my teammates, go and ask if I can go do something on my own. So yeah, the door is completely shut, unfortunately, for NHL players to go and play in the Olympics.”

Not exactly. Ovechkin could still go, though the NHL hasn’t yet announced what punishments — if any — players and teams would face for Olympic participation.

International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel said his organization and the NHL have a verbal agreement to respect the NHL’s decision and not allow NHL players in PyeongChang, according to Sport-Express in Russia on Friday. That would mean that if Ovechkin is under contract with the Washington Capitals come February, he wouldn’t be allowed to play in PyeongChang.

Another Russian superstar, Evgeni Malkin, recently said he’s still holding out hope to be an Olympic exception.

Both USA Hockey and Hockey Canada are moving on, saying their 25-man Olympic teams will be made up of players not in the NHL.

Karlsson led Sweden to silver in Sochi, tying for the tournament lead with eight points and being named the best defenseman at the Winter Games.

Karlsson had previously declined to discuss whether he would try to play in PyeongChang back in April, when the NHL announced it would not send players to the Olympics for the first time since 1994.

Sweden’s longtime starting goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, has expressed disappointment (like many players) about the NHL-Olympic situation but hasn’t announced whether he will try and go the Ovechkin route. Neither has Sidney Crosby.

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Simone Manuel upsets world-record holder again for gold (video)

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Simone Manuel pulled off another upset for gold.

The Olympic 100m free co-gold medalist won the world 100m freestyle title by stunning world-record holder Sarah Sjöström in an American record 52.27 seconds in Budapest on Friday.

The Swede Sjöström took silver in 52.31, followed by Denmark’s Pernille Blume in 52.69. American Mallory Comerford was fourth.

“I always think I have a shot,” Manuel told media in Budapest. “It’s kind of been ingrained in me with [having] my two older brothers and just always wanting to keep up with somebody.”

Sjöström was a heavy favorite going into the final, given she clocked 51.71 leading off the 4x100m free relay Sunday, taking .35 off the world record. Sjöström was .08 faster than her world-record pace at the 50-meter mark, but Manuel passed her in the last 10 meters and lowered her personal best by .42.

“It’s so stupid,” Sjostrom said, according to The Associated Press. “The refrigerator on my back was too heavy for me. If it happens when there’s 10 meters left, you can still do it. But with 25 it’s too much. I thought I was un-human the first 50, but I need to understand.”

One year ago, Manuel and Canadian Penny Oleksiak were surprise Rio 100m free co-champions, topping then-world-record holder Cate Campbell of Australia. Campbell skipped worlds.

Manuel became the first U.S. woman to win the world 100m free title since Jenny Thompson in 1998.

She also took back the American record from Comerford, the 19-year-old who lowered it leading off the 4x100m free relay Sunday.

Women’s 100m Freestyle Results
Gold: Simone Manuel (USA) — 52.27
Silver: Sarah Sjöström (SWE) — 52.31
Bronze: Pernille Blume (DEN) — 52.69
4. Mallory Comerford (USA) — 52.77
5. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) — 52.78
6. Penny Oleksiak (CAN) — 52.94
7. Bronte Campbell (AUS) — 53.18
8. Emma McKeon (AUS) — 53.21

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