U.S. Speedskating

Joey Mantia wins Mass Start at World Single Distance Championships

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INZELL, Germany — Two-time Olympian Joey Mantia took gold in the men’s Mass Start event at the World Single Distance Championships on Sunday in at Max Aicher Arena in Germany.

In the final event of the four-day championships, Mantia sprinted the final 100m to win the title in 7:35.66. It’s his first gold medal this season, but not his first win in this event. He won the Mass Start at the 2017 World Single Distance Championships as well.

“I decided I was going to go into the last corner wide, I didn’t hear anybody coming on the inside, and I took advantage of them bumping into each other and that’s all she wrote,” Mantia said through U.S. Speedskating.

Full results are here.

The two skaters who bumped were South Koreans Cheonho Um and Jaewon Chung, who finished second and third in the race in 7:36.11 and 7:36.30, respectively.

“This year started out a little rough for me, but I’ve been training hard this last month and a half,” Mantia continued. “You train as hard as you can, and you try to put yourself in a position to take advantage of whatever the race presents, and I was able to do that today.”

Also on Sunday, Mantia finished eighth in the men’s 1500m.

Earlier Sunday, Brittany Bowe took home a bronze medal in the ladies’ 1500m with her time of 1:53.37.

The Netherlands’ Ireen Wuest set a new track record with her gold medal-winning time of 1:52.81 while Miho Takagi of Japan claimed the silver in 1:53.32.

“I’ve got some work to do on the last lap, but I’m happy with how I executed it,” Bowe said. “It’s probably my best time in Europe in a really long time, so I’m pleased.”

Americans Mia Manganello-Kilburg and Kimi Goetz raced in the ladies’ Mass Start on Sunday and placed eighth and 18th, respectively.

MORE: Brittany Bowe wins 1000m gold at World Single Distance Championships

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April Ross, Alix Klineman back atop Olympic beach volleyball qualifying

April Ross, Alix Klineman
FIVB World Tour
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Two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and new partner Alix Klineman moved back on top of the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball qualifying standings by winning an event in Itapema, Brazil this week.

Ross, who split from Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2017, and Klineman beat Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 25-23, 18-21, 15-10 in Sunday’s final for their third title in 11 FIVB World Tour tournaments together.

“Every victory is important, but this counts for more,” Klineman said, according to the FIVB. “We want to send a message and we want to be consistently the best.

Ross and Klineman supplanted Walsh Jennings and her new partner, Brooke Sweat, for the lead in the early U.S. Olympic qualifying rankings with still more than a year of events ahead.

1. Ross/Klineman – 3,240 (5 events played)
2. Walsh Jennings/Sweat – 3,100 (7 events)
3. Day/Flint – 2,180 (5 events)
4. Hughes/Ross — 2,000 (4 events)
5. Larsen/Stockman — 1,840 (5 events)
6. Sponcil/Claes — 1,600 (3 events)

Each team’s 12 best results from Sept. 1, 2018, to June 14, 2020, go into the Olympic qualifying rankings. That means Ross and Klineman are comfortably in front, having played two fewer events than Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who lost in the quarterfinals in Itapema.

The top two U.S. pairs come June 15, 2020, provided they’re ranked high enough internationally, will qualify for Tokyo. Most of the qualifying events, including the ones with the most points available, are still to come this summer.

Ross, 36, picked up Klineman, 29, after Walsh Jennings didn’t join her in signing a domestic AVP contract in 2017. The 6-foot-5 Klineman primarily played indoor the previous decade, including at Stanford from 2007-10 after being the Gatorade National Player of the Year coming out of high school.

MORE: Brazil volleyball star faints during courtside interview

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Katie Ledecky extends 5-year win streak

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Katie Ledecky extended a five-year domestic win streak by taking the 200m freestyle at the Tyr Pro Swim Series at Bloomington on Saturday.

In her last full meet before July’s world championships, Ledecky clocked 1:55.80 to beat training partner Simone Manuel by 1.44 seconds for her second win in as many days. Ledecky is also entered in Sunday’s 800m free on the last day of the meet.

Ledecky, who also cruised to a 400m free victory on Friday, ranks third in the world in the 200m free this year, behind Australian Ariarne Titmus and Swede Sarah Sjöström (the Olympic silver medalist who is not expected to race the 200m free at worlds).

Ledecky, a five-time Olympic champion, hasn’t lost a 200m, 400m, 800m or 1500m free final at a domestic meet since Allison Schmitt beat her in a 200m free on Jan. 18, 2014 when Ledecky was 16 years old.

BLOOMINGTON: Full Results

But Ledecky lost the two biggest 200m frees of this Olympic cycle so far, at the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. Italian veteran Federica Pellegrini handed Ledecky her first individual final defeat at a major international meet at 2017 Worlds.

Ledecky dropped to third in the 200m free at Pan Pacs in Tokyo last year, beaten by younger swimmers Taylor Ruck of Canada and Rikako Ikee of Japan.

Ruck, who like Ledecky trains at Stanford, is in Bloomington, but she chose not to swim the 200m free on Saturday. She instead swam the 200m backstroke about 45 minutes after the 200m free and was upset by 17-year-old Regan Smith. Smith won in 2:06.47, moving to No. 3 in the world this year.

In other events Saturday, Ella Eastin captured the 400m individual medley in 4:37.18, taking 1.25 seconds off her personal best and moving to fifth in the world this year. Eastin is not on the world championships team after an untimely bout with mono before qualifying meets last summer.

Blake Pieroni won the men’s 200m free in 1:47.25. No American ranks in the top 20 in the world this year. World silver medalist Townley Haas did not enter Bloomington.

MORE: Olympic breaststroke champion faces ban for missed drug tests

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