Michael Phelps makes 100m backstroke final at Nationals


IRVINE, Calif. — Michael Phelps will get a third chance to win his first title at the U.S. Championships in the 100m backstroke Saturday night.

Matt Grevers, the Olympic and World champion in the event, was the fastest qualifier in the morning prelims at 53.11 seconds.

Phelps was second to Grevers in their heat at 53.76. Phelps qualified fourth overall into the eight-man final.

Phelps was seventh in the 100m freestyle and second in the 100m butterfly earlier int he meet.

The U.S. Championships are a qualifying meet for the biggest international competition of the year, the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, from Aug. 21-24. Phelps qualified for Pan Pacs via the 100m fly and can swim any individual event he wants in Gold Coast.

In other events Saturday, World Swimmer of the Year Katie Ledecky clocked the third-fastest 400m freestyle of all time. She went 3:59.89.

Ledecky, 17, has the American record of 3:59.82. The world record is held by Italian Federica Pellegrini at 3:59.15.

Ledecky has already won the 200m and 800m frees at Nationals. She has already broken the 800m and 1500m free world records this year.

Five-time London Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt did not make the eight-woman final in her final event of Nationals. She is out of Pan Pacs and the 2015 World Championships after failing to qualify for the 2013 World Championships, too.

Olympic and World champion Missy Franklin was the top qualifier into the 100m backstroke final.

Matt McLean was the fastest man in the 400m free prelims, two days after winning the 200m free.

Olympians Micah Lawrence, Jessica Hardy and Breeja Larson were the top three qualifiers into the 100m breaststroke final.

Defending U.S. champion Kevin Cordes was the top qualifier into the men’s 100m breast final.

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell

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

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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