Ryan Lochte

Franklin, Lochte set to wrap up world swimming championships; Sunday preview

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Missy Franklin swims for a history-making gold No. 6 and Ryan Lochte eyes gold No. 4 on the final night of the world swimming championships Sunday (NBC, 4-6 p.m. ET).

Franklin is expected to lead off the U.S. women’s 4×100 medley relay in the backstroke (though she could swim the anchor freestyle, as well). The U.S. is favored to hold off Australia in the event, the last swim on the program at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.

Should the Americans prevail, Franklin will finish the meet with six gold medals in eight events (she scratched the 50 backstroke after the preliminary heats and took fourth in the 100 freestyle). No woman has won six golds at a single world championships.

The only women to win six medals of any color are East German Kristin Otto and Americans Shirley Babashoff and Tracy Caulkins, all of whom accomplished the feat before Franklin, 18, was born. Otto is the only woman to win six gold medals at a single Olympics.

Lochte joins the men’s medley relay for the third leg, the butterfly. The U.S. men are favorites, albeit slightly less than the women, over the Aussies there. If the U.S. wins, Lochte will finish the meet with four golds and one silver in seven events. He won the 200 backstroke, 200 individual medley and the 4×200 free relay and was second in the 4×100 free relay. Lochte also took fourth in the 200 free and sixth in the 100 butterfly.

Lochte, the second most decorated swimmer in world championships history behind Michael Phelps, racked up five golds and one bronze in 2011 and four golds and one bronze in 2009.

The U.S. has already secured the top spot in the medal standings for both golds and overall medals. It has 12 golds (next highest is four) and 24 overall (next highest is 10). It is extremely unlikely to surpass the gold-medal total from 2011 (16), but has a shot of matching or exceeding the overall count from 2011 (29).

The U.S.’ best performance at a post-Olympics world championships came in 2005, when it won 15 gold medals and 32 overall, but Phelps competed at those worlds. That the Americans will finish close to those totals this year, with Phelps retired, is a testament to the depth of USA Swimming.

Live results

Men’s 50 Backstroke Final

Field
1. Camille Lacourt (FRA) 24.39
2. Jeremy Stravius (FRA) 24.45
3. Guy Barnea (ISR) 24.73
4. Matt Grevers (USA) 24.79
4. Daniel Orzechowski (BRA) 24.79
6. Aschwin Wildeboer (ESP) 24.90
7. Jonatan Kopolev (ISR) 24.95
7. Sun Xiaolei (CHN) 24.95

Preview
The fastest man in the prelims and the then-world leader for 2013, American David Plummer, was last in the semifinals after slipping at the start Saturday. That leaves Lacourt and Stravius, the co-2011 world champions in the 100 back, as the clear favorites. Grevers is looking to become the first man to sweep the 50 and 100 back at one world championships. Barnea hopes to be the first swimmer from Israel to win an Olympic or world swimming medal of any color.

Medal Picks
Gold: Stravius
Silver: Lacourt
Bronze: Grevers

Women’s 50 Breaststroke Final

Field
1. Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 29.48 WR
2. Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 29.88
3. Jessica Hardy (USA) 29.90
4. Breeja Larson (USA) 30.20
5. Petra Chocova (CZE) 30.31
6. Rikke Pedersen (DEN) 30.57
7. Moniek Nijhuis (NED) 30.61
8. Jennie Johansson (SWE) 30.66

Preview
Efimova broke Hardy’s world record in Saturday morning’s heats. The Russian held it for all of eight hours until Meilutyte snatched it by three tenths in the semifinals. That made the order pretty clear going into the final of this non-Olympic event: Meilutyte-Efimova-Hardy. Larson was sixth at the Olympics in the 100 breast and fifth earlier at the Palau Sant Jordi. If either Hardy or Larson medal here, it means an American woman podiumed in every breaststroke event at these worlds, impressive given Rebecca Soni is taking the year off.

