Nathan Adrian, James Magnussen

Quartet of American Olympic champions vie for medals at world swimming championships Thursday

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The four biggest U.S. swim stars should be in action on the busiest night of the world swimming championships thus far in Barcelona on Thursday.

Four-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin swims twice, leading off in the 100-meter freestyle semifinals (Universal Sports, noon ET) and then capping the session as part of the 4×200 free relay final.

Franklin, with three golds already, is working on the fourth and fifth events of a potential seven. No woman has ever won seven medals at a worlds before. Katie Ledecky, with two golds in Barcelona, should also be a part of that relay.

Ryan Lochte swims his third final, seeking his second medal, in the 200 individual medley, where he enters as the top seed and big favorite. He later takes on the semifinals of the 200 backstroke.

Perhaps the most anticipated final of the night, though, is the men’s 100 free. U.S. Olympic champion Nathan Adrian goes head to head with Olympic silver medalist and defending world champion James Magnussen of Australia in that one (as well as fellow American Jimmy Feigen, who qualified second behind Adrian into the final).

Here’s the order of events, followed by full fields, previews and medal picks:

Women’s 100 Freestyle Semifinals (Franklin)
Men’s 200 Individual Medley Final (Lochte)
Women’s 200 Breaststroke Semifinals
Men’s 100 Freestyle Final (Adrian, Magnussen)
Women’s 200 Butterfly Final
Men’s 200 Breaststroke Semifinals
Women’s 50 Backstroke Final
Men’s 200 Backstroke Semifinals (Lochte)
Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Final (Franklin, likely Ledecky)

NBC, Universal Sports broadcast schedule | Live results 

Women’s 100 Freestyle Semifinals

Field
1. Cate Campbell (AUS) 53.24
2. Missy Franklin (USA) 53.36
3. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 53.61
4. Britta Steffen (GER) 53.93
5. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) 54.12
6. Tang Yi (CHN) 54.21
6. Femke Heemskerk (NED) 54.21
8. Shannon Vreeland (USA) 54.25
9. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH) 54.42
10. Michelle Coleman (SWE) 54.53
10. Veronika Popova (RUS) 54.53
12. Bronte Campbell (AUS) 54.67
13. Camille Muffat (FRA) 54.84 — SCRATCHED
14. Pernille Blume (DEN) 54.88
15. Qiu Yuhan (CHN) 54.93
16. Karin Prinsloo (RSA) 55.05

Preview
The reigning co-world champions in this event elected not to swim it — Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen Gray and Belarus’ Aleksandra Herasimenia. No matter, the heavy favorite is Australian Cate Campbell. She’s been one second faster than anyone else this year and posted the fastest relay leg in the 4×100 free Sunday. Franklin, second fastest in the world this year, 2009 world champion Steffen and 2012 Olympic champion Kromowidjojo shouldn’t have any problems making the final, either. Franklin set a personal best in her heat.

Men’s 200 Individual Medley Final

Field
1. Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:57.07
2. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:57.38
3. Laszlo Cseh (HUN) 1:57.41
2. Thiago Pereira (BRA) 1:57.52
5. Wang Shun (CHN) 1:57.80
3. Daiya Seto (JPN) 1:58.03
4. Daniel Tranter (AUS) 1:58.10
5. Simon Sjodin (SWE) 1:58.17

Preview
Lochte showed signs of weakness in his first two events in Barcelona — an unspectacular leg on the silver medal-winning 4×100 free relay and a fourth-place finish in the 200 free. He was back to his dominant self in the 200 IM semis Wednesday and looks primed for his first gold at this meet and third straight world title in this event. Hagino, 18, might just be the second best all-around swimmer in the world. He’s in six events in Barcelona and the only man in this field who has been within a second of Lochte’s best time this year. Cseh, who has medaled in this event at every worlds and Olympics since 2005, joins Pereira and Wang as the top threats behind Lochte and Hagino.

Medal Picks
Gold: Lochte
Silver: Hagino
Bronze: Pereira

Women’s 200 Breaststroke Semifinals

Field
1. Micah Lawrence (USA) 2:21.74
2. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN) 2:22.20
3. Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 2:23.13
4. Rie Kaneto (JPN) 2:23.91
5. Marina Garcia Urzainqui (ESP) 2:24.21
6. Viktoriya Solnceva (UKR) 2:24.65
7. Shi Jinglin (CHN) 2:25.73
8. Martha McCabe (CAN) 2:25.91
9. Jessica Vall Montero (ESP) 2:26.62
10. Breeja Larson (USA) 2:26.90
11. Satomi Suzuki (JPN) 2:27.31
12. Sally Foster (AUS) 2:27.41
13. Suyeon Back (KOR) 2:27.47
14. Jiwon Yang (KOR) 2:27.78
15. Jenna Laukkanen (FIN) 2:28.04
16. Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir (ISL) 2:28.12

