Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin beaten in Santa Clara openers

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Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin finished third in 200m freestyle finals, their first events of a Pro Swim Series meet in Santa Clara, Calif., on Friday night.

Santa Clara is the biggest meet remaining for U.S. swimmers before the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, in early August.

Phelps, the 22-time Olympic medalist, was taken off the World Championships roster as part of his punishment for a September DUI arrest. He will compete at the U.S. Championships in San Antonio in August while the world’s best are in Kazan.

On Friday, Phelps finished third in the 200m free behind Connor Jaeger, who is arguably best in the 1500m free. Jaeger prevailed in 1:48.66, followed by Russian Nikita Lobintsev (1:48.86) and Phelps (1:49.03).

Phelps, who in his last meet in May finished worse than second in all of his events for the first time since the 2000 Olympics, improved from a 1:49.26 in morning heats and 1:49.12 at his last meet.

Phelps, the 2008 Olympic 200m free champion, clocked 1:48.20 in the 200m free in Santa Clara last year.

“My stroke actually kind of felt like the old stroke again,” Phelps told media in Santa Clara. “I didn’t completely die. So I think there are a lot of positives that came out of the races, but 1:49 flat isn’t something I’m excited about. It’s kind of blah.”

This year, German world-record holder Paul Biedermann is the world’s fastest in 1:45.60, followed by Chinese Olympic silver medalist Sun Yang and Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, the world’s best all-around swimmer. Biedermann, Sun and Hagino are not competing in Santa Clara.

Franklin, in her first meet since the NCAA Championships in March, finished third in her 200m freestyle. The Netherlands’ Femke Heemskerk won in 1:55.68, followed by FINA Swimmer of the Year Katinka Hosszu (1:56.88) of Hungary and Franklin (1:57.02).

“It’s good to get the cobwebs out,” Franklin said.

Heemskerk is the fastest woman in the world this year, having clocked 1:54.68 on April 3. Franklin’s personal best was 1:54.81, from winning the 2013 World Championship. The top U.S. 200m free swimmer last year, Katie Ledecky (1:55.16), is not competing in Santa Clara.

The World Championships 200m free appears to be a battle among Heemskerk, Hosszu, Franklin, Ledecky, Swede Sarah Sjostrom, Australian Emma McKeon and Italian Federica Pellegrini.

Franklin later also finished eighth in the 50m backstroke, a non-Olympic event. Natalie Coughlin, a 12-time Olympic medalist, prevailed in 27.51, an American record. Coughlin failed last year to qualify for the World Championships.

American Tom Shields touched first in the 100m butterfly in 52.22, with Phelps not in the field. Shields beat Phelps at the 2014 U.S. Championships, though Phelps was fastest in the world in the event last year at 51.17.

Hosszu captured the 400m IM by five seconds in 4:34.04, off of her 4:31.07 in the prelims, which was the fastest time ever in a U.S. pool. Hosszu is more than one second faster than anybody else in the world this year and a favorite to repeat as World champion in the event, though Chinese Olympic champion and world-record holder Ye Shiwen lurks.

Russian Yulia Efimova, the World silver medalist coming off a doping ban, took the 100m breaststroke in 1:06.13. She’s second in the world this year behind Lithuanian Olympic and World champion Ruta Meilutyte.

American Cody Miller captured the men’s 100m breast in a personal-best 59.51. That’s the fastest time by an American since Brendan Hansen‘s 59.49 to take bronze at the 2012 Olympics.

Great Britain’s Adam Peaty is fastest in the world this year, with a world-record 57.92 on April 17. Miller’s 59.51 ranks No. 3 in the world, making him a medal contender for Worlds.

Santa Clara competition continues Saturday (Universal Sports, 8 p.m. ET) and Sunday (USASwimming.org, 8 p.m. ET).

Michael Phelps ‘sick of getting whooped’

Chicago Marathon canceled; one major marathon left in 2020

Chicago Marathon
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The Chicago Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 11, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the fourth World Marathon Major called off this year.

Organizers cited the challenge of staging the 45,000-runner event “out of concern for the safety of event participants, volunteers, event staff and spectators.”

Previously, major marathons were canceled in Berlin (originally scheduled for Sept. 27), Boston (April 20, then Sept. 14) and New York City (Nov. 1). The London Marathon, originally scheduled for April 26 and postponed to Oct. 4, remains scheduled.

The other World Marathon Major, Tokyo, took place on its scheduled date of March 1 but with elite runners only.

Last year, Kenyan Brigid Kosgei won Chicago by taking 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record. Kosgei clocked 2:14:04.

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results

Figure skating Grand Prix events in China remain scheduled

Grand Prix Final
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Figure skating Grand Prix events in China in November and December remain scheduled, the International Skating Union announced Monday, four days after reports about international sporting events in China being canceled through the end of 2020.

A notice about sports events, issued Thursday by the General Administration of Sport of China, made an exception for Beijing Winter Olympic test events and other preparations for the first Winter Games in China in February 2022.

The Grand Prix Final, the second-most prestigious annual figure skating competition, is still scheduled for December in Beijing because it is an Olympic test event.

Furthermore, the Cup of China, one of six events across the globe that determines Grand Prix Final qualifiers, remains scheduled for November in Chongqing because it is related to the Final.

“Like for all other five ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events in the different countries, this is of course subject to finding the necessary logistical, medical and safety solutions to hold the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events as planned,” according to the ISU.

The ISU previously announced it set a deadline to decide on possible event cancellations: 12 weeks before an event starts. For the first Grand Prix Series competition, Skate America in Las Vegas, the decision deadline is Aug. 1.

The ISU council will meet virtually on Aug. 3 to decide on further action for upcoming competitions.

MORE: Tai Babilonia, a Winter Olympic original, credits skating trailblazer

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