Ryan Lochte’s injured knee ‘hurt’ after Orlando Grand Prix

Ryan Lochte
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Ryan Lochte‘s return to competition following his freak Nov. 2 knee injury wasn’t quite a smashing success.

Lochte’s left knee hurt after he swam two events in Orlando on Feb. 15. The 11-time Olympic medalist only made it to the meet for the final day due to a snowstorm keeping him stranded in Charlotte.

He finished second in a 200m backstroke and seventh in a 100m freestyle, saying his knee was 80 percent at the time.

Lochte went against doctors’ suggestions in racing in Orlando about three and a half months after he reportedly tore his left MCL and sprained his ACL after a teenage girl ran to him, he caught her and they both fell on Nov. 2. His knee hit a curb, Lochte’s publicist said.

“I got back in the water faster that what was expected,” Lochte told the Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal on Saturday. “The doctors still say that I should be more careful, and I said, ‘Ahh, I don’t want to listen to them, I want to get back in the water.’ It started feeling fine. Then when I raced in Orlando, I don’t know, something happened, something was wrong in my knee and it hurt, so I knew I pushed it too hard.”

Lochte told the newspaper he’s still rehabbing the knee and unable to swim breaststroke.

“Certain things I still can’t do, but I’m working at it,” Lochte said. “I don’t like losing, and I don’t like not being at swim meets, so hopefully I’ll get back into it. Right now, it’s getting stronger.”

He doesn’t expect to miss the next Grand Prix meet, though, eyeing the Mesa, Ariz., event from April 24-26.

The bigger meets are the U.S. Championships in Irvine, Calif., from Aug. 6-10 and the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, beginning Aug. 21.

The U.S. Championships are a qualifying meet for the Pan Pacific Championships and the 2015 World Championships.

Keep in mind that Lochte’s former rival, Michael Phelps, will be eligible to swim at the Mesa meet in April, based on what his coach, Bob Bowman, said of Phelps re-entering the drug-testing pool last year.

Here’s Rowdy Gaines interviewing Lochte at the Orlando Grand Prix last month:

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Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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