Ryan Lochte unsure who is world’s best swimmer

Ryan Lochte, Kosuke Hagino, Michael Phelps
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“Who’s the world’s best swimmer?” was the preeminent question in the sport four years ago. It’s a question Ryan Lochte can’t answer today, 21 months before the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“I honestly don’t know,” Lochte said Tuesday. “There’s so many competitors out there … that have gotten a lot faster in different strokes, it’s hard to tell.

“I would like to think that I’m in that category, if not the top one then one of the top just because I train not just for one event, for multiple events. It’s hard to say who’s the best.”

In 2010, Lochte won four individual gold medals at the year’s major international meet, the Pan Pacific Championships, including both individual medleys and twice as many golds as Phelps.

Lochte and Phelps did not swim in any of the same finals at the 2010 meet, but Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, still said Lochte was “the best swimmer in the world this year. No question.”

Lochte also won four individual events to Phelps’ two at the 2011 World Championships, keeping his edge in swimming supremacy.

But at the 2012 Olympics, Lochte won one individual medal of each color, while Phelps had two golds and a silver. Advantage Phelps, barely.

Phelps retired, of course, giving Lochte little competition in 2013. Lochte won two individual events at the World Championships and finished off the podium in two others.

China’s Sun Yang, who swept the 400m, (non-Olympic) 800m and 1500m freestyles at 2013 Worlds, was named FINA’s Swimmer of the Meet, though Lochte won Swimmer of the Year.

This year, a new star broke through. Japan’s Kosuke Hagino swept the individual medleys at the Pan Pacific Championships and won two more individual silver medals at the Gold Coast, Australia, meet.

Phelps won gold in the 100m butterfly and silver in the 200m individual medley. Lochte came home from Australia with a single medal, silver in the 100m fly.

“He’s been coming on every year,” Lochte said of Hagino. “He’s been getting quicker and faster, but it’s not just him. There’s plenty of other swimmers.”

Age must be taken into account. Lochte is 30. Phelps is 29. Sun is 22. Hagino is 20.

It’s unknown if or when Phelps will return to swimming following a USA Swimming suspension that lasts into April and also includes next summer’s World Championships. Lochte moved to a new coach last year and is coming off an injury-riddled season.

Lochte was unquestionably the man to beat going into the last Olympic year. But much has changed.

“2011 was one of my best years,” Lochte said, “but that was 2011. Whatever happened that year, it’s all said and done. It’s over.”

Doha gets 2019 World Track and Field Championships over Eugene, Barcelona

Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

Aksel Lund Svindal

Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup

The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final