Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte

Duel in the Pool swimming competition set for December

Leave a comment

The Duel in the Pool, which is becoming swimming’s version of the Ryder Cup, will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, on Dec. 20-21, according to Swimming World.

It reports this year’s duel will pit a U.S. team against European all-stars, the same format as the previous two editions in 2009 (Manchester, England) and 2011 (Atlanta). The first three duels were U.S.-Australia battles during the heyday of their rivalry in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

In Glasgow, swimmers will compete in short-course meters (25-meter pool rather than 50 in the Olympics) at the venue that will be used for the Commonwealth Games next July and August, according to the report.

USA Swimming confirmed the dates but no additional details. An announcement is expected Thursday.

The U.S. is not allowed in the Commonwealth Games, and there are no long-course World Championships until 2015. There are short-course World Championships in December 2014 in Doha, Qatar.

If history is any indication, this will be the most star-studded swim meet between now and the Pan Pacific Championships in August.

In 2011, the U.S. whipped Europe, 181.5 to 80.5 points, thanks to a roster that included Ryan LochteMissy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer. The biggest absences were Michael Phelps Allison Schmitt and Nathan Adrian.

The European team included Olympic medalists Laszlo CsehDaniel Gyurta and Katinka Hosszu (Hungary) and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Netherlands). But it was missing more stars than the U.S., including Yannick Agnel and Camille Muffat (France) and Federica Pellegrini (Italy).

Perhaps the format should be tinkered with in the future given the U.S. has won all five duels.

A U.S.-Asia duel could be much closer than the 2011 blowout, given Japan and China were second and third to the U.S. in the 2012 Olympic swimming medal count. Australia, though, caught up again at the 2013 World Championships. If China was involved, the two best male swimmers in the world could go head to head: Lochte and Sun Yang.

It will be interesting to see which swimmers show up in Scotland in December.

Franklin will be on break from her freshman year at California. Will she want to spend some of that time so far away from her Colorado home?

Quadruple 2013 worlds gold medalist Katie Ledecky will also be on a break, from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Md., where she is a junior.

Who knows where Lochte will be. It’s been reported he hopes to spend four months training in Australia beginning this fall, but he has yet to leave the U.S.

Video: Michael Phelps blinged out in commercial with Lil Jon

Six months to Tokyo Paralympics: Ten athletes to watch

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ten Paralympic hopefuls to watch, six months out from the Tokyo Games Opening Ceremony on Aug. 25 …

Chuck Aoki (Rugby)
The U.S.’ top scorer, but still looking for a Paralympic title after bronze and silver medals in 2012 and 2016. Aoki’s father’s family is from Japan, immigrating to the U.S. in the early 1900s. His great-grandparents and grandparents were placed in World War II internment camps. Aoki switched from wheelchair basketball to rugby after seeing the 2005 Oscar-nominated documentary “Murderball.” He has been on the national team since 2009.

Shingo Kunieda (Tennis)
Japan is known for its tennis players (Naomi OsakaKei Nishikori), but Kunieda is by far the most accomplished. He owns a wheelchair record 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 21 Grand Slam doubles titles and three Paralympic gold medals. Japan earned 24 medals at the Rio Paralympics, but they were all silver or bronze.

Oksana Masters (Cycling)
Already a Paralympic rowing and Nordic skiing medalist, Masters bids for a second Games to add a road cycling medal to her haul. In Rio, she placed fourth in the road race and fifth in the time trial. At her last Paralympics in PyeongChang, Masters came back from a fractured right elbow to earn five medals, including two golds.

Evan Medell (Taekwondo)
The U.S. has a medal contender in taekwondo, which debuted as an Olympic medal sport in 2000 and is on the Paralympic program for the first time in Tokyo. Medell, a 22-year-old licensed diesel mechanic, is ranked No. 1 in the world in the K44 +75kg division after 2019 titles at the European and Parapan American Championships.

Morteza Mehrzad (Volleyball)
Iran dominates men’s sitting volleyball. None of its players were more noticeable in Rio than the 8-foot, 1-inch Mehrzad, who led the team in scoring in the gold-medal match. Mehrzad was also part of Iran’s 2018 World title team, a signal that he could return for another Paralympics in Tokyo.

Becca Meyers (Swimming)
Earned three golds and one silver in individual events at the Rio Games, plus broke three world records. Meyers followed that with medals across three different strokes (plus the individual medley) between the 2017 and 2019 World Championships. She has trained at both the North Baltimore Aquatic Club and the Nation’s Capital Swim Club, which produced Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky, respectively.

Becca Murray (Basketball)
The leading scorer on the U.S.’ Rio Paralympic champion team returned to the program in 2019 after two years away. Murray, who debuted at the Paralympics in 2008 at age 18 (and earned gold), looks to help the U.S. women bounce back from a 2018 World Championship sixth-place finish without her.

Daniel Romanchuk (Track and Field)
Eliminated in the heats of all his Rio Paralympic events as an 18-year-old. Now Romanchuk is a marathon superstar, winning the wheelchair division in Boston, Chicago, London and New York City in 2019. The University of Illinois product is expected to enter a range of distances in Tokyo, given he lowered 800m and 5000m world records on the track in his classification.

Allysa Seely (Triathlon)
Led a U.S. medals sweep in her classification in triathlon’s Paralympic debut in Rio. Followed with world championships medals in 2017 (silver), 2018 (gold in an undefeated season) and 2019 (silver).

Ben Thompson (Archery)
Upset the world No. 1 compound archer to win the world title in 2019. Ended the season with a No. 1 world ranking and Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year from the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. Thompson competed in recent years with sister-in-law Megan‘s name on his arrow wraps. Megan fought breast cancer for years before her death in November as he was en route to the Team USA Awards.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Memorable Paralympic moments from 2010s decade

2020 World Track Cycling Championships TV, live stream schedule

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The world track cycling championships offer an Olympic preview, live on NBC Sports Gold and also airing on Olympic Channel this week.

All five daily sessions, beginning Wednesday, stream live for NBC Sports Gold “Cycling Pass” subscribers. Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA airs same-day delayed TV broadcasts.

The U.S. contingent is led by Chloé Dygert, a world champion on the track and the road who is trying to make the Olympic team in both disciplines. Dygert already qualified for Tokyo by winning the world title in the road time trial in September.

On the track, Dygert swept individual and team pursuit titles in 2017 and 2018 but missed last year’s worlds after a May 2018 concussion. She was part of the 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medal team pursuit squad in Rio.

The U.S. has yet to win an Olympic women’s track cycling title. The individual pursuit is not on the Olympic program, but Dygert could anchor a potent team pursuit. The U.S. finished seventh without Dygert and the late Kelly Catlin at the 2019 Worlds.

The international field is led by married British couple Jason and Laura Kenny, who own 10 combined Olympic titles.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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

Day Time (ET) Key Events Network
Wednesday 12:20 p.m. Team sprints NBC Sports Gold | STREAM
8 p.m.* Olympic Channel | STREAM
Thursday 12:20 p.m. Team pursuits NBC Sports Gold | STREAM
8 p.m.* Olympic Channel | STREAM
Friday 12:20 p.m. Women’s sprint, omnium NBC Sports Gold | STREAM
10:30 p.m.* Olympic Channel | STREAM
Saturday 10:20 a.m. Women’s madison NBC Sports Gold | STREAM
5 p.m.* Olympic Channel | STREAM
Sunday 7:50 a.m. Women’s keirin NBC Sports Gold | STREAM
5 p.m.* Olympic Channel | STREAM

*Delayed broadcast