Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin both take on multiple events; swim worlds Friday preview

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Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte will be very busy on the sixth night of the world swimming championships in Barcelona.

Lochte is in line to swim three events, something he has never done in one finals session at a major international meet (neither has Franklin nor Michael Phelps). This is assuming he does not scratch out of the 100-meter butterfly semifinals.

Lochte, with one gold, one silver and a fourth-place finish so far, will go head to head with Tyler Clary in the 200 backstroke final.

Later, he’s scheduled to swim the 100 butterfly semifinals, a rare event for him on the international scene. He qualified 13th out of Friday morning’s prelims and must make top eight to get into Saturday’s final.

Finally, he’s expected to be part of the U.S. 4×200 freestyle relay to cap the session. The Americans haven’t lost that relay at a worlds or Olympics in 10 years and are clear favorites.

Franklin, who has four golds in four finals so far this week, has three events to go and swims in two of them within about 20 minutes Friday. The 100 freestyle is the first event of the night, and she is no lock to medal. The favorite is Australian Cate Campbell, and Franklin will likely have to swim a personal best to make the podium and keep alive the bid to become the first woman to win seven medals at a single world championships.

She then swims the semifinals of her best event, the 200 backstroke. Even a tired Franklin can place in the top eight to make Saturday’s final there.

The other Friday finals are both 200 breaststrokes. In the women’s event, another world record could be broken. In the men’s, the Olympic champion will look to hold off a teenage world record holder.

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

Women’s 100 Freestyle Final (Franklin)
Men’s 200 Backstroke Final (Lochte)
Women’s 200 Backstroke Semifinals (Franklin)
Men’s 50 Freestyle Semifinals
Women’s 200 Breaststroke Final
Men’s 100 Butterfly Semifinals (Lochte)
Women’s 50 Butterfly Semifinals
Men’s 200 Breaststroke Final
Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Final (Lochte)

NBC, Universal Sports broadcast schedule | Live results

Women’s 100 Freestyle Final

Field
1. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 52.87
2. Cate Campbell (AUS) 53.09
3. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) 53.29
4. Femke Heemskerk (NED) 53.68
5. Missy Franklin (USA) 53.78
6. Britta Steffen (GER) 53.85
7. Shannon Vreeland (USA) 53.99
8. Tang Yi (CHN) 54.09

Preview
Campbell is the heavy favorite, having swum 52.33 this year. Sjostrom, the world 100 butterfly champion, is the second fastest in the world in 2013. Kromowidjojo isn’t in her 2012 form, but the Olympic champion can’t be counted out, either. Franklin swam a personal best in the prelims, but it still ranked just fourth in the world in 2013. Of her three remaining events, this is the only one where a medal is a real question mark. Gold would require a very surprising feat.

Medal Picks
Gold: Campbell
Silver: Sjostrom
Bronze: Franklin

Men’s 200 Backstroke Final

Field
1. Tyler Clary (USA) 1:55.16
2. Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:55.88
3. Ryosuke Irie (JPN) 1:56.14
3. Radoslaw Kawecki (POL) 1:56.14
5. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:56.24
6. Xu Jiayu (CHN) 1:56.42
7. Craig McNally (GBR) 1:56.97
8. Peter Bernek (HUN) 1:57.37

Preview
Beginning with the 1996 Olympics, a U.S. man has won this event at 12 straight world or Olympic meets. The streak should continue. Clary is the reigning Olympic champion. Lochte is the defending world champion. The Japanese, though, own the two fastest times in the world this year, led by Irie, the reigning world and Olympic silver medalist. Second is Hagino, 18, who already has a pair of silver medals in Barcelona.

Medal Picks
Gold: Lochte
Silver: Clary
Bronze: Irie 

Women’s 200 Backstroke Semifinals

Field
1. Missy Franklin (USA) 2:07.57
2. Belinda Hocking (AUS) 2:07.64
3. Hilary Caldwell (CAN) 2:07.81
4. Daria Ustinova (RUS) 2:08.69
5. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2:08.93
6. Sinead Russell (CAN) 2:09.24
7. Daryna Zevina (UKR) 2:09.31
8. Elizabeth Pelton (USA) 2:09.56
9. Meagen Nay (AUS) 2:10.62
10. Federica Pellegrini (ITA) 2:10.65
11. Karin Prinsloo (RSA) 2:10.71
12. Evelin Verraszto (HUN) 2:10.86
13. Sayaka Akase (JPN) 2:10.87
14. Miyu Otsuka (JPN) 2:11.69
15. Anqi Bai (CHN) 2:12.14
16. Eyglo Osk Gustafsdottir (ISL) 2:12.32

Preview
This is Franklin’s signature event. She is the world champion, Olympic champion, world record holder and the only woman to go under 2:06 this year. Even after swimming the 100 free final, she should have no trouble getting top eight to reach Saturday’s final. Pelton, who beat Olympic bronze medalist Elizabeth Beisel at U.S. trials, may be the silver medal favorite, though the 2011 world silver medalist Hocking has a say as well. The wild card is Hosszu, the 200 IM world champion.

