Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin
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U.S. swim stars spread across three Olympic Trials tune-up meets

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Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin are expected to headline a host of U.S. Olympic medalists across three swim meets the first weekend of June in the last top-level domestic competitions before the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Phelps and Franklin are both scheduled to race at the Austin Elite Invite in Texas from June 3-5. Olympic 200m freestyle champion Allison Schmitt, a training partner of Phelps, and Olympic 100m backstroke champion Matt Grevers are also slated for that meet.

Phelps and Franklin last competed at a USA Swimming Pro Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., in mid April.

Phelps withdrew before a meet in Atlanta two weeks ago as his fiancée was set to give birth to their first child, a boy they named Boomer.

Franklin withdrew before the end of the Mesa meet on coaches orders because she was not feeling 100 percent, according to her social media.

Also the first weekend of June, Olympic champions Natalie CoughlinNathan AdrianDana Vollmer and Anthony Ervin lead the field for a USA Swimming Pro Series meet in Santa Clara, Calif.

London Olympians Connor JaegerMicah Lawrence and Shannon Vreeland headline the field for a USA Swimming Pro Series meet in Indianapolis from June 3-5.

Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky have not been announced for any of the three meets but could still compete before the Olympic Trials, which are June 26-July 3 in Omaha, Neb.

MORE: Full U.S. Olympic Trials broadcast schedule

World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

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The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

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