Preview
All 16 of these swimmers should be thankful Ruta Meilutyte doesn’t compete in this distance. Also missing is the two-time reigning Olympic champion Rebecca Soni, who’s in Barcelona but not swimming this year. That leaves the field a little wide open, though Pedersen has posted a 2:20.53 this year. Efimova won bronze in the 100 breast earlier this week and also won bronze in the 200 breast at the Olympics. Suzuki is the Olympic silver medalist. The Americans should both make the final. Lawrence is second fastest in the world this year; Larson is fifth.

Men’s 100 Freestyle Final

Field
1. Nathan Adrian (USA) 47.95
2. Jimmy Feigen (USA) 48.07
3. Marcelo Chierighini (BRA) 48.11
4. Vladimir Morozov (RUS) 48.20
4. James Magnussen (AUS) 48.20
6. Fabien Gilot (FRA) 48.21
7. Cameron McEvoy (AUS) 48.43
8. Luca Dotto (ITA) 48.46

Preview
This has been billed as the biggest one-on-one showdown of the world championships — Adrian, the Olympic champion, vs. Magnussen, the defending world champion. Adrian got the better of Magnussen by .01 in London. Magnussen looked much better this year coming into worlds. But Adrian outsplit Magnussen on their 4×100 free relay leadoff legs and posted the best semifinal time. It’s a toss-up as to who will take gold. Feigen, Morozov and Gilot are the other top medal contenders.

Medal Picks
Gold: Magnussen
Silver: Adrian
Bronze: Morozov

Women’s 200 Butterfly Final

Field
1. Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) 2:06.53
2. Camille Adams (USA) 2:06.75
3. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2:06.85
4. Natsumi Hoshi (JPN) 2:07.18
4. Liu Zige (CHN) 2:07.18
6. Zszuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) 2:07.31
7. Jiao Liuyang (CHN) 2:07.70
8. Judit Ignacio Sorribes (ESP) 2:07.87

Preview
Garcia takes aim at Spain’s first world or Olympic title for a Spanish-born swimmer. The Chinese could be her biggest competition. Jiao is the world and Olympic champion. Liu, the 2009 world champ, is the world record holder. Hosszu, the 200 IM world champion, is the wild card. Adams’ semifinal swim made her the fourth fastest woman this year. She’s definitely in the medal picture. The U.S. only has one Olympic or world medal in this event since 2001.

Medal Picks
Gold: Belmonte Garcia
Silver: Jiao
Bronze: Hosszu

Men’s 200 Breaststroke Semifinals

Field
1. Marco Koch (GER) 2:09.39
2. Andrew Willis (GBR) 2:09.91
3. Daniel Gyurta (HUN) 2:09.94
4. Matti Mattsson (FIN) 2:10.16
5. Akihiro Yamaguchi (JPN) 2:10.17
6. Ryo Tateishi (JPN) 2:10.41
7. Giedrius Titenis (LTU) 2:10.70
8. Viatcheslav Sinkevich (RUS) 2:10.82
9. Laurent Carnol (LUX) 2:10.94
10. Tomas Klobucnik (SVK) 2:11.00
11. Kevin Cordes (USA) 2:11.40
12. Marat Amaltdinov (RUS) 2:11.41
13. Christian vom Lehn (GER) 2:11.45
14. Michael Jamieson (GBR) 2:11.47
15. B.J. Johnson (USA) 2:11.64
16. Panagiotis Samildis (GRE) 2:11.71

Preview
Gyurta is two-time defending world champion and the 2012 Olympic champion. The Olympic silver medalist Jamieson is way down the list of qualifiers but is still the fastest man in the 200 breast this year. Cordes, the U.S. champion, owns the second fastest time in the world this year. It would be a surprise if any of them were left out of Friday’s final.

Women’s 50 Backstroke Final

Field
1. Fu Yuanhui (CHN) 27.40
2. Aya Terakawa (JPN) 27.70
3. Mercedes Peris Minguet (ESP) 27.71
4. Zhao Jing (CHN) 27.87
5. Etiene Medeiros (BRA) 27.89
6. Rachel Bootsma (USA) 27.93
7. Lauren Quigley (GBR) 28.02
8. Georgia Davies (GBR) 28.05

Preview
Franklin scratched out of this event before Wednesday’s semifinals, taking her total number of events down from eight to seven. Fu would have been the favorite anyway in this non-Olympic event. She’s been three tenths faster than anyone this year — a big margin in a 50-meter race — and was three tenths faster than anyone in the semifinals. Terakawa, No. 2 in the world in 2013, is the 2011 world silver medalist. Bootsma, in her only event at these worlds, is No. 3 in the world this year.

