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Maya DiRado swimming for last shot at 1st Olympics

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Maya DiRado is peaking at just the right time to make her first – and last – Olympic swimming team.

The late bloomer is swimming some of the fastest times of her career heading into her third U.S. trials, and yet at 23, she’s poised to call it quits no matter what happens starting Sunday in Omaha.

DiRado’s goal is to finish off her career in Rio de Janeiro. But if she doesn’t qualify, she’ll be equally content hanging up her suit and cap to start the business analyst job waiting for her this fall in Atlanta.

“It’s so much easier to be excited about all of this and give it everything I have when I know that this is my last go-through,” she said Saturday. “I think it’s a sign that my preparation this year has been really good and that I’m ready to move on to something new.”

Before she does, DiRado kicks off the trials in the 400-meter individual medley on Sunday. Her competition includes Katie Ledecky, who emerged as a star four years ago at trials, when DiRado finished fourth in the event. She also finished fourth in the 200 IM that year. Only the top two make the Olympic team.

“You can’t get into too much how everybody else swims that race,” she said. “I just have to make sure all my strokes are firing and put together the best 400 that I can have.”

DiRado’s other events at trials are the 200 IM, 200 backstroke and possibly 200 freestyle.

Having started swimming at age 6, DiRado made national teams and incrementally improved, but it wasn’t until the last two years that she stamped herself as a medal contender. She won a silver in the 400 IM at last year’s world championships in Russia, and gold and silver in the IM events at the Pan Pacific championships in 2014.

“It’s always been a little bit better, a little bit better,” she said. “There have been some years where it hasn’t gotten better but it’s just like steps forward. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to keep improving; I know that doesn’t happen for everybody.”

Unlike so many swimmers, the trials aren’t the be-all and end-all for DiRado. She’s already lined up the next phase of her life with her husband and new job. The couple plans to travel to London and Paris at the end of August, allowing DiRado to ponder future meals in Paris, including how many croissants she can devour without consequence.

“Obviously, I’m super focused on the meet right now, and I’m really excited to swim,” she said, “but it’s just so nice to have that break and knowing that life goes on after this eight days, and hopefully the next month or so.”

DiRado graduated from Stanford with a degree in management science and engineering, and she admits that spending the last two years as a professional swimmer hasn’t exactly taxed her brain. The daily routine of practice, napping and watching TV bored her.

“After a couple months of that you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can feel my brain atrophying,’ and it was really hard,” she said. “At one point, I was like, ‘Well, if I keep swimming, was Stanford the most stressed my brain was ever going to get?’ And that totally freaked me out.”

To combat the lack of intellectual stimulation, DiRado read a lot and did coding exercises provided by husband Rob Andrews, a software engineer she met when both were swimming in college. She also did online training to prepare for her future job with McKinsey & Company, a high-powered management consulting firm that once employed Chelsea Clinton.

“My fellow class of BAs that are coming in are really supportive and wished me good luck,” she said.

DiRado plans to leave the San Francisco Bay area, where she’s spent her entire life, and move to Atlanta with her husband after their European vacation.

“That’s part of the reason I’ve been able to stay relatively calm and sane this year is just knowing that I have Rob,” she said. “I have that support and that love, and it’s going to be fine.”

MORE: For Michael Phelps at Olympic Trials, nothing is a lock

Anna van der Breggen is first cyclist to sweep road world titles in 25 years

Anna van der Breggen
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Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen added the road race crown to her time trial victory at the world road cycling championships, becoming the second rider in history to win both events at the same edition.

“This is, for me, pretty good so far,” she said.

Van der Breggen, the Rio Olympic road race champion, won after a solo attack with more than 25 miles left of an 89-mile course in Imola, Italy, on Saturday.

She prevailed after more than four hours of racing by 80 seconds over countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, the 2019 champion. Van Vleuten raced nine days after breaking her left wrist in a Giro Rosa crash.

Italian Elisa Longo Borghini took bronze in the same time as van Vleuten after losing a photo-finish sprint. Lauren Stephens was the top American in 11th.

Full results are here.

The race lacked American standout Chloé Dygert, who crashed out of the time trial while leading on Thursday and required leg surgery.

Van der Breggen joined Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo as the only male or female cyclists to sweep the time trial and road race at a single worlds. Longo did so in 1995 at age 36.

Van der Breggen, 30, said in May that she will retire after the 2021 Olympic season.

It will be the end of one of the great cycling careers. She is now a three-time world champion and nine-time world medalist to go along with her road race gold and time trial bronze in her Olympic debut in Rio.

Worlds conclude Sunday with the men’s road race. A TV and stream schedule is here.

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MORE: A more equal future for women’s cycling? Lizzie Deignan has high hopes

2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

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Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final