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

Nathan Adrian, James Magnussen
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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

Mikaela Shiffrin, three gates from gold, skis out of world championships combined

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin was three gates from a record-tying seventh world championships gold medal when she lost her balance and straddled a gate, skiing out of the first race of worlds on Monday.

Italian Federica Brignone won the women’s combined instead, prevailing by 1.62 seconds over Swiss Wendy Holdener, the largest Olympic or world championships men’s or women’s margin of victory in the event since it switched from three runs to two in 2007.

Austrian Ricarda Haaser took bronze in an event that is one run of super-G followed by one run of slalom.

At 32, Brignone, the 2020 World Cup overall champion, won her first global title and became the oldest female world champion in any event.

“What was missing in my career was a gold medal,” she said. “So I’m old. No, I’m just kidding.”

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Shiffrin was sixth fastest in the opening super-G run, 96 hundredths behind Brignone. She skied aggressively in the slalom in a bid to beat Brignone. Shiffrin cut the gap to eight hundredths by the last intermediate split with about 10 seconds left on the course in Meribel, France.

Shiffrin looked set to overtake Brignone until tripping up slightly with five gates left. It compounded, and Shiffrin couldn’t save the run, losing control, straddling the third-to-last gate and skiing out. The timing system still registered her finish — 34 hundredths faster than Brignone — but it was quickly corrected to the obvious disqualification.

Asked on French TV if she lost focus, Shiffrin said, “People are going to say that no matter what.”

“The surface changed a little bit on these last gates, so [on pre-race] inspection I saw it’s a bit more unstable on the snow,” she added. “I tried to be aware of that, but I knew that if I had a chance to make up nine tenths on Federica, or more than that, like one second, I had to push like crazy. So I did, and I had a very good run. I’m really happy with my skiing.”

It marked Shiffrin’s first time skiing out since she did so in three races at last February’s Olympics, where her best individual finish was ninth in five races.

“What she did at the Olympics versus what she did in this run, two completely different things,” NBC Sports analyst Steve Porino said on the Peacock broadcast, adding that it was “an error of aggression.” “It certainly wasn’t nerves that sent her out. This was Shiffrin knowing that she had to have a huge run to get the gold medal.

“The way she went out this time, I think she can brush that one off.”

Shiffrin was bidding to tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12). Coming into Monday, she earned a medal in her last 10 world championships races dating to 2015.

Her next chance to match those records comes in Wednesday’s super-G, where she is a medal contender. Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel is the world’s top-ranked super-G skier through five races on the World Cup this season, though she was 71 hundredths behind Brignone in Monday’s super-G run.

Shiffrin has raced two super-Gs this season with a win and a seventh place.

She is expected to race three more times over the two-week worlds, which is separate from the World Cup circuit that she has torn up this season.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup wins in 23 starts across all disciplines since November, moving her one shy of the career victories record of 86 accumulated by Swede Ingemar Stenmark in the 1970s and ’80s. Again, world championships races do not count toward the World Cup, which picks back up after worlds end in late February.

Worlds continue Tuesday with the men’s combined.

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2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships results

Mikaela Shiffrin World Championships
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Top 10 and notable results from the 2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships in Meribel and Courchevel, France …

Women’s Combined
Gold: Federica Brignone (ITA) — 1:57.47
Silver: Wendy Holdener (SUI) — +1.62
Bronze: Ricarda Haaser (AUT) — +2.26
4. Ramona Siebenhofer (AUT) — +2.48
5. Franziska Gritsch (AUT) — +2.71
6. Michelle Gisin (SUI) — +3.43
7. Laura Gauche (FRA) — +3.71
8. Emma Aicher (GER) — +3.78
9. Elena Curtoni (ITA) — +4.05
10. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) — +4.91
13. Bella Wright (USA) — +6.21
DQ (slalom). Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)
DNS (slalom). Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI)
DNS (slalom). Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR)
DNS (slalom). Sofia Goggia (ITA)
DNF (super-G). Marta Bassino (ITA)
DNF (super-G). Breezy Johnson (USA)
DNF (super-G). Tricia Mangan (USA)

Men’s Combined (Feb. 7)
Women’s Super-G (Feb. 8)
Men’s Super-G (Feb. 9)
Women’s Downhill (Feb. 11)
Men’s Downhill (Feb. 12)
Team Parallel (Feb. 14)
Men’s Parallel (Feb. 15)
Women’s Parallel (Feb. 15)
Women’s Giant Slalom (Feb. 16)
Men’s Giant Slalom (Feb. 17)
Women’s Slalom (Feb. 18)
Men’s Slalom (Feb. 19)

ALPINE WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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