Missy Franklin
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Missy Franklin confident going into Trials after frustrating swims

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Missy Franklin‘s goals are the same at the Olympic Trials as they were four years ago, in that she wants to hit specific times in races, but she acknowledges this situation is a little different.

“My times were a little bit slower than where I would have liked them to be [so far in 2016],” Franklin said Saturday, one day before the meet begins in Omaha.

But the times are not that different from four years ago.

Add up Franklin’s fastest swims this year in her four primary events, the 100m and 200m backstrokes and freestyles, and they are a combined .44 of a second slower than in the same period in 2012.

However, this year she ranks second, third, fifth and ninth in the U.S. in those four events. Given the top two finishers at Trials make the Olympic team per individual event, there would be reason for doubt.

Not that the four-time 2012 Olympic gold medalist is feeling it.

“We know how it works, and I think we did it pretty well last time,” Franklin said of her Trials taper strategy with coach Todd Schmitz, whom she left for two seasons at the University of California but returned to last spring. “So we know that I’m going to be ready when I need to be ready, and that’s right now.”

TRIALS: Broadcast ScheduleEntry Lists
PREVIEWS: Men | Women
FIVE KEY RACES: Men | Women

Franklin repeated Friday being “incredibly frustrated” at the 2015 World Championships, where she came away with one silver and one bronze medal in her four individual races after taking three golds in the same events at the 2013 Worlds.

But she also remembered that the main goal was to get to and through the 2015 Worlds without any of the back problems that slowed her at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.

Mission accomplished, even though she went winless in six meets from June through October, and again at another meet in January.

New threats have emerged (or re-emerged) in Franklin’s events, namely Katie Ledecky‘s takeover of the 200m freestyle and the comeback of 2012 Olympic 200m freestyle champion Allison Schmitt. That 200m free final may be the most anticipated three-swimmers-for-two-spots showdown of the meet.

Not that Franklin feels pressured. She’s relaxed, having spent part of Friday occupied by a gift from her parents — a coloring book.

“I plan on setting a new bar at this meet,” Franklin said. “That’s kind of almost unrelated to what I did in 2012, because everything is so different.”

MORE: Olympic Swimming Trials broadcast schedule

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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