Men’s 50 Freestyle Semifinals

Field
1. Florent Manaudou (FRA) 21.72
2. Cesar Cielo (BRA) 21.76
3. Andrii Govorov (UKR) 21.80
4. Matthew Abood (AUS) 21.84
5. Anthony Ervin (USA) 21.87
6. Nathan Adrian (USA) 21.88
7. Vladimir Morozov (RUS) 21.95
8. Marcelo Chierighini (BRA) 22.01
8. Krisztian Takacs (HUN) 22.01
10. Shinri Shioura (JPN) 22.02
11. James Magnussen (AUS) 22.04
11. Roland Schoeman (RSA) 22.04
13. Andrey Grechin (RUS) 22.08
14. George Bovell (TRI) 22.09
15. Frederick Bousquet (FRA) 22.11
16. Norbert Trandafir (ROU) 22.25

Preview
The tough-to-predict splash and dash features a bevy of world and Olympic champions fighting to make Saturday’s eight-man final. Cielo may be the slight favorite as the two-time defending world champion and world record holder. The top seed Manaudou, however, is the Olympic champion. Adrian, the Olympic 100-meter champion, actually owns the fastest time in the world this year, followed by his rival Magnussen, who won the 100 free Thursday. They should all make the final, along with the 2000 Olympic champion Ervin and Russia’s best Morozov.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke Final

Field
1. Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN) 2:19.11 WR
2. Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 2:19.85
3. Marina Garcia Urzainqui (ESP) 2:22.88
4. Micah Lawrence (USA) 2:23.23
5. Rie Kaneto (JPN) 2:23.28
6. Sally Foster (AUS) 2:24.14
7. Viktoriya Solntseva (UKR) 2:24.19
8. Martha McCabe (CAN) 2:24.68

Preview
Pedersen smashed Rebecca Soni‘s world record in the semifinals, but she still could be pushed in the final by Efimova, the Olympic silver medalist and world bronze medalist. There’s little doubt they will go one-two. Bronze is up for grabs with Garcia Urzainqui, Lawrence and Kaneto all in the mix. Lawrence has never won a major international meet medal. Lawrence placed sixth in this event at the London Olympics.

Medal Picks
Gold: Pedersen
Silver: Efimova
Bronze: Garcia Urzainqui

Men’s 100 Butterfly Semifinals

Field
1. Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS) 51.55
2. Chad le Clos (RSA) 51.88
3. Laszlo Cseh (HUN) 51.89
4. Ivan Lendjer (SRB) 51.95
5. Matteo Rivolta (ITA) 52.00
6. Yauhen Tsurkin (BLR) 52.03
7. Steffen Deibler (GER) 52.07
8. Nikolay Skvortsov (RUS) 52.09
9. Konrad Czerniak (POL) 52.12
10. Michael Rock (GBR) 52.13
11. Pawel Korzeniowski (POL) 52.16
12. Thiago Pereira (BRA) 52.23
13. Ryan Lochte (USA) 52.26
14. Eugene Godsoe (USA) 52.38
15. Takuro Fujii (JPN) 52.50
16. Philip Heintz (GER) 52.52

Preview
Like the 200 back, the U.S. has owned this event for a long time. Michael Phelps won the last six combined world and Olympic titles, and Ian Crocker won the two world titles before that. It’s not looking like this streak will continue. Lochte, if he doesn’t scratch out of it, will have to go much closer to his trials time (51.71) just to make the final. Godsoe, the silver medalist in the 50 butterfly, may have a better medal shot. Deibler has been three tenths faster than anyone this year. Korotyshkin and le Clos, who shared silver behind Phelps in London, are probably the other two medal favorites at this point.

Women’s 50 Butterfly Semifinals

Field
1. Francesca Halsall (GBR) 25.69
1. Jeanette Ottesen Gray (DEN) 25.69
3. Ying Lu (CHN) 25.82
4. Brittany Elmslie (AUS) 26.03
5. Christine Magnuson (USA) 26.12
6. Inge Dekker (DEN) 26.15
7. Dana Vollmer (USA) 26.29
8. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) 26.31
9. Silvia Di Pietro (ITA) 26.31
10. Kimberly Buys (BEL) 26.35
11. Sophia Batchelor (NZL) 26.45
11. Farida Osman (EGY) 26.45
13. Tao Li (SIN) 26.48
14. Svetlana Chimrova (RUS) 26.51
15. Sandrine Mainville (CAN) 26.52
16. Melanie Henique (FRA) 26.54

