Dana Vollmer

Meilutyte breaks world record; Franklin, Lochte advance to finals at swim worlds as U.S. wins two more medals

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The second night of the world swimming championships provided a few surprises, but Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin didn’t disappoint, advancing to their first individual finals in Barcelona.

Lochte is the second qualifier into the 200-meter freestyle final Tuesday night. Franklin overcame a slip at the start to gain the top seed into the 100 backstroke final, also Tuesday. Lochte, already with a 4×100 free relay silver, is on the second of a planned seven events this week. Franklin, a gold medalist in the 4×100 free relay, is on No. 2 of eight.

The big international news came in the semifinals of the 100 breaststroke, where Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte broke the world record.

Two Americans medaled among the four finals Monday. Olympic champion Dana Vollmer took bronze in the 100 butterfly, overcoming illness. Eugene Godsoe was a surprise silver medalist in the 50 butterfly, an event that’s not on the Olympic program.

The other finals saw Hungarian Katinka Hosszu win the 200 individual medley (Olympic champion Ye Shiwen was fourth), and Australian favorite Christian Sprenger take the 100 breaststroke.

Scroll down for event-by-event results, video and analysis.

NBC, Universal Sports broadcast schedule | Live results | Swimming on newspaper front pages

Men’s 100 Breaststroke Final

Results
Gold: Christian Sprenger (AUS) 58.79
Silver: Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 58.97
Bronze: Felipe Lima (BRA) 59.65
4. Damir Dugonjic (SLO) 59.68
5. Fabio Scozzoli (ITA) 59.70
6. Kosuke Kitajima (JPN) 59.90
7. Kevin Cordes (USA) 1:00.02
8. Nic Fink (USA) 1:00.10

Summary
The Olympic champion van der Burgh blazed out, making the turn two tenths under world-record pace. He couldn’t sustain it and got ran down by the favored Aussie, who came into the final with the three fastest times in the world this year. Sprenger had finished second to van der Burgh in London. Both Americans are collegians and will only get better.

Women’s 100 Butterfly Final

Results
Gold: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 56.53
Silver: Alicia Coutts (AUS) 56.97
Bronze: Dana Vollmer (USA) 57.24
4. Jeannette Ottesen Gray (DEN) 57.27
5. Katerine Savard (CAN) 57.97
6. Ilaria Bianchi (ITA) 58.11
7. Noemie Ip-Ting Thomas (CAN) 58.13
8. Claire Donahue (USA) 58.30

Summary
Sjostrom took the world title back from Vollmer, who was the reigning Olympic champion and world-record holder. Vollmer had said Sunday she was feeling ill and still has the 50 fly and medley relay left. Sjostrom won the world title as a 15-year-old in 2009 and was the fastest qualifier into the final. Coutts picked up her second silver after bursting into tears following losing the lead on anchor of the 4×100 free relay Sunday.

“I just kept telling myself that it was less than a minute and that my body can pull it together,” Vollmer said on Universal Sports. “Last night I felt horrible.”

Men’s 100 Backstroke Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Matt Grevers (USA) 52.97
2. David Plummer (USA) 53.10
3. Jeremy Stravius (FRA) 53.23
4. Ryosuke Irie (JPN) 53.41
5. Camille Lacourt (FRA) 53.42
6. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 53.68
7. Ashley Delaney (AUS) 53.74
8. Gareth Kean (NZL) 53.81

Summary
The five fastest men in the world this year were among the top six qualifiers into Tuesday’s final. Grevers, the reigning Olympic champion, posted the fastest time in the world this year to win his semifinal. Plummer, who beat Grevers at nationals, is in great shape to medal as well. Stravius, who anchored France to 4×100 free relay gold Sunday, had the world’s fastest time before Grevers took it. Stravius and Lacourt shared the world title in 2011. Both Japanese men could also factor into the medals. It’s a stacked final.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 1:04.45 WR
2. Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 1:05.29
3. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN) 1:05.99
4. Jessica Hardy (USA) 1:06.10
5. Breeja Larson (USA) 1:06.61
6. Viktoria Solnceva (UKR) 1:06.67
7. Jennie Johansson (SWE) 1:06.96
8. Marina Garcia (ESP) 1:07.12

Summary
Meilutyte broke the world record by one tenth, the first world record set this year. Meilutyte, who stunned Rebecca Soni to win Olympic gold at age 15, was .07 off the world record in the prelims. Hardy was the previous world-record holder and looks likely to fight for a bronze. Meilutyte is a huge gold-medal favorite, and Efimova is a clear pick for silver going into Tuesday’s final.

