Sun Yang
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Sun Yang pulls off Katie Ledecky-like feat at Chinese Nationals

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Katie Ledecky is the only swimmer to win world titles in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles. If that’s incredible, then what Sun Yang did at the Chinese Nationals last week is certainly notable.

The six-time Olympic medalist swept the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle national titles in Qingdao.

Sun, already the only swimmer to win Olympic titles in both the 200m and 1500m frees, has become stronger in the shorter freestyles in recent years.

He has the fastest times in the world this year in the 200m and 400m but ranks third in the 800m and 10th in the 1500m. He is No. 29 in the 100m free.

The 25-year-old could now swim the 100m free at a major international meet for the first time in July.

However, the 100m free semifinals and the 800m free final are in the same session. Sun has won the last three world titles in the 800m free and could shed the 100m to focus on the 800m.

Few men have shown that kind of range in a career. South Africa’s Ryk Neethling finished fifth in the 1500m free at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, then fourth in the 100m free at Athens 2004.

Sun, the only Chinese male swimmer with an Olympic title, is expected to try for a fourth Olympics in 2020, but that wasn’t a given last summer.

“I talked about my future with my father after Rio Olympics,” Sun said last week, according to Xinhua News Agency. “The career is so tough and I was thinking maybe I could only hang on for one or two more years. It’s hard for an athlete to keep fighting for a long time and only the strong-minded ones could stand the trial.”

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MORE: Olympic champion races at swim meet, 26 weeks pregnant

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang gets rare open hearing in doping case

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said Monday it will hear the World Anti-Doping Agency’s case against three-time Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang on Nov. 15 in front of reporters — possibly even live-streamed — at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Montreux, Switzerland.

The hearing won’t be completely open. Registration will be required, and photographers and videographers “will be invited to leave the hearing room after the opening,” CAS said in a statement. But those outside the room may still get a glimpse of the proceedings.

“With the agreement of all parties, it is intended to live stream all or parts of the hearing on the CAS website,” CAS said.

CAS noted that it has only held one prior hearing that wasn’t in a private setting — the 1999 case involving Irish swimmer Michelle Smith de Bruin, who won three gold medals in the 1996 Olympics but was banned for four years for tampering with a urine sample, a case that still prompts soul-searching in the Irish media. De Bruin lost the appeal.

Sun is accused of smashing a vial of blood at a drug test last fall. FINA allowed him to continue to compete, but the WADA has appealed, seeking a substantial suspension.

The Chinese swimmer won two gold medals at the world championships this summer and snubbed by some rivals at each medal ceremony, leading to a confrontation with British swimmer Duncan Scott.

RECAP AND VIDEO: Sun taunts Scott after medal ceremony

Sun has won 11 world individual titles in several freestyle distances but also has a long history of controversies ranging from a prior positive drug test and confrontations with other swimmers.

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U.S. women’s volleyball team ends year with surprise loss to Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic surprised the U.S. women’s volleyball team in the final of the NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean) women’s continental championship Sunday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, winning the first two sets and regrouping after a U.S. rally to win the fifth set.

The final score of the back-and-forth match: 25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 20-25, 15-9. The U.S. women had defeated the Dominican Republic in three previous finals: 2011, 2013 and 2015. The Dominican Republic won a semifinal matchup on its way to the 2009 title.

In group play, the U.S. team had beaten the Dominican Republic in straight sets. The U.S. also breezed past Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico in group play and swept past Canada in the semifinals.

The loss doesn’t affect Olympic qualification. The U.S. women had already qualified for the 2020 Olympics by winning a qualification tournament in August in Bossier City, La.

MORE: U.S. women rally to qualify

Semifinalists Canada and Puerto Rico qualified for a last-chance Olympic qualifier that the Dominican Republic will host in January. Mexico defeated Cuba in the NORCECA fifth-place game to be the last of the four teams vying for one spot.

The Dominican Republic has had some success in women’s volleyball, finishing fifth in the 2014 world championships and reaching the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals before falling to the U.S. The team also won this year’s Pan Am Games, to which the U.S. did not send its top players. Currently, the team is ranked 10th in the world.

Earlier this year, the U.S. women had defeated the Dominican Republic in two tournament finals — the Pan American Cup and the NORCECA Champions Cup. The U.S. also won a matchup in the World Cup last month, but the Dominican Republic won another five-set match in the Nations League preliminary round in Italy.

The U.S. finishes the year with a 44-7 record in tournament play, including a first-place finish in the Nations League and second place in the World Cup.

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