Preview
This event is not contested at the Olympics. Both Americans are Olympic medalists in the 100 fly and are solid picks to make the final. Vollmer, the world record holder in the 100 fly, took bronze in that event earlier this week while battling illness. Magnuson failed to make this final at 2011 worlds, while Vollmer was seventh. Ottesen Gray and Halsall are the two fastest women in the world this year, while Dekker is the defending champion.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke Final

Field
1. Daniel Gyurta (HUN) 2:08.50
2. Marco Koch (GER) 2:08.61
3. Andrew Willis (GBR) 2:09.11
4. Viatcheslav Sinkevich (RUS) 2:09.47
5. Michael Jamieson (GBR) 2:09.96
5. Matti Mattsson (FIN) 2:09.96
7. Akihiro Yamaguchi (JPN) 2:10.00
8. Ryo Tateishi (JPN) 2:10.01

Preview
Gyurta is the two-time defending world champion. He also won gold at the London Olympics, breaking the world record. He’s a solid favorite here, but watch out for Yamaguchi, 18, who reset the world record a month after the Games. Jamieson, the Olympic silver medalist, is the only man who has gone under 2:08 this year. The second fastest man this year, Kevin Cordes of the U.S., failed to make the final.

Medal Picks
Gold: Gyurta
Silver: Koch
Bronze: Yamaguchi

Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay Final

Field
1. United States 7:08.05
2. Russia 7:09.87
3. Japan 7:09.98
4. France 7:10.66
5. Belgium 7:10.69
6. Germany 7:11.06
7. Great Britain 7:13.00
8. China 7:13.37

Preview
Australia, a medal hopeful, finished ninth in the heats (sitting its top two 200 freestylers) and failed to make the final. That leaves the U.S., Russia and France as the likely medalists. The U.S. will add Lochte and Conor Dwyer for the final. Russia and France used their A teams in the prelims and were still well behind the Americans.

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

U.S. Olympian laughs off attention for Lindsay Lohan story

Daniel Romanchuk’s ascent to marathon stardom accelerated at University of Illinois

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The rise of Daniel Romanchuk has been one of the major stories of this Paralympic cycle. The wheelchair racer was eliminated in the first round of all five of his races in Rio.

But now, he’s the world’s best marathoner with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, a world-record holder on the track and already qualified for the Tokyo Games.

Romanchuk, born with spina bifida, was profiled by NBC Sports Chicago as part of a series of NBC Sports Regional Networks pieces published this week — marking 150 days until the Tokyo Olympics and six months until the Tokyo Paralympics.

NBC RSN Olympic and Paralympic Profiles
NBC Sports Bay Area

Abbey Weitzeil (Swimming) — LINK

NBC Sports Boston
Margaret Bertasi (Rowing) — LINK
Abbey D’Agostino Cooper (Track and Field) — LINK

NBC Sports Chicago
Ryan Murphy (Swimming) — LINK

NBC Sports Northwest
Galen Rupp (Marathon) — LINK
Mariel Zagunis (Fencing) — LINK

NBC Sports Philadelphia
Vashti Cunningham (Track and Field) — LINK
Julie Ertz (Soccer) — LINK

NBC Sports Washington
Katie Ledecky (Swimming) — LINK
Kyle Snyder (Wrestling) — LINK

Romanchuk, 21, swept the Boston, London, Chicago and New York City Marathon titles in 2019. He attributes that success to his native Baltimore and his training residence of the University of Illinois.

At age 2, he was enrolled in Baltimore’s Bennett Blazers, an adaptive sports program for children with physical disabilities. Tatyana McFadden, a 17-time Paralympic medalist who dominated women’s wheelchair marathons, planted her athletic roots there.

“Their motto is to teach kids they can before they’re told they can’t,” Romanchuk said.

Things really blossomed for Romanchuk after he moved from Baltimore to the University of Illinois. Illinois was designated a U.S. Paralympic training site in 2014 and has produced McFadden, Jean Driscoll and other U.S. Paralympic stars.

“Without this program, I certainly would not be where I am,” Romanchuk said. “It’s a very unique combination of coaching and teammates.”

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MORE: Ten Paralympic hopefuls to watch for 2020 Tokyo Games

Chloé Dygert wanted to be Steve Prefontaine. Then Larry Bird. Now, her coach.

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Chloé Dygert is the U.S.’ top cyclist, an Olympic medalist and world champion in line to race on the track and the road at the Tokyo Games.

To get to this point — leading the American contingent at the world track cycling championships this week — Dygert was kicked off a soccer team, bribed by her father and, when she thought her career was over, enrolled in 5 a.m. classes to get back on the bike.

“I had no interest in being a cyclist. I did not want to be a cyclist,” she said. “The funny thing is, my dad kept getting me bikes.”

It began in Brownsburg, Ind., a 25,000-person town 15 miles northwest of Indianapolis. Dygert had an older brother, younger brother and a BMX dirt bike track on a 4.5-acre property.