Men’s 50 Butterfly Final

Results
Gold: Cesar Cielo (BRA) 23.01
Silver: Eugene Godsoe (USA) 23.05
Bronze: Frederick Bousquet (FRA) 23.11
4. Nicholas Santos (BRA) 23.21
5. Andriy Hovorov (UKR) 23.22
6. Yauhen Tsurkin (BLR) 23.28
6. Steffen Diebler (GER) 23.28
8. Florent Manaudou (FRA) 23.35

Summary
The 50 fly is not an event contested at the Olympics. Cielo, the world-record holder in the 50 free and 100 free, defended his world title, as expected. But the surprise story was Godsoe, 25, who won silver in his first major international meet after being the last man to qualify into the final.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” Godsoe told Universal Sports. “I knew for the 50 fly, if you have a lane, you have a shot.”

Women’s 100 Backstroke Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Missy Franklin (USA) 59.31
2. Emily Seebohm (AUS) 59.38
3. Elizabeth Pelton (USA) 59.44
4. Aya Terakawa (JPN) 59.80
5. Fu Yuanhui (CHN) 59.82
6. Daryna Zevina (UKR) 59.90
7. Simona Baumrtova (CZE) 59.99
8. Belinda Hocking (AUS) 1:00.24

Summary
Franklin, swimming the second of a potential eight events, slipped off the start but came back to become the top qualifier into Tuesday’s final. Franklin didn’t contest this event at 2011 worlds but won it at the 2012 Olympics. She’s a big favorite for gold after the second fastest in the morning prelims, Katinka Hosszu, scratched the event to focus on the 200 individual medley. Seebohm and Terakawa, the Olympic silver and bronze medalists, will fight for the same medals in the final. As will Pelton, who just missed making the Olympic team by finishing third in two events at trials.

“I totally slipped,” Franklin told Universal Sports. “Definitely not what we want, but that’s good that it happened now and not tomorrow. … Even though it happens, you just have to continue on like you’re swimming a normal race. We’ve kind of prepared for something like that to happen.”

Men’s 200 Freestyle Semifinals

Advanced To Final
1. Danila Izotov (RUS) 1:45.84
2. Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:46.06
3. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:46.87
4. Robbie Renwick (GBR) 1:46.95
5. Yannick Agnel (FRA) 1:47.01
6. Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:47.05
7. Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS) 1:47.21
8. Cameron McEvoy (CHN) 1:47.31

Summary
Lochte, the defending world champion, is easily into the final of his first individual event at worlds — and second event of a planned seven. The slight edge as favorite may have to go to Izotov, who also owns the world’s fastest time of 2013 (1:44.87). Hagino qualified for two finals Monday and already has a silver from the 400 free. Agnel, the champion in London, has yet to show his Olympic form in Barcelona, having swum a poor leadoff leg in Sunday’s 4×100 free relay.

“It felt kind of smooth,” Lochte told Universal Sports. “I know there’s a lot left. I kind of didn’t push myself until the last 75 (meters).”

Women’s 200 Individual Medley Final

Results
Gold: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2:07.92
Silver: Alicia Coutts (AUS) 2:09.39
Bronze: Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) 2:09.45
4. Ye Shiwen (CHN) 2:10.48
5. Caitlin Leverenz (USA) 2:10.73
6. Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) 2:10.95
7. Sophie Allen (GBR) 2:11.32
8. Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (GBR) 2:12.03

Summary
The Olympic gold medalist and defending world champion Ye was lucky to get fourth. She was eighth after 150 meters. Remember, Ye came under scrutiny at the 2012 Olympics for swimming a faster final 50 meters in her 400 IM victory than Lochte did in his. Hosszu opted out of a potential medal in the 100 back to focus on this event. It paid off big time. Coutts won her second silver of the night.

Video: Michael Phelps answers questions on comeback speculation

Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

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Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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