Diana Nyad, Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte swims with Diana Nyad

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NEW YORK — Diana Nyad swam a leisurely 80 yards in a lane next to the world’s greatest swimmer and felt compelled to stop during 48 continuous hours in a pool.

“How cool is this?” Nyad, in a pink cap, black suit and gray goggles, said to a couple hundred people outside the world’s largest Macy’s at Herald Square. “Swimming under the Empire State Building with Ryan Lochte?”

She went back to stroking away, 240 more yards with Lochte.

Lochte, the 11-time Olympic medalist, joined Nyad, the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, as part of the “Nyad Swim for Relief” on Tuesday. Nyad, 64, set out to swim for 48 straight hours to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

“I love swimming, but 48 hours of swimming, I don’t know if I could do that,” Lochte said before an emcee mentioned event sponsor Tide. “I do one load of laundry, and I’m tired.

“What she did, that swim (Cuba to Florida in September), is amazing. I was glued to my TV, watching and saying, ‘Come on, keep going.'”

Lochte arrived before 3:45 on a 65-degree Tuesday afternoon. In a gray long-sleeve shirt and jeans, he bent down at the edge of the deck at a special 5-foot-high, 40-yard pool and shared a five-minute conversation with Nyad. She had just finished swimming laps with a boy named James, a Sandy survivor from Staten Island.

Registered lifeguards from the New York Health & Racquet Club, with whistles, are taking turns monitoring the laps.

“I was just trying to imagine what stroke you will do to go at my pace,” Nyad asked Lochte. “Is it a dog paddle? Is it an elementary backstroke?”

Lochte stuck to freestyle.

Nyad knows her international swimming. She name dropped Tunisian Ous Mellouli, the only swimmer to win Olympic and world titles in both the pool and open water.

“When I was having real bicep tendon problems, he told me to instead of keeping the standard elbow high, to come in real low with the shoulders,” she told Lochte. “It’s not as pretty, and it puts more strain on the bicep down here, but it really helps you.”

Nyad also talked to Lochte about an instance where she heard nine-time Olympic champion Mark Spitz speak in retirement. A coach asked Spitz to talk to his team.

“He says, ‘OK, how many of you are the first one at practice? And how many of you do the most yards? And he says, ‘You’re all losers,'” Nyad told Lochte. “What you want is quality. Save it for the meets.”

Lochte declined to answer questions about his move to Charlotte through the 2016 Olympics.

He told the Charlotte Observer on Monday that he moved from his decade-long base of Gainesville, Fla., to train with friend Cullen Jones and SwimMAC Carolina because “it’s time for a change.”

That change may mean different races.

“In my next swimming career, which started (Monday) morning, I want to train for some sprint events now,” Lochte, 29, told the newspaper. “I’m not done yet. I think there’s a lot more I can accomplish in the sport of swimming. I want to take my swimming to a new (level), and I want to bring it here to Charlotte.”

Richard Simmons and 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin are scheduled to swim with Nyad on Wednesday.

Olympic swimming community reacts to Diana Nyad’s record swim

Meryl Davis, Charlie White, Kimmie Meissner, Casey entering skating Hall of Fame

Meryl Davis, Charlie White
AP
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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — As they enter the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame, Meryl Davis and Charlie White ponder just who they are joining in receiving one of the highest honors in their sport.

“One of the things that makes it so special is we are friends with and respect so much so many previous people who have gone into the Hall of Fame,” Davis said before the induction ceremony Saturday. “Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamguchi, Brian Boitano — people we look up to and now we are in their company.”

As are 2006 world champion Kimmie Meissner and the late Kathy Casey, one of American figure skating’s most successful coaches.

Davis and White, along with training partners and friends Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, were at the forefront of bringing ice dance to previously unreachable heights for Americans. Once the abyss of the sport, Americans now tend to populate podiums in international competitions.

In 2010 at the Vancouver Olympics, Davis and White followed Belbin and Agosto four years earlier as silver medalists. At the Sochi Games in 2014, they edged Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 champions, for the gold.

Davis and White won every U.S. title from 2009-14, plus two world crowns.

NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

But Davis and White were — and are — about so much more than their on-ice performances. He now coaches and she has been instrumental in the startup and development of Figure Skating in Detroit, an offshoot of the inner city Figure Skating in Harlem program that has been a rousing success in New York City.

“When we were young skaters and took the lay of the land of the sport,” White said, “we thought about becoming leaders of the sport. We recognized we would have a role as we were ascending and we felt it was a real responsibility. Be thoughtful and considerate with anyone you deal with. We tried to let our skating do the talking as competitors, but we wanted the way we conducted ourselves off the ice to be professional and helpful to the sport.

“We have felt the responsibility because of everything skating has given to us to give back responsibly and, in the end, to always be grateful.”

Meissner, still one of the few American women to master the triple Axel, also is one of those rare athletes to be a champion on all level. She won novice, junior and senior U.S. titles.

Her performance at age 16 at Calgary worlds soon after finishing sixth at the Turin Olympics as the youngest U.S. athlete not only was a highlight of her career but of any world championships.

“I was ready for that moment,” said Meissner, who also coaches and is in school to become a physician’s assistant. “I had been practicing that way pretty much before the Olympics. It was nerves at the Olympics and I was happy to salvage what I did.

“At worlds, I was not shocked at all that I skated clean at a time when it really needs to happen.”

Casey, who died in September, spent more than 50 years in the sport. She helped advance the biomechanical studies of jumps and was expert at helping skaters correct technical aspects of their performances. In 2005, she was the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Science Coach of the Year.

The official U.S. coach at three Olympics, Casey coached two-time U.S. champion Scott Davis (1993-94). She was the Professional Skaters Association president from 1989 to 1994, was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2008.

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MORE: Nathan Chen leads men’s short program, followed by world team battle

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

Nathan Chen leads U.S. Figure Skating Championships, followed by world team battle

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Nathan Chen broke his own U.S. Figure Skating Championships short program scoring record, hitting two quadruple jumps en route to a whopping 13.14-point lead on Saturday.

Chen, trying to become the first man to win four straight national titles since Brian Boitano in 1988, tallied 114.13 points. Jason Brown, the 2015 U.S. champion, is in second after beating Chen in artistic marks but lacking a quad. Andrew Torgashev is the surprise third-place skater going into Sunday’s free skate.

Chen hit a quad flip, triple Axel and a quad toe-triple toe combination in Greensboro, N.C., on limited practice due to a recent flu.

“I’m thrilled with it,” Chen, a Yale sophomore, said on NBC. “This was probably the least prepared I’ve been, but I really made good use of the last week, the week that I was able to actually start getting training in.”

Nationals continue later Saturday with the pairs’ free skate and the free dance, live on NBC Sports. A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

How substantial is Chen’s lead? No other skater, pair or dance couple has led a U.S. Championships by double digits after a short program since the Code of Points was instituted in 2006. Chen has now done it three times in the last four years.

Chen, undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, is all but assured to lead the three-man world championships team. Who will join him is what will be determined Sunday.

Brown is in strong position to go to a fourth world championships in Montreal in March. He was clean on his three jumping passes, though the only man in the top five without a quad. Brown is the second-ranked U.S. man overall this season, coming back from a late August concussion when his Uber ran a red light, T-boned another car, then swung sideways and hit the car a second time.

“The season has been such a struggle,” Brown said. “To work through each setback and to be able to put up a performance like that, that I’ve worked so hard to do, that’s where the emotion came from.”

Torgashev, who won the 2015 U.S. junior title at age 13, made his case with a clean short featuring a quad toe. Torgashev’s best senior nationals finish in three starts was seventh last year. He is the son of two world junior medalists from the Soviet Union.

Vincent Zhou, the 2019 World bronze medalist, has twice finished second to Chen at nationals. He was strong on Saturday considering his turbulent season, placing fourth with a quad Salchow.

Zhou attempted to match Chen last fall by balancing Ivy League classes with training. It didn’t work, and he went the entire autumn without committed skating. He decided to take a break from Brown University and move to Toronto to train under a new coach, Lee Barkell.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Adam Rippon takes pleasure in new role — coaching U.S. silver medalist

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.