U.S. swim stars slated for Mesa meet; broadcast schedule

Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte
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Michael PhelpsRyan LochteKatie Ledecky and Missy Franklin are among eight individual 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medalists expected to compete at a Pro Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., next week.

They’re expected to be joined by fellow London champions Nathan AdrianTyler ClaryAllison Schmitt and Dana Vollmer.

Mesa is the fourth stop of the USA Swimming Pro Swim Series this season.

Swimmers are training to peak for the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb., from June 26-July 3, where the top two per individual event qualify for the Rio Olympic team.

The Mesa meet runs from April 14-16, with the April 15-16 finals streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra at 8 p.m. ET and the entire meet streamed on usaswimming.org.

NBCSN will have next-day taped finals coverage on April 16 (6:30 p.m. ET) and April 17 (midnight ET).

A live webcast of the entire meet also will be available at usaswimming.org.

VIDEO: Missy Franklin GoPro series trailer

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch

Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine

Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”