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Adam Peaty breaks 100m breaststroke world record again

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — By improving his own world record in the 100m breaststroke again, Olympic champion Adam Peaty is within one-hundredth of a second of completing his “Project 56.”

The British swimmer won gold in 57.00 seconds at the European Championships on Saturday, shaving 0.13 off his previous best mark, which he swam at the Rio de Janeiro Games two years ago.

Peaty, who has the 14 fastest times in the discipline, is the only swimmer to beat the 58-second mark, and last autumn he announced his ambition to go under 57 as well.

“I don’t want to just win, I want to dominate. And that’s not an arrogant side, that’s the competitive side in me,” he said on Saturday.

With a reaction time at the start of just 0.47, Peaty looked sharp from the beginning of the race. He never had his lead under threat. He beat James Wilby by 1.54 for a British 1-2 finish. Anton Chupkov of Russia finished 1.96 behind in third.

“It’s a weird one because I wasn’t going after a world record. But after the heat yesterday I knew I was in good shape,” said Peaty, who was still far from a world record in that heat (57.89) and in the semifinals (58.04), but he announced he “would be on my full game” for the final.

“After the semi I was back in the 58s but it just shows what you can do if you have a positive mental attitude,” he said.

It’s Peaty’s ninth European long-course title, to add to his five world titles.

In the buildup, Peaty said he wasn’t focusing on setting world records or below-57 finishing times anymore after his disappointing showing at the Commonwealth Games.

On the Gold Coast in April, he won the 100m breaststroke in only 58.84, and suffered a first defeat since 2014 in the 50m breaststroke, where he was edged by South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh.

“When you go four years without losing, you kind of get complacent even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself,” he said, adding that a “spider web of support” — his girlfriend, family, and coaches — helped him to rediscover his joy in the sport.

“It’s not just my victory tonight. It’s their victory as well. I didn’t train too hard these last months. I got the balance right between training smart and training very hard.”

Just missing out on a time below 57 didn’t bother him.

“No, that gives me another level of motivation,” he said. “If I’d achieved that, people would be talking about ‘Project 55.’”

An hour after Peaty’s achievement, Kliment Kolesnikov set a world record in the 50m backstroke final. The Russian finished in 24 seconds to beat the previous best mark set by Britain’s Liam Tancock, who timed 24.04 at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.

Robert-Andrei Glinta of Romania won silver after trailing Kolesnikov by 0.55, and Shane Ryan of Ireland finished 0.64 behind for bronze.

It’s the 18-year-old Kolesnikov’s second gold medal of the European Championships after winning the 4x100m freestyle with the Russian team on Friday. He also won four European titles at the short-course championships in Copenhagen last year.

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Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned 4 years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)