Medal Picks
Gold: Meilutyte
Silver: Efimova
Bronze: Hardy

Men’s 400 Individual Medley Final

Field
1. Chase Kalisz (USA) 4:11.87
2. Daiya Seto (JPN) 4:12.96
3. Tyler Clary (USA) 4:13.55
4. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 4:13.80
5. David Verraszto (HUN) 4:13.95
6. Daniel Wallace (GBR) 4:14.15
7. Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS) 4:14.52
8. Thiago Pereira (BRA) 4:15.81

Preview
A U.S. man has won 11 of the last 13 world or Olympic titles in this grueling event — Tom DolanMichael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Lochte shaved this event from his program at trials, though he’s still the fastest American in the 400 IM in 2013. That leaves Clary, the two-time reigning world silver medalist, and Kalisz, 19, from Phelps’ North Baltimore Aquatic Club, to carry the torch. Kalisz waited a week to jump into the Palau Sant Jordi pool, this being his only event at worlds. Though he’s first into the final, the top three in the world this year are Seto, Hagino and Fraser-Holmes, all of whom have gone sub-4:11. Hagino’s world-leading time is 4:07.61, four seconds faster than Kalisz’s personal best. Hagino, 18, already has two silvers in Barcelona, and this is his sixth individual event.

Medal Picks
Gold: Hagino
Silver: Kalisz
Bronze: Seto

Women’s 50 Freestyle Final

Field
1. Cate Campbell (AUS) 24.19
2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) 24.33
3. Jeanette Ottesen Gray (DEN) 24.54
4. Francesca Halsall (GBR) 24.61
5. Bronte Campbell (AUS) 24.62
6. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 24.65
7. Dorothea Brandt (GER) 24.85
8. Simone Manuel (USA) 24.91

Preview
Cate Campbell, the 100 free champ this week, is the clear favorite, a tenth faster than anyone this year. Kromowidjojo, the double Olympic champion in the 50 free and 100 free, is going for her fourth medal of worlds, but she has yet to win a gold. Ottesen Gray was the co-2011 world champion in the 100 and the 2013 world champ in the 50 butterfly. Halsall seeks Great Britain’s first medal of these worlds. Manuel, who turned 17 on Friday, set a personal best to make the final.

Medal Picks
Gold: Cate Campbell
Silver: Kromowidjojo
Bronze: Ottesen Gray

Men’s 1,500 Freestyle Final

Field
1. Sun Yang (CHN) 14:54.65
2. Ryan Cochrane (CAN) 14:55.15
3. Connor Jaeger (USA) 14:56.62
4. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) 14:57.15
5. Pal Joensen (FAR) 14:57.76
6. Jordan Harrison (AUS) 14:58.62
7. Michael McBroom (USA) 14:59.73
8. Daniel Fogg (GBR) 15:00.48

Preview
Sun is attempting to become the second man to sweep the distance freestyles (400, 800, 1,500) at a world championships, joining Australian Grant Hackett (2005). Though the qualifying times Saturday were close, he’s a heavy favorite here. Sun broke Hackett’s world record in winning the 2011 world title at age 19, then lowered it by another three seconds in winning the Olympics by a mind-blowing eight-second margin. His top time for 2013, set at Chinese nationals, is three seconds better than anyone else. The silver could go to Cochrane, the two-time reigning world silver medalist and 2012 Olympic silver medalist. Or, it could go to Jaeger, bronze medalist in the 400 free earlier in the meet. Paltrinieri and Harrison are outside medal threats, as is McBroom, the silver medalist in the 800.

