Michael Phelps wins at Winter Nationals, eyes changing diapers

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Michael Phelps breezed to a victory at the U.S. Winter Nationals on Thursday night, but he knows more unfamiliar and perhaps more difficult tasks lie ahead.

Such as changing diapers.

“There are many things that could happen while changing a diaper, so if I can get in and get out safely, that’s all that matters,” Phelps joked in an interview with Carolyn Manno after winning the 200m individual medley in Federal Way, Wash.

Phelps, the 22-time Olympic medalist, is competing for the first time since he and fiancée Nicole Johnson announced they are expecting a baby.

Johnson was in attendance Thursday night to watch a clean-shaven Phelps prevail in 1:57.61, which is 1.69 seconds faster than his time at a meet in Minneapolis three weeks ago when he raced with a full beard.

Training partner Chase Kalisz was second in 1:58.77. World champion Ryan Lochte is not competing in Federal Way. Full Thursday results are here.

“The time was fine,” Phelps, who owns the fastest time in the world this year at 1:54.75 from August, told Manno. “The biggest thing is just being able to move forward throughout the season to really, hopefully set up a good time for Olympic trials [in late June/early July].”

Winter Nationals run through Saturday and will be streamed live the next two days on USASwimming.org/Nationals. NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage Sunday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET.

In other events Thursday, longtime Phelps training partner Allison Schmitt swam her fastest 400m freestyle since she captured a 2012 Olympic silver medal in the event.

Schmitt, who failed to make this year’s World Championships team, touched in 4:06.88, ranking her third among Americans this year behind World champion Katie Ledecky (3:59.13) and Leah Smith (4:04.66). Neither Ledecky nor Smith is swimming at this weekend’s meet.

The top two at the U.S. Olympic trials on June 27 make the Rio Olympic team. Ledecky appears to be a lock for one of the berths.

Favorites Nathan Adrian and Simone Manuel swept the 50m freestyles Thursday. Neither bettered their nation-leading times from earlier this year. Missy Franklin clocked the 11th fastest time overall in the women’s 50m free, an event in which she’s not expected to vie for an Olympic spot.

Olympian Conor Dwyer took the men’s 400m free in 3:48.11, which was not an improvement on his best time this year. Connor Jaeger is the fastest American in the event for 2015 at 3:44.81. Dwyer is ranked No. 5.

In the women’s 200m IM, Olympic bronze medalist Caitlin Leverenz was out-touched by Maya DiRado, 2:11.10 to 2:11.79. DiRado, the World silver medalist in the 400m IM, is ranked No. 4 in the world this year in the 200m IM and looking to make her first Olympic team next year.

MORE SWIMMING: Phelps, Ledecky win Golden Goggles for Athlete of the Year

2022 Ironman Kona World Championships results

Ironman Kona World Championships
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2022 Ironman Kona World Championship top-10 results and notables (full, searchable pro and age group results are here) …

Pro Women
1. Chelsea Sodaro (USA) — 8:33:46
2. Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) — 8:41:37
3. Anne Haug (GER) — 8:42:22
4. Laura Philipp (GER) — 8:50:31
5. Lisa Norden (SWE) — 8:54:43
6. Fenella Langridge (GBR) — 8:56:26
7. Sarah Crowley (AUS) — 9:01:58
8. Daniela Ryf (SUI) — 9:02:26
9. Skye Moench (USA) — 9:04:31
10. Laura Siddall (GBR) — 9:07:49
16. Heather Jackson (USA) — 9:22:17
DNF. Sarah True (USA)

Pro Men
Race is on Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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Chelsea Sodaro wins Ironman Kona World Championship, ends American drought

Chelsea Sodaro
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Chelsea Sodaro was the surprise winner of the Ironman Kona World Championships women’s race, ending the longest American victory drought in the event’s 44-year history.

Sodaro, a 33-year-old mom to an 18-month-old, prevailed in an unofficial 8 hours, 33 minutes, 46 seconds on Hawaii’s Big Island.

“My mind is a little bit blown right now,” she said in a finish area interview 25 minutes later, standing next to her daughter, Skylar. “This is the culmination of things being right in my life and having perspective. … This is freakin’ incredible, but the greatest gift at the end of the finish line is my little 18-month-old.”

Sodaro was in fifth place after the 2.6-mile swim and 112-mile bike, then recorded one of the fastest 26.2-mile marathon runs in event history (2:51:45) to win by 7 minutes, 50 seconds over Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay.

Swiss Daniela Ryf, who was eyeing her sixth Ironman world title, led after the bike but faded quickly on the run.

MORE: Ironman Kona Race Results

Sodaro, whose lone previous full Ironman was a second-place finish at June’s European Championships (reportedly in the second-fastest Ironman distance debut in history), became the first American to win in Kona since Tim DeBoom in 2002 and the first American to win the women’s race since Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser in 1996.

She is the first woman or man to win in their Kona debut since Brit Chrissie Wellington took the first of her four titles in 2007.

Sodaro (née Reilly) was an All-America runner at Cal, then placed 19th in the 10,000m at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

She turned to triathlon in 2017, made podiums on the World Cup circuit (just below the top-level World Series for Olympic hopefuls) and moved up to long-distance racing in 2018.

At the half Ironman distance, she was fourth at the 2019 World Championships, her last major championship start before the pandemic, pregnancy, childbirth and a move up to the full Ironman this year.

“I’m pretty stoked that I think I maybe get to take the rest of the year off and be a mom for a month or so,” Sodaro said.

The pro men’s race is Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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