Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin finish Santa Clara meet with differing results

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Michael Phelps won two of his five events at a Pro Swim Series meet in Santa Clara, Calif., this weekend, capping the competition with a 200m individual medley victory Sunday.

Missy Franklin went winless in five events in her first meet since the NCAA Championships in March.

Santa Clara marked the biggest meet between now and the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, that start Aug. 2. Phelps will not swim at the World Championships as part of punishment for his September DUI arrest.

On Sunday, Phelps won the 200m individual medley in 1:59.39, his fastest time in that event this year and ranking 18th fastest in the world for 2015. Phelps, the three-time reigning Olympic 200m IM champion, swam it in 1:56.04 in 2014 to rank third in the world.

Phelps also finished ninth in the nine-man 200m backstroke, an event he rarely swims at the international level. Rising California junior Ryan Murphy won that race in 1:57.06, adding to his 100m back victory Saturday.

Phelps won the 200m butterfly on Saturday to snap a six-race winless streak. In his last meet in Charlotte in May, Phelps finished no better than third in all of his races for the first time since the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

“I’m happy where I am now,” Phelps told media in Santa Clara. “I’m happy I’m finishing races like I have.”

Phelps said he will head to Colorado for altitude training on Monday for three weeks and next compete in a smaller meet in July before he heads to the U.S. Championships in San Antonio, Aug. 6-10.

Franklin, a four-time 2012 Olympic champion, placed third in the 200m backstroke and sixth in the 100m freestyle Sunday. She had finished third in the 100m back Saturday and third in the 200m freestyle and eighth in the 50m back Friday.

“A lot of mixed feelings,” said Franklin, who doesn’t think she will compete again before Worlds. “I haven’t raced this tired in a long time [due to hard training] … All my strokes felt really strong and powerful. There just wasn’t a whole lot of speed there, which, I guess, is right where I want to be right now going into Worlds.”

Franklin was beaten in both backstrokes by Hungary’s FINA Swimmer of the Year Katinka Hosszu, who capped a five-win meet with 200m IM and 200m back victories Sunday.

Hosszu, nicknamed the “Iron Lady” for her heavy workloads, won 14 of her 21 races over the last three Pro Swim Series meets in Mesa, Ariz., Charlotte, N.C., and Santa Clara, setting her up well for the World Championships.

The Netherlands’ Femke Heemskerk followed her 200m free win Friday by taking the 100m free Sunday in 53.64. Heemskerk and Australian Cate Campbell are the only women to break 53 seconds this year, both going 52.69 in April.

World silver medalist Lotte Friis of Denmark won the women’s 800m free in 8:25.33, well off Olympic and World champion Katie Ledecky‘s 8:11.21 from January. Nobody has been within 10 seconds of Ledecky’s best time this year.

Dana Vollmer not retired, returns to practice after childbirth

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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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
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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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