Missy Franklin to miss U.S., world championships

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Missy Franklin will not swim at the U.S. Championships in two weeks, ruling her out of the world championships in July, as she works her way back from winter shoulder surgeries.

Franklin, a four-time 2012 Olympic champion, said she made the decision after talking with her coach, Dave Durden, at the University of California.

“If I had a deadline to try and get better by, we were really worried that that would rush things and that could really impact the quality of the therapy and the work that we were trying to do getting back,” Franklin said Monday. “I think both of us were very concerned with quality and wanting to make sure that we’re doing the best that we can right now.”

Franklin will not swim in major summer competition at the senior level for the first time since 2009, when she was 14 years old.

“I’m going to have some serious FOMO [fear of missing out],” Franklin said with her signature laugh. “It really hasn’t hit me yet.”

Franklin, 22, underwent left shoulder surgery in January due to bursitis. Soon after getting back in the water, she needed right shoulder surgery for the same issue.

Franklin said she felt shoulder pain as far back as last spring, according to the Denver Post, before she struggled at the Olympic Trials and the Rio Games. But she didn’t know if the shoulders were a cause for last summer’s results.

Franklin returned to swimming a few weeks after the second surgery and slowly upped her training load. She completed a full practice for the first time last month at Cal, where she has about three semesters’ worth of classes left to graduate. Her shoulders feel “awesome” now.

I want these shoulders to last me for a very long time,” Franklin said. “I really don’t want to rush anything. It’s been so nice for me to get back in the pool at my own pace.

“If this is the step back I need to take in order to take three forward, then that’s what I’m willing to do.”

Franklin plans to return to racing, “when I feel like I can give my best effort,” but she doesn’t know when.

In the interim, she has more time to devote to SafeSpash Swim Schools and the USA Swimming Foundation’s “Make a Splash” programs.

“Potentially giving [children] a skill that will help save their live is one of the most important things I’ll ever do,” Franklin said.

Another goal is to “have the most average 22-year-old summer I can possibly have,” she said. “I’ve never had a normal summer before.”

It was this summer in the previous Olympic cycle when Franklin became the biggest star in the sport.

She won a female-record six gold medals at the 2013 World Championships before enrolling in college.

“That’s something that really stays with me on the days that recovery’s really hard and those doubts creep into your mind and you wonder if you’ll ever get to that point again,” she said. “It’s those tough days when I kind of think back to the things that I accomplished that I never really thought I would be able to do. I can sort of reflect on that and be proud of those things and know that I really am capable of doing whatever it is that I set my mind to.”

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Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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