Greg Meehan, Dave Durden
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Greg Meehan, Dave Durden named USA Swimming Olympic head coaches

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Stanford’s Greg Meehan and Cal’s Dave Durden were named USA Swimming’s Olympic head coaches on Monday.

Meehan, 42, will guide the women’s team in Tokyo. Durden, two days younger than Meehan, coaches the men. Both are first-time Olympic head coaches and were assistants for David Marsh and Bob Bowman, respectively, for the 2016 Rio Games. They are the youngest U.S. Olympic swim head coaches since Mark Schubert in 1992.

A four-person committee unanimously nominated each coach, U.S. national team managing director Lindsay Mintenko said.

“[Meehan and Durden] have earned a great deal of respect among our national team members and other coaches around the country,” Mintenko said in a press release. “Our staff looks forward to collaborating with Dave and Greg over the next 18 months to put a plan in place to guide Team USA to continued success in Tokyo.”

Meehan has been Stanford’s women’s head coach since 2012, leading the Cardinal to NCAA titles in 2017 and 2018 with Olympic champions Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel. Meehan continues to coach Ledecky and Meehan, who turned professional after last season.

Durden, in his 12th season as the Cal men’s head coach, counts Olympic gold medalists Ryan Murphy and Nathan Adrian among his pupils.

Meehan and Durden coached the U.S. men and women at the 2017 World Championships to 38 medals, most by one nation in a single worlds in history.

U.S. Olympic head coaches receive the most scrutiny for relay-lineup decisions, which can be made with input from to-be-named assistant coaches. They also work with swimmers’ personal coaches leading up to the Games, including at domestic and international training camps between trials and the Olympics.

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Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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