U.S. leads after first day of Duel in the Pool


Ryan Lochte helped the U.S. to a healthy lead over Europe on the first day of Duel in the Pool, a Ryder Cup-style meet, in Indianapolis on Friday night.

Lochte won the 400m individual medley and, about 25 minutes later, took third in the 200m backstroke.

The U.S. leads Europe 74-48 halfway through the two-day meet. Full results can be found here.

In each event, first-place finishers get five points, second gets three points and third gets one point. Relays are winner-take-all for seven points.

Lochte has rarely contested the 400m IM since he won the 2012 Olympic title.

“I might need another day to recover,” Lochte told NBC’s Carolyn Manno. “I haven’t done that event in a long time.”

Europe was led by Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who swept the women’s 400m IM and 200m back in the same 25-minute span.

From the media mixed zone, Hosszu heckled Lochte and asked how he fared in the double.

“It hurt,” he said. “I can definitely tell that I’m getting old. It felt good though to get those races back in and doing the doubles again. Definitely know I need more training because I should have been a lot better in the backstroke.”

Missy Franklin took third in the 200m back. She is the Olympic champion and world-record holder in the event in 50-meter pools, but the Duel in the Pool is contested in a 25-meter pool.

The U.S. swept the men’s and women’s 200m breaststrokes and 4x100m medley relays.

A U.S. quartet with no Olympic experience broke the women’s medley relay world record that had been set by Natalie Coughlin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Franklin in 2011.

The U.S. also went one-two in both 100m freestyles thanks to Simone Manuel and Lia Neal and Nathan Adrian and Josh Schneider.

Duel in the Pool concludes Saturday (2 p.m. ET, USASwimming.org). NBC will air coverage of the meet Dec. 19 from 4-6 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports analyst Rowdy Gaines doesn’t see the U.S. having to change much in order to maintain their lead over the European team.

“They don’t have to get a lot of wins,” he said. “They can just get a bunch of second and thirds, some splits here and there. I can’t see them losing the relays – that’s 14 points right there.”

The U.S. won all six previous Duel in the Pool competitions, which have been held in odd-numbered years. The first three came against Australia before the switch to U.S.-Europe.

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NBC Olympics swimming producer Rachel Lutz contributed to this report from Indianapolis.

Valencia Marathon produces historic times in men’s, women’s races

2022 Valencia Marathon

Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum and Ethiopian Amane Beriso won the Valencia Marathon and became the third-fastest man and woman in history, respectively.

Kiptum, a 23-year-old in his marathon debut, won the men’s race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 53 seconds. The only men to ever run faster over 26.2 miles are legends: Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09 world record, plus a 2:01:39) and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41).

Kipchoge made his marathon debut at age 28, and Bekele at 31.

Beriso, a 31-year-old whose personal best was 2:20:48 from January 2016, stunned the women’s field Sunday by running 2:14:58. The only women to have run faster: Kenyans Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) and Ruth Chepngetich (2:14:18).

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey finished second in 2:16:49, the fastest-ever time for a woman in her marathon debut. Gidey is the world record holder at 5000m and 10,000m.

Valencia is arguably the top annual marathon outside of the six World Marathon Majors. The next major marathon is Tokyo on March 5.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill


BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

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Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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