Medal Picks
Gold: Fu
Silver: Terakawa
Bronze: Bootsma

Men’s 200 Backstroke Semifinals

Field
1. Tyler Clary (USA) 1:56.76
2. Craig McNally (GBR) 1:57.18
3. Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:57.19
4. Peter Bernek (HUN) 1:57.20
5. Yannick Lebherz (GER) 1:57.33
6. Matson Lawson (AUS) 1:57.48
7. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:57.52
8. Ryosuke Irie (JPN) 1:57.53
9. Christopher Walker-Hebborn (GBR) 1:57.95
10. Gabor Balog (HUN) 1:57.98
11. Radoslaw Kawecki (POL) 1:57.99
12. Xu Jiayu (CHN) 1:58.29
13. Federico Turrini (ITA) 1:58.54
14. Danas Rapsys (LTU) 1:59.11
15. Leonardo De Deus (BRA) 1:59.17
16. Darren Murray (RSA) 1:59.19

Preview
Lochte and Hagino return from the 200 IM final and should both qualify into the eight-man final here, too. Lochte is the defending world champion. Clary is the reigning Olympic champion. The fastest man in the world is Irie (1:54.72), who has won silver behind three different Americans at the last two world championships and the Olympics. Hagino (1:55.12) owns the second fastest time of 2013. The medals should come down to the U.S. and Japan come Friday.

Women’s 4×200 Free Relay Final

Field
1. China 7:52.50
2. Australia 7:52.69
3. United States 7:53.03
4. Spain 7:54.90
5. France 7:56.38
6. Canada 7:56.64
7. Japan 7:56.86
8. Italy 7:57.41

Preview
China led off with double Olympic champion Ye Shiwen in the heats, and she posted the second fastest leg of any of swimmer in the morning session — and the top clocking if you take out reaction times. The U.S. didn’t use Franklin, Ledecky or Vreeland in the heats, but all should be on the final quartet. They Americans have taken gold to the Australians’ silver at 2011 worlds and the 2012 Olympics. China and France should fight for bronze.

Medal Picks
Gold: United States
Silver: Australia
Bronze: France

FINA president believes Michael Phelps is coming back

Allyson Felix named to US 4×400 relay pool for worlds

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Decorated U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix will be part of the 4×400 relay pool for the world championships as she rounds into elite form after giving birth.

The American squad bound for the world championships in Doha, Qatar, was announced Monday by USA Track & Field. It includes eight reigning world champions and 55 Olympians. The championships run Sept. 27 to Oct. 6 at the air-conditioned Khalifa Stadium. That will come in handy with the temperatures during the event expected to hover around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius).

An 11-time world champion, Felix won’t compete in an individual event after finishing sixth in the 400 at the U.S. championships two months ago. Her performance earned her a place in the 4×400 relay pool as the Americans try to defend their title. The 33-year-old Felix’s race at nationals was her first since giving birth to her daughter last November during an emergency C-section.

Felix’s aim is to be back in top form for the Tokyo Games next summer.

The list of Americans trying to defend their world titles in Doha include Justin Gatlin (100), Tori Bowie (100), Phyllis Francis (400), Kori Carter (400 hurdles), Christian Taylor (triple jump) , Brittney Reese (long jump), Sam Kendricks (pole vault) and Emma Coburn (steeplechase).

One of the most anticipated races at worlds will be the 200 meters, featuring a showdown between Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles in what could be a sneak peek ahead to the Tokyo Olympics. Coleman, who’s also a favorite in the 100, is eligible for worlds and next year’s Olympics after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency dropped his case for missed tests due to a technicality.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

South African sprinter Carina Horn fails doping test

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MONACO (AP) One of Africa’s fastest female sprinters, Carina Horn, has been suspended for failing a doping test.

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees doping cases in track and field, says the South African is provisionally suspended after testing positive for the banned substances ibutamoren and ligandrol. Both substances can develop muscles with a similar effect to anabolic steroids and have been used by bodybuilders.

No date has been set for a hearing.

Horn won silver in the 100 meters and gold in the 4×100 relay at the African championships in 2016.

Her personal best of 10.98 seconds for the 100 is the South African record. Her best time this season of 11.01 is well inside the qualifying standard for the upcoming world championships.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports