Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky win to end Minneapolis meet

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Michael Phelps earned his first win in his final race at a Pro Swim Series meet in Minneapolis on Saturday night.

Phelps captured the 200m individual medley in 1:59.30, beating Olympian Conor Dwyer by 1.43 seconds at the Olympic season-opening domestic meet. Phelps, the three-time reigning Olympic 200m IM champion, has the fastest time in the world this year — 1:54.75 set in August.

Swimmers peak for summer meets and not November ones, so being 4.55 seconds slower on Saturday was not a concern.

Phelps finished the meet, his first in three months, with a win, a runner-up and a third-place finish among five finals swims. Full meet results are here.

“I’m happy that I was about where I was at the end of last season before Nationals [in August], and it was still with a terrible last 50 [meters] and a bad finish,” Phelps, who swam 1:59.39 on June 21 and 1:57.58 at the Minneapolis meet in November 2011, told media in Minneapolis. “Coming off of this, it’s just really working on all the small things. We’ve gotten to the point where we’re finally in shape again.”

More impressive was Missy Franklin, who snapped a six-meet drought with her first individual race win since June on Friday. Franklin looked even stronger Saturday in her trademark event, winning the 200m backstroke in 2:07.24.

That’s Franklin’s second-fastest time ever in her world-record event at a meet that’s not an Olympics, World Championships or U.S. Summer Nationals.

“Beyond ecstatic,” Franklin told media in Minneapolis.

Katie Ledecky finished the meet with her third victory in as many days, taking the 800m freestyle in 8:19.16. In a rarity, another swimmer was fairly close to her — 17-year-old Becca Mann. Mann was 2.61 seconds behind and outsplit Ledecky over the final 400 meters, swimming the second half of the race faster than her first half.

Ledecky’s time was 11.77 seconds slower than her world record set Aug. 8, while Mann swam the fastest 800m free by an American other than Ledecky since 2010 (Kate Ziegler).

Franklin and Ledecky went head-to-head in the 100m freestyle later Saturday. Neither won, but Ledecky was faster than Franklin by .31 after the two had matching times in the morning preliminary heats.

Simone Manuel touched first in 54.19, with Ledecky in fourth at 54.95 and Franklin in sixth.

Ledecky has a shot at making the U.S. Olympic 4x100m free relay pool (top six at trials generally make the pool) but is ranked No. 9 overall in the U.S. in the event this year. Franklin is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for the year.

“My shorter are events are a little better than my longer events, but I think that’s just from being in pretty tough training,” Ledecky told media in Minneapolis.

Olympic champion Nathan Adrian won the men’s 100m freestyle in 48.49, which was .18 off his seventh-place swim at the World Championships on Aug. 6.

The next notable swim meets are Winter Nationals (which Phelps said he plans to swim) in Federal Way, Wash., from Dec. 3-5 and Duel in the Pool in Indianapolis from Dec. 11-12 (and on NBC on Dec. 19 from 4-6 p.m. ET), featuring Franklin and Ryan Lochte.

VIDEO: Katie Ledecky on ‘TODAY’ in 1998

Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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