Ryan Lochte’s plane diverted en route to U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Ryan Lochte knew there would be obstacles on his way to qualifying for his fourth Olympics. He just wasn’t expecting one while trying to get to the U.S. swimming trials.

Lochte’s plane from Charlotte, North Carolina, was diverted to Kansas City, Missouri, because of an oxygen issue, leaving him and his Swim MAC teammates short of their final destination of Omaha. The plane flew at 10,000 feet until it landed safely.

Then the group found a YMCA pool in which to train, surprising the lifeguards and others who had no idea they were being invaded by Olympic-caliber talent.

“One of the lap swimmers said, ‘Gosh, they’re moving through the water awfully fast,'” Lochte’s coach David Marsh said, “and I was like, ‘Yeah, they’re pretty good.”

The group was supposed to take a bus to Omaha, but Marsh realized that would take too long, so they rented two vehicles to make the trip in three hours. Instead of arriving by mid-afternoon on Thursday, they didn’t get to town until midnight.

“I was in first class, true, but still, it was a long travel day,” Lochte said Friday. “David was always saying to us throughout the year, prepare yourself for the worst, and that’s just one thing that we were able to overcome.”

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Lochte’s next challenge comes Sunday, the opening day of the trials when he competes in the 400-meter individual medley. At 31, he’s the oldest of the event’s 100 qualifiers and comes in with the fourth-fastest time.

“When I was younger I was able to recover a lot quicker,” he said. “I’m definitely going to have to do a lot more recovery after the race than I usually do, just so I can have those great races the next days.”

He won gold in the 400 IM four years ago in London. Only the top two finishers at trials make the U.S. team.

“I enjoy it because you can’t be great in one stroke, you have to be good in everything, and it’s a challenge,” Lochte said. “There’s a lot of young guys up and coming and that definitely will be a good battle.”

Lochte’s main competition in the 400 IM will be Tyler Clary, who just missed qualifying by finishing third behind Michael Phelps and Lochte four years ago. Clary owns the leading qualifying time for these trials.

“My biggest opponent will be myself, just because you have to have a certain mindset when you get up on those blocks,” Lochte said. “If my mindset is right, I’m definitely going to do really well. In the U.S. alone, we have had four or five guys that go under 4:13, so it’s definitely going to be a close race.”

Phelps has dropped the 400 IM from the program for his fifth and final Olympics. In London, he struggled to a fourth-place finish in the event in which he holds the world record.

Lochte toyed with following suit, never confirming until Friday that he would indeed swim the grueling event, even though it costs him precious recovery time for his shorter races later in the eight-day trials.

“I could, but then it wouldn’t be fun,” he said, smiling. “For me, fun is a challenge.”

MORE: U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials men’s event-by-event preview

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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