Meghan Duggan
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Meghan Duggan, following a trailblazer’s path, plans post-pregnