Ryan Lochte earns berth in Rio, but only in relay event so far

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Ryan Lochte missed out on his second chance to make the U.S. Olympic team in an individual event, finishing fourth in the 200-meter freestyle Tuesday night.

There was some consolation for the ailing swimmer: Lochte at least assured himself a trip to Rio as a part of the 4×200 free relay.

Townley Haas, who just missed out on the team with a third-place finish in the 400 free, earned his first trip to the Olympics by rallying to win in 1 minute, 45.66 seconds. Conor Dywer was next in 1:45.67, giving him a second individual event at the Olympics. He also finished second in the 400 free.

Jack Conger was third in 1:45.77, while Lochte faded to 1:46.62. He has been battling a groin injury, already squandering a chance to defend his title in the 400 individual medley.

Lochte was second at the final turn Tuesday but couldn’t hold on.

“I’m just happy that I’m going to Rio,” Lochte said, sounding downright relieved. “You can never go in knowing that you’re going to make the team, just because the U.S. is one of the hardest countries to make the Olympic team.”

Another stalwart of the 2012 U.S. team failed to qualify for Rio. Matt Grevers, the defending Olympic gold medalist in the men’s 100 backstroke, finished third behind Ryan Murphy and David Plummer.

Murphy won in 52.26, edging Plummer’s time of 52.28. Grevers touched in 52.76.

“It wasn’t that tight. They beat me by a half-second,” Grevers said. “I think I’m a little stunned. I think after I let it sink in, I’ll be more distraught than I currently am.”

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Yet another Olympic gold medalist, Jessica Hardy, finished sixth in the 100 breaststroke to also miss out on the U.S. team. Lilly King and Katie Meili were 1-2 in the final, extending what has become a definite changing of the guard in Omaha.

Ten of the swimmers who claimed likely spots for Rio on Tuesday night will be first-time Olympians.

Over the first three days of the trials, that number could be as high as 17 – a drastic makeover for the world’s greatest swimming nation.

MORE: Missy Franklin misses chance to earn Rio berth in 100m backstroke

Swimming short-course records in peril as FINA recognizes ISL times

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In the debut season of the International Swimming League, six U.S. short-course records have fallen. USA Swimming has recognized the new circuit’s times from the outset.

International body FINA, which at first threatened to ban swimmers who participated in the ISL and then said it would not recognize records from the team-based league, which debuted in October and will hold its first final meet Dec. 20-21 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, is now recognizing those times, and the effects on its statistics have been drastic.

MORE: Ledecky sets U.S. record in ISL debut

This morning, a downloaded list of the top times in the world this year included no ISL times. By the afternoon, times from the ISL’s meet over the weekend in College Park, Md., accounted for most of the times on the lists, including the top 10 in the women’s 50m freestyle and women’s 100m freestyle.

So far, the ISL hasn’t figured into the top five on many all-time FINA lists. But the best short-course times are typically posted near the end of the year, and the ISL has two meets remaining.

The U.S. record book has already changed. In October, Katie Ledecky set the 400m freestyle record (3:54.06) and Melanie Margalis set the 200m medley mark (2:04.18).

In College Park this weekend, Margalis also set the U.S. 400m medley record (4:24.46) and Ian Finnerty set two records the 50m breaststroke (25.99), with runner-up Michael Andrew also beating the previous record, and the 100m breaststroke (56.29). Also, Caeleb Dressel set the 50m butterfly record (22.21).

Only half of the swimmers in the ISL will advance to the final, and qualification isn’t necessarily in their hands. After the College Park meet, the Cali Condors and LA Current clinched spots in Las Vegas. That’s bad news for Andrew (New York Breakers), Finnerty (DC Trident) and Ledecky (DC Trident).

Dressel, Margalis and Lilly King — all representing the Condors — will have another shot at records in Vegas. 

FINA, as usual, is running its World Cup circuit during the fall and early winter, and some swimmers — including overall World Cup champions Vladimir Morozov and Cate Campbell — are pulling double duty between the World Cup and ISL.

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IOC announces deal with Airbnb to add housing for future Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee has moved to help with the scramble to house the influx of athletes, staff and spectators with each Olympics, making a deal with online housing broker Airbnb to add accommodations for the Games through 2028.

“The agreement includes accommodation provisions that will reduce costs for Olympic Games organizers and stakeholders, minimize the need for construction of new accommodation infrastructure for the Olympic Games period, and generate direct revenue for local hosts and communities,” the IOC announced.

Airbnb’s partnership also includes accommodation for disability athletes for the Paralympic Games, and the company will join large global companies such as Coca-Cola, Visa and Panasonic as worldwide Olympic partners.

Athletes also will have a chance to make money by hosting travelers.

“As an Olympian host, you can create and lead an experience inspired by your expertise and interests,” reads an explanation on the Olympic athlete support portal Athlete365.

Outside the Olympics and Olympic athlete experiences, the IOC and Airbnb are pledging to work together on long-term support to refugees.

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