Medal Picks
Gold: Sun
Silver: Cochrane
Bronze: Jaeger

Women’s 400 Individual Medley Final

Field
1. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 4:32.72
2. Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) 4:34.64
3. Ye Shiwen (CHN) 4:34.93
3. Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) 4:34.93
5. Hannah Miley (GBR) 4:34.94
6. Elizabeth Beisel (USA) 4:35.17
7. Maya DiRado (USA) 4:37.39
8. Miyu Otsuka (JPN) 4:37.77

Preview
Hosszu is favored to become the first woman since American Katie Hoff (2005, 2007) to sweep the individual medleys at a worlds. Ye swept the individual medleys at the Olympics, winning the 400 IM in world record time, but gained 11 pounds between London and Barcelona and fell to fourth in the 200 IM this week. She’s in the silver picture along with the crowd favorite Belmonte Garcia, who has a silver and a bronze at this meet already. Miley is the second fastest woman this year behind Hosszu. Beisel took silver to Ye in London.

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

Men’s 4×100 Medley Relay Final

Field
1. United States 3:32.72
2. Australia 3:33.64
3. Russia 3:33.64
4. France 3:34.04
5. Japan 3:34.25
6. Italy 3:34.29
7. Hungary 3:34.64
8. Germany 3:34.91

Preview
Again, it should be the U.S. and Australia going one-two here. And, again, the Aussies will be done in by one poor leg. They didn’t have either of their swimmers make it out of the prelims in the 100-meter butterfly. If Lochte gets into the pool withing a half-second of Australia, it should be over. If he gives the U.S. freestyle anchor, likely Nathan Adrian, a half-second lead, that should be enough to hold off the 100-meter freestyle champion James Magnussen. Lochte’s only other time on this relay at a major international meet was at the 2007 world championships, where the U.S. was disqualified when Ian Crocker left the blocks .01 too soon on the third leg.

Medal Picks
Gold: U.S.
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Russia

Women’s 4×100 Medley Relay Final

Field
1. United States 3:58.66
2. Australia 3:58.73
3. China 3:59.39
4. Great Britain 4:00.04
5. Japan 4:00.18
6. Canada 4:00.34
7. Russia 4:00.69
8. Germany 4:01.30

Preview
The favored U.S. women could sweep the three relays for the first time at a worlds. They’ve got medalists in the 100 backstroke (Franklin, gold), 100 breaststroke (Hardy, bronze) and the 100 butterfly (Dana Vollmer, bronze) on the first three legs. However, Australia has medalists from the 100 back (Emily Seebohm, silver), 100 butterfly (Alicia Coutts, silver) and the 100 freestyle (Cate Campbell, gold). But the Aussies’ Achilles heel is the breaststroke, where they didn’t have anyone reach the 100-meter final. The Americans will need a solid two-second lead going into the final leg, but they should have it.

Medal Picks
Gold: U.S.
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Russia

Russian official says anti-gay law will not apply to Sochi Olympics

Ginny Fuchs hopes to emerge from OCD, tearful Olympic experience

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None of the boxers at this week’s U.S. Olympic Trials competed at a prior Olympics, but flyweight Ginny Fuchs remembers the specifics of her one Olympic experience in Rio.

Fuchs, who won the 2016 Olympic trials but failed to clinch a spot at the Games in international qualifiers, was nonetheless named team captain and brought to Rio as a sparring partner.

She had mixed feelings. Watching from the crowd as Claressa Shields repeated as Olympic champion on the final day of the Games was motivating. Fuchs had toyed with turning professional but, after talking to Shields, decided to forge another four years as an amateur for another chance to become an Olympian.

The Rio Olympic Opening Ceremony, two weeks before that Shields final, was too much for Fuchs to bear. She could not stay in the Athletes’ Village nor march with the U.S. delegation at the Maracana.

“I remember watching the Opening Ceremony at the place I was at with everybody,” she said. “I couldn’t watch. It was hard for me to watch. I went back to my room, cried and went to bed.”

Fuchs is favored to win the 51kg/112-pound division this week at Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles, La., with finals streaming live on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday (4-7 p.m. ET). It’s one of five women’s Olympic weight classes, up from three in 2012 and 2016, the first two editions of the Games for female boxers.

No boxer can clinch an Olympic spot this week, but failing to make a final would all but end Tokyo hopes.