She played soccer, but was moved from the girls’ team to the boys. Dygert developed physically earlier than the other girls. And, “I was a little too mean and aggressive,” she said.

She played basketball but broke too many bones — her own and those of other girls. “Not on purpose,” she said, “but I was just so much bigger and naturally so much stronger.”

Dygert ran cross-country, too, but none of those sports worked out.

“I was going to be Steve Prefontaine,” she said of the fabled 1972 Olympian. “I had some injuries, and I started playing basketball. I was going to be Larry Bird. I had some more injuries, and cycling was just kind of my go-to.”

Dygert, at first reluctant, picked up cycling at the urging of her father, David, a mountain biker. She received bikes for Christmas and her New Year’s birthday, but it wasn’t until later, when she was 15, that her father’s words changed her life.

That summer, when Dygert needed a shoulder surgery from a basketball injury, she went for a ride at a local park with her father. David marveled.

“He said, ‘Chloe, I don’t think a girl your age should be able to put out the power that you’re putting out,'” Dygert remembered. “That kind of stuck with me and got me into wanting to ride a little bit more and seeing where I could go with it.”

David lured her: a pair of Oakleys if Dygert won at her first major competition. She entered junior nationals and grabbed a victory.

“That’s kind of what gave me the motivation to keep going,” she said. “It took me a while to actually love the sport. It definitely was not an interest that I had. But I thrive on winning. I love to win.”

Dygert pursued cycling, but she didn’t stop basketball. Everything changed when she tore an ACL on the court at age 17, a nine-month injury. She never returned to competitive basketball, but she also lost motivation to get back on the bike. Again, David urged her. One last time.

She joined the cycling team at Marian University, a private Catholic school in Indianapolis. David signed her up for 5 a.m. classes.

“I’m still not happy about it,” she said. “I got really disciplined.”

And reinvigorated. The freshman Dygert noticed in a power booster class that her wattage was impressive.

“If it wasn’t for that and the structure and the discipline that I had gotten from that and my dad, I would not be here,” she said. “There’s not a day that goes by, I’m just so thankful for that and for him.”

Dygert dropped out after that first fall semester to focus on a cycling career. That winter, she won a world title with the U.S. team pursuit and was named to become the youngest female U.S. Olympic track cyclist in history.

“I see myself being a Kristin Armstrong, following in her footsteps, being a good all-around rider and a very good time trialist,” Dygert said before earning team pursuit silver at the Rio Olympics, according to The Associated Press.

Armstrong earned her third Olympic road time trial title in Rio, a day before turning 43. She retired and transitioned from Dygert’s mentor to her coach. Dygert recently moved to Armstrong’s native Idaho.

On the eve of September’s world road cycling championships time trial, Armstrong told Dygert to make sure she hurt more than any other rider on the 18-mile course. Dygert obeyed. She went out and won by 92 seconds, the largest margin in history, to become the youngest world champion ever in the event. She collapsed onto the pavement getting off her bike.

“I didn’t race with a power meter,” Dygert said that day, “and I think that really helped not restricting myself, just kind of going as fast as I could the entire time and not really have anything to gauge it off of.”

It qualified Dygert for the Tokyo Olympics on the road. The track team hasn’t been named, but Dygert will surely anchor a new team pursuit quartet. The U.S. has never won an Olympic women’s track title, but the pursuit has been its trademark event — world titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Olympic silver medals in 2012 and 2016.

The only woman on both of those Olympic teams retired (Sarah Hammer).

The cycling community was floored when Kelly Catlin, on all three world title teams with Dygert, committed suicide last March at age 23.

“It’s definitely hard not having her there, but we will carry her legacy on,” Dygert said. “She will be with us every step of the way when we win gold in Tokyo.”

The U.S. women’s team pursuit finished seventh at last year’s worlds without Catlin and without Dygert, who sat out nearly a year after a May 2018 concussion from a road crash. Dygert wondered if she might not be able to come back from the head injury. Expectations were tempered when she and a new team entered a November World Cup in Belarus.

A coach predicted nothing faster than 4 minutes, 17 seconds. They clocked 4:13 and won in what Dygert believed was the U.S.’ second-fastest time since the Rio Games.

“We’ve never raced together before,” Dygert said. “We didn’t really know what we would be able to do.”

Dygert is bidding to race in three events in Tokyo — road race (July 26), road time trial (July 29) and team pursuit (Aug. 3-4). People compare combining the road and the track to training for both the sprints and the marathon. The plurality of the focus will be on the time trial and follow the path set by Armstrong.

“We’re going to be smart about which event that we choose to be full gas for so my fitness is still there for all the other events,” Dygert said. “Being fit for the time trial will also correlate for the track.”

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MORE: Full list of U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics