Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte close in on Olympic Trials showdown

Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte
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(AP) — Longtime rivals Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps set up their lone showdown at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials by qualifying first and second in the 200-meter individual medley Thursday.

Lochte had the top time of 1 minute, 58.05 seconds in the preliminaries. He emerged from the pool limping as a result of the groin injury he suffered Sunday on the first day of trials. It has hampered his performances throughout the week. He has been getting treatment and tweaking the way he swims to compensate.

“I felt it on the first kick of breaststroke,” Lochte said. “I’ve just got to get a massage, rub it out and hopefully I’ll be better.”

Phelps was second fastest in 1:58.95 on his 31st birthday. His 7-week-old son, Boomer, sat on his mother’s lap in the stands during his heat.

“I feel older,” he said. “My muscles aren’t the same. They hurt a lot worse this morning.”

Lochte and Phelps advanced to the 16-man evening semifinals, along with Austin Surhoff, the son of former major league baseball player B.J. Surhoff. He was fifth fastest in 2:00.26. Also moving on was Michael Andrew, a 17-year-old who has already turned pro. He finished third in Phelps’ heat and ninth overall.

Lochte is already on the team as a relay swimmer based on his fourth-place finish in the 200 freestyle. He wants to swim an individual event in Rio, and the 200 IM represents his last — and best — chance after he was third in the 400 IM, one spot out of a berth.

The 31-year-old dropped out of the 200 backstroke on Thursday to focus on the 200 IM.

“It was kind of hard watching it just because I love that event, but I did what’s best for me,” Lochte said.

Phelps made his record fifth Olympic team by winning the 200 butterfly Wednesday.

“I didn’t really sleep last night. I was wide awake at like 5 (a.m.),” he said. “I knew (coach) Bob (Bowman) was awake, so I started firing texts off to him, asking him questions. He pretty much just said, ‘Shut up and get ready for this morning,’ so I went back to sleep for a few hours.”

Four years ago in London, Phelps won gold and Lochte took silver in the 200 IM. Lochte won the event at last year’s world championships in Russia, where Phelps couldn’t compete while serving a suspension from USA Swimming after his second drunken driving arrest.

In other preliminaries, Jacob Pebley and defending Olympic champion Tyler Clary had the two fastest times in the 200 backstroke heats. Pebley was timed in 1:56.29 and Clary went 1:56.85 to make the evening semifinals. Ryan Murphy, the 100 back winner at trials, was third quickest in 1:57.35.

On the women’s side, teenager Abbey Weitzeil and 30-year-old Olympic veteran Amanda Weir were the two fastest in the 100 freestyle featuring a loaded field. Weitzeil qualified first in 53.58 seconds and Weir was second in 53.76.

Dana Vollmer was third quickest in 53.80 and Simone Manuel was fourth in 53.84.

Also advancing to the semifinals were Kelsi Worrell, Katie Ledecky, Lia Neal, Missy Franklin, Olivia Smoliga, Natalie Coughlin and Allison Schmitt.

In the 200 breaststroke, Micah Lawrence had the fastest time of 2:26.27. Breeja Larson was sixth quickest in pursuit of her second straight Olympic team.

ZACCARDI: Phelps motivated by watching toughest for first time

U.S. women win record 27th consecutive FIBA World Cup game

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SYDNEY — There’s been a long legacy of success for the U.S. women’s basketball team at the World Cup.

The names change over time, but the results don’t seem to.

Kelsey Plum scored 20 points, Chelsea Gray added 16 and the United States routed Bosnia and Herzegovina 121-59 on Tuesday to break the team record for consecutive wins at the World Cup.

The victory was the 27th in a row in World Cup play for the Americans, who haven’t lost since the 2006 semifinals against Russia. The U.S. won 26 in a row from 1994-2006 leading up to that game. The Soviet Union holds the World Cup record with 56 straight wins from 1959-86.

“It’s kind of amazing,” said Breanna Stewart, who has been part of the last three World Cup teams. “Obviously, been here for some of it, but you understand the legends before that who really kind of started the streak. It goes to show that no matter who is playing on USA Basketball, we’re always trying to chase excellence.

“This streak doesn’t mean much right now because we’re going into the quarterfinals and focusing on winning a gold medal, but it’s something to kind of hang your hat on later.”

What started with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Sylvia Fowles has now been passed on to Stewart and A’ja Wilson. A legacy of excellence that doesn’t appear it will end anytime soon.

“The players change and, you know, there was a lot of concern about who’s next,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said. “It was a concern when Dawn Staley and Lisa Leslie were playing and who was going to be next. Then it was Sue and (Taurasi) and then other great players, too. Now with this group they are saying, hey, we’re pretty good, too.”

MORE: FIBA World Cup Schedule, Results

The U.S. last lost a group play game in 1975, according to Bill Mallon of Olympedia.org.

“We know the responsibility when you put on this jersey. There’s a lot more than yourself,” Plum said. “Everyone puts pride to the side. We have a common goal. We have some amazing players on this team.”

The Americans (5-0) won their pool games by an average of 46.2 points and never trailed in any of them. Now they play Serbia in the quarterfinals.

The U.S. was coming off a record rout of South Korea in which the team broke the World Cup record for points with 145. While the Americans didn’t match that number, they put the game out of reach in the first 10 minutes, going up 33-15.

The lead ballooned to 63-31 at halftime. Bosnia and Herzegovina put together a small run to start the third quarter, but the U.S. scored the final 19 points of the period.

Once again they used a dominant inside performance, outscoring Bosnia and Herzegovina 84-28 in the paint led by Wilson, Stewart and Brionna Jones.

“It’s a huge part of our identity,” Reeve said. “Ninety-whatever we had yesterday and 84 today, we just know what we’re good at and we have players that are really understanding their opportunities for that.”

The U.S. was missing Jewell Loyd, whom the team said was resting. Kahleah Copper started in her place and finished with 11 points.

Nikolina Elez scored 19 points to lead the Bosniaks (0-5), who were playing in their first World Cup.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium 85, Bosnia and Herzegovina 55 Group A
11:30 p.m. Serbia 81, Mali 68 Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA 145, South Korea 69 Group A
2 a.m. France 67, Japan 53 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 95, Puerto Rico 60 Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia 75, Canada 72 Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 92, South Korea 73 Group A
11:30 p.m. China 81, Belgium 55 Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA 121, Bosnia and Herzegovina 59 Group A
2 a.m. Canada 88, Mali 65 Group B
3:30 a.m. Serbia 68, France 62 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 71, Japan 54 Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. USA vs. Serbia
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Canada vs. Puerto Rico
4 a.m. China vs. France
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Belgium
Fri., Sept. 30 3 a.m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final