Fuchs’ toughest opponent in this Olympic cycle — which included an undefeated 2017 and a 2018 World bronze medal among more than 130 fights — may be herself. Fuchs has been open about struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It started in fifth grade.

“I can remember the first time I was on the school bus, and I was looking at the ground and looking at everybody’s backpacks on the floor,” said Fuchs, a 31-year-old from the Houston area. “And an instant thought came in mind, like, Oh my god. Everybody’s backpack is getting contaminated by this dirty floor on the bus.”

She cited a more recent example: spending up to 40 minutes washing her hands searching for that “perfect clean feeling.” Fuchs found boxing via a boyfriend after she was kicked off the LSU cross-country running team as a freshman walk-on for damaging school property in a prank.

She said the disorder hit her hardest this year. In January, she was driving to a Walmart three times a day to buy cleaning supplies, according to The New York Times.

She underwent intensive therapy and skipped October’s world championships, where she could have established herself as a clear Olympic gold-medal favorite.

“I still am going to probably do therapy for the rest of my life,” Fuchs said. “Maybe not as intense as I’m doing it right now, but it’s almost like training for boxing.

“You’ve got to keep training to keep winning in boxing. So I’ve got to keep training my OCD thoughts and how to handle and manage it. … Boxing is giving me hope almost. Like OK, outside the ring and in my room and the bathroom, I feel like [OCD] controls me and feel trapped. But I have this environment in this space in the gym, in the boxing ring, where I can be myself. And not let it attack me in a way where I can still enjoy life and not be trapped.”

Should Fuchs make the final of her division in Lake Charles, she will advance to a January camp and tournament, after which the U.S. roster for Olympic qualifying will be named.

If selected, Fuchs would head to a North and South American Olympic qualifying event in early spring in Buenos Aires to clinch the spot she could not secure four years ago. If necessary, she could get a second chance at a global qualifier in May in Paris.

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Yulia Efimova has lawyer ready if Russia ban affects her

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Yulia Efimova, the Russian swimmer who earned two Rio Olympic silver medals after initially being excluded from the Games for serving a prior doping ban, is bracing for another legal fight after the latest sanctions against her nation.

On Monday, Russia was banned from the 2020 and 2022 Olympics and the next four years of world championships in Olympic sports due to more recent anti-doping violations. However, its athletes can still compete as neutrals, if meeting specific anti-doping criteria, similar to how they did at the PyeongChang Winter Games.

Efimova was initially barred from the Rio Olympics under an IOC mandate that any Russian who previously served a doping ban would be ineligible due to the country’s anti-doping violations at that time.

Efimova appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which ruled that IOC stipulation unenforceable. She went on to earn 100m and 200m breaststroke silver medals and develop a rivalry with American Lilly King, who said Efimova should not have been eligible.

It’s unclear from Monday’s ruling whether Efimova will be allowed to compete as a neutral, should Russia accept the sanctions or any appeal to CAS by the nation be denied.

“I will behave in a similar way,” to 2016, Efimova said, according to RT.com. “I have already hired a lawyer. There is a rule that a person can’t be punished twice for the same offense. If you violate a driving code or instigated a brawl you will not be punished twice for that. I hope it will work, but I cannot be sure of [a positive outcome].

“Right after my race at the Rio Games, I said that this doping controversy was not over, it was just the beginning, and we would have problems in the future. It was quite clear. And with every new year the situation is only getting worse and worse.”

Efimova, 27 and the two-time reigning world 200m breast champion, was banned 16 months between 2013 and 2015 after testing positive for a steroid. A FINA panel ruled that Efimova was not intentionally trying to cheat but was negligent in failing to read the label of a GNC store supplement.

“Yes, long ago I made a doping violation,” Efimova said this week, according to RT. “But there are a great number of U.S. and European athletes who have a similar situation regarding doping, and they are competing without any restrictions. If you want to introduce those regulations, they must be equally applied to all athletes, not only Russian competitors.”

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