Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps back in the pool; Phelps, Ledecky win Golden Goggles

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Michael Phelps has returned to the pool and is working toward goals for next year, an official from his training base said in accepting Phelps’ Male Athlete of the Year award at USA Swimming’s Golden Goggles on Monday night.

Phelps, who was suspended six months by USA Swimming after his Sept. 30 DUI arrest, was not in attendance at the New York event.

Keenan Robinson, director of athlete services at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, accepted on Phelps’ behalf and provided an update on the swimmer.

“Michael is in Baltimore, happily back in the pool, working toward his goals for next year,” Robinson said.

On Oct. 5, it was posted on Phelps’ social media that he was stepping away to get “the help I need.” It was later reported that was referring to a six-week program.

Phelps will not swim at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, next summer.

Phelps came out of 20-month competitive retirement this year and won three gold medals and two silvers at the biggest meet of 2014, the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia in August.

He was the only U.S. men’s swimmer to finish the season with the top time in the world in an Olympic event.

Katie Ledecky won Female Athlete of the Year after breaking world records in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles this year. She also swept the events and won the 200m free at the Pan Pacific Championships.

Ledecky also won the Female Race of the Year award for her 1500m free victory and world record at Pan Pacs.

Ledecky was also part of the Relay of the Year winner, for the 4x200m free relay at Pan Pacs. Ledecky swam anchor, entered the pool with a deficit and powered to a 1.37-second U.S. win.

In accepting the award with the team, Missy Franklin said the man handing the medals to the women at Pan Pacs proposed to Ledecky.

“Very concerned, Katie said, ‘I’m only 17,'” said Franklin, on the relay with Ledecky, Leah Smith and Shannon Vreeland.

Ledecky’s coach, Bruce Gemmell, won Coach of the Year.

Connor Jaeger won Male Race of the Year for his 1500m free victory at Pan Pacs. Jaeger, 23, took his first career gold medal at a major international meet (Olympics, World Championships or Pan Pacs) and the U.S.’ first gold in the event at a major international meet in 30 years.

Maya DiRado earned Breakout Performer of the Year for bagging her first individual medals at a major international meet. The former Stanford swimmer took gold in the 200m individual medley and 400m IM at Pan Pacs.

Open-water swimmers Haley Anderson and Andrew Gemmell won the Perseverance Award. Anderson and Gemmell won the Pan Pacs 10km titles after their events were moved from Australia to Hawaii.

Ryan Lochte and other top U.S. swimmers (but not Ledecky, Franklin or the suspended Phelps) will next compete at the World Short Course Championships in Doha, Qatar, from Dec. 3-7. The meet is done in a 25m pool rather than the Olympic-size 50m.

Missy Franklin takes measures to keep back spasms in the past

Joey Mantia extends U.S. medal streak at speed skating worlds; Dutch dominance returns

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Joey Mantia ensured the host U.S. finished with a medal at the world single distances championships. Ireen WüstKjeld Nuis and Jorrit Bergsma ensured the Netherlands finished atop the medal standings.

Mantia joined Shani Davis as the only U.S. men to earn individual medals at three different editions of the championships, taking bronze in the 1500m on the last day of the speed skating meet at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Mantia won the mass start at the last two worlds in 2017 and 2019 (and finished fifth on Sunday, after the 1500m bronze).

Mantia clocked a personal best 1:42.16 in the fifth of 12 pairs of the 1500m. It held up until Nuis (1:41.66) and countryman Thomas Krol (1:41.73) in the last two pairs.

“Was starting to think that I’m so old that I can’t time trial anymore,” Mantia, a 34-year-old whose last 1500m personal best came in 2015, told media in Utah. “Maybe there’s a little bit of hope left.”

Mantia’s medal extended the U.S. streak of making the podium at every world championships this millennium — 16 straight. The single bronze is the smallest medal output since 2000.

Full results are here.

Wüst and Nuis gave the Dutch a sweep of the men’s and women’s 1500m titles, two years after they did the same at the PyeongChang Olympics. Bergsma, an Olympic and world 10,000m champion, earned his first global medal of any color — gold — in the 16-lap mass start.

The Netherlands failed to earn any golds on the first two days of the four-day competition. The dominant Dutch, who topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, entered Sunday trailing Russia.

But Wüst began the day by clocking 1:50.92 to win the 1500m by .21 over Russian Yevgenia Lalenkova. American medal hope Brittany Bowe, the 2015 World champion who took bronze last year, finished 14th a day after taking eighth in her world-record 1000m distance.

Nuis and Krol went one-two in the men’s 1500m to tie Russia’s medal total. Then Irene Schouten took bronze in the women’s mass start to put the Netherlands ahead for good, followed by Bergsma’s capper.

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MORE: Shani Davis retires, takes new role in speed skating

Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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