Katie Ledecky beaten; Europe on pace for history at Duel in the Pool

Yannick Agnel
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Not even Katie Ledecky could keep the U.S. from sinking to start the Duel in the Pool. The European team is up 68-54 and now one day away from handing the Americans their first loss in the Ryder Cup-like event.

Ledecky, the four-time 2013 World Championships gold medalist, was sixth in the 400m freestyle on Friday in Glasgow, Scotland, capping a gray day for the red, white and blue.

The 400m free winner, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia, also won the 400m individual medley. Europe won eight of 14 events overall in the short-course meters meet (25m pool vs. 50m for the Olympics).

The scoring system awards points for first through third place (5, 3, 1) and a winner-take-all seven points in relays.

NCAA champion breaststroker Kevin Cordes was the highlight for the U.S., breaking the American record in the 200m breaststroke. But Cordes was beaten by two Europeans in the race.

The U.S. has won all five previous duels handily, including a 181.5-80.5 whipping of a European all-star team at the last edition in 2011 in Atlanta. The first three duels were U.S.-Australia battles during the heyday of their rivalry in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

The Duel in the Pool concludes with the final 16 of 30 total events Saturday at 9 a.m. ET. NBC will televise the Duel in the Pool on Sunday from 4-6 p.m. ET.

Women’s 400m Individual Medley — Europe 8, U.S. 1
1. Mireia Belmonte Garcia (EUR) 4:24.58
2. Aimee Willmott (EUR) 4:26.80
3. Caitlin Leverenz (USA) 4:28.45

Men’s 400m Individual Medley — Europe 9, U.S. 9
1. Conor Dwyer (USA) 4:01.76
2. Chase Kalisz (USA) 4:02.40
3. David Verraszto (EUR) 4:03.04

Women’s 100m Freestyle — Europe 14, U.S. 13
1. Michelle Coleman (EUR) 52.65
2. Shannon Vreeland (USA) 52.73
3. Olivia Smoliga (USA) 52.74

Men’s 100m Freestyle — Europe 22, U.S. 14
1. Yannick Agnel (EUR) 47.13
2. Adam Brown (EUR) 47.24
3. Anthony Ervin (USA) 47.36

Women’s 200m Backstroke — Europe 30, U.S. 15
1. Daryna Zevina (EUR) 2:01.62
2. Simona Baumrtova (EUR) 2:04.06
3. Kathleen Baker (EUR) 2:05.08

Men’s 200m Backstroke — Europe 31, U.S. 23
1. Eugene Godsoe (USA) 1:52.14
2. Tyler Clary (USA) 1:52.27
3. Yannick Lebherz (EUR) 1:53.41

Women’s 200m Breaststroke — Europe 32, U.S. 31
1. Micah Lawrence (USA) 2:19.15
2. Breeja Larson (USA) 2:22.20
3. Sophie Allen (EUR) 2:23.36

Men’s 200m Breaststroke — Europe 40, U.S. 32
1. Michael Jamison (EUR) 2:01.83
2. Marco Koch (EUR) 2:01.90
3. Kevin Cordes (USA) 2:02.38

Women’s 100m Butterfly — Europe 45, U.S. 36
1. Jeanette Ottesen (EUR) 56.78
2. Claire Donahue (USA) 56.83
3. Kendyl Stewart (USA) 57.63

Men’s 100m Butterfly — Europe 49, U.S. 41
1. Tom Shields (USA) 49.80
2. Ivan Lendjer (EUR) 51.67
3. Velimir Stjepanovic (EUR) 51.68

Women’s 400m Freestyle — Europe 58, U.S. 41
1. Mireia Belmonte Garcia (EUR) 3:57.65
2. Melani Costa (EUR) 3:59.14
3. Lotte Friis (DEN) 4:00.19

Men’s 400m Freestyle — Europe 61, U.S. 47
1. Michael Klueh (USA) 3:39.94
2. Yannick Agnel (EUR) 3:40.19
3. Conor Dwyer (USA) 3:40.24

Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay — Europe 68, U.S. 47
1. Europe 3:49.14
2. USA 3:51.38

Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay — Europe 68, U.S. 54
1. USA 3:23.24
2. Europe 3:25.42

Three-time Olympic champ eyes comeback in open-water swimming

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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