Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin
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Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin under pressure; Tuesday finals preview

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OMAHA — Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin, the two best U.S. swimmers this time four years ago, face major tests in finals at the Olympic Trials on Tuesday night

The injured Lochte qualified fifth fastest into the 200m freestyle final, an event where he was the top American at the 2012 Olympics (fourth).

“I’ve never raced in this much pain,” Lochte said Monday night.

Franklin qualified seventh fastest into the 100m backstroke final, which she won at the London Games.

It’s possible neither races those events in Rio, since only the top two Tuesday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC and NBC Sports app) will clinch an individual Olympic berth.

“Having been here before, I’m putting a lot of that pressure on myself,” Franklin said Tuesday morning ahead of her first of what she hopes is four finals this week. “Remember, hey, this is the best in the country right now. You’re racing against the greatest swimmers in all of the United States. Take it as an honor.”

An event-by-event look at Tuesday night’s semifinals and finals session:

Women’s 200m Freestyle Semifinals
Olympic champion Allison Schmitt, 2013 World champion Missy Franklin and 2015 World champion Katie Ledecky headline arguably the deepest event for both genders. Ledecky (1:55.60) and Leah Smith (1:56.47), who went one-two in the 400m free final Monday, were one-two in the 200m free prelims Tuesday morning. Schmitt was fourth and Franklin seventh. The top eight between two semis make Wednesday night’s final.

Men’s 200m Freestyle Final
This is Ryan Lochte‘s best remaining chance to make the Olympic team, given as many as the top six finishers could make the 4x200m free relay pool. Lochte is better in the 200m individual medley later in the meet, but only two spots are available there (with Michael Phelps in that field, too). He will be hoping that not having to swim Tuesday morning will help ease the groin injury suffered Sunday in the 400m individual medley, where he ended up finishing third. Lochte was fifth overall in the 200m free semis, but only .62 behind top seed Conor Dwyer. The second, third and fourth seeds are all at least 10 years younger than Lochte.

Women’s 100m Backstroke Final
Franklin must come back about 23 minutes after the 200m free semis for this race. She called her 100m back semifinal Monday night “sluggish.” In the last year, Franklin has also expressed frustration with some of her times as she returned from back spasms that slowed her at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and the transition out of NCAA swimming in 2015. Her semifinal time — 1:00.45 — was 1.29 seconds slower than top seed Olivia Smoliga and 1.09 seconds slower than No. 2 Kathleen Baker. Also, 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion Natalie Coughlin snuck into this final as the eighth seed.

Men’s 100m Backstroke Final
This looks like three men racing for two Olympic spots — Olympic champion Matt Grevers, fellow veteran David Plummer and Ryan Murphy, a rising University of California senior. The world record could go down, too, since Plummer was .18 off of Aaron Peirsol‘s mark from 2009 in the semifinals.

SWIM TRIALS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Women’s 100m Breaststroke Final
Two first-time Olympians will likely be crowned here. Rising Indiana sophomore Lilly King came into this meet as the fastest in the U.S. this year and was also tops in the preliminary heats and semifinals. Molly Hannis and Katie Meili are the No. 2 and 3 seeds also eyeing their first Olympics, while former world-record holder Jessica Hardy was fourth best in the semifinals.

Men’s 200m Butterfly Semifinals
Unlike Lochte and Franklin, Michael Phelps should feel no pressure tonight. He needs to be in the top eight between two semifinals to advance to Wednesday night’s final. In 2015, Phelps clocked the fastest time in the world in this event since 2009. On Tuesday morning, he was the fastest man in the prelims.

Women’s 200m Individual Medley Semifinals
Maya DiRado, who won the 400m IM on Sunday to make her first Olympic team, qualified fastest into the semifinals. Caitlin Leverenz, who earned bronze at the London Olympics in this event, was .23 behind. Like with Phelps, they should easily make top eight to reach Wednesday’s final.

MORE: Lochte must draw on painful past to make Olympic team

Brigid Kosgei beaten as another world record smashed in Nike shoes

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Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh broke the half marathon world record by 20 seconds, beating new marathon world-record holder Brigid Kosgei in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.

Nike-sponsored runners lowered the men’s and women’s marathon and half marathon records since September 2018, each appearing to race in versions of the apparel giant’s scrutinized Vaporfly shoes.

Yeshaneh, a 28-year-old who finished 14th in the 2016 Olympic 5000m, clocked 1:04:31 for 13.1 miles to better Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei‘s world record from 2017.

Kosgei, a 26-year-old Kenyan, also came in under the old world record but 18 seconds behind Yeshaneh.

Kosgei took 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record on Oct. 13, clocking 2:14:04 to win the Chicago Marathon.

Nike Vaporfly shoes, including the prototypes worn by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge when he ran a sub-two-hour marathon, were deemed legal by World Athletics’ new shoe regulations last month, according to Nike.

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Olympic, world champion lugers pull out of World Cup event over safety

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U.S. Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer and other top lugers are skipping this weekend’s World Cup stop in Winterberg, Germany, citing unsafe track conditions and a growing frustration with the international federation over athlete concerns.

“This was brought to the attention of the FIL [International Luge Federation] and yet again we were told that everything is ok,” was posted on Mazdzer’s Instagram. “I realize that a boycott is a lose-lose situation and there are no winners. But I have no other option at this point. I feel personally that this track is not safe for doubles sleds or for athletes who do not have adequate numbers of runs.”

Mazdzer said by phone Friday that he noticed significant bumps on the track in his first training run earlier this week.

“I couldn’t drive because I’m being thrown everywhere,” he said. “When you’re going 130 kilometers an hour [80 miles per hour], you don’t really want the track to be bad.”

An FIL spokesperson said Friday that Mazdzer’s choice was “his individual decision” and declined further comment ahead of races scheduled Saturday and Sunday. Mazdzer said that he was told the race starts will be moved down.

USA Luge said in a Friday statement that it will not participate in the World Cup and would communicate its concern for athlete safety to the FIL.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Summer Britcher said she was boycotting via Instagram, calling it “a farce of a World Cup.” Top lugers said athletes suffered serious injuries in training runs.

“I love this sport, but after too many decisions too many times that disregard 1-the safety of the athletes, and 2- the integrity and fairness of our sport, I have grown a great disdain for the International Luge Federation, and those who make these decisions,” was posted on Britcher’s account. “I will not race this weekend. I do not believe the track is safe, I do not believe it has been prepared to a World Cup standard, and I do not believe that the International Federation and Winterberg World Cup organisers should get away from this with no consequences.”

Britcher’s post noted that her team notified coaches and the technical director that the track was unsafe after her first training run Wednesday.

“Our concerns, and the concerns of the rest of the athletes from other nations throughout the day were not taken seriously,” Britcher posted.

Britcher said that several coaches attempted to fix the track for several hours on Thursday after athletes refused to train.

Olympic champion David Gleirscher of Austria and World Cup standings leader Roman Repilov of Russia and the top doubles teams of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany also posted on Instagram that they’re skipping the Winterberg World Cup, the penultimate stop of the season, for safety reasons.

Mazdzer estimated a 20 percent crash rate in training, but that the track condition has improved since Wednesday. He still plans to race next week at the last World Cup in Königssee.

“There’s a lot of problems with Winterberg,” he said after detailing the situation between athletes and the FIL, “and it’s not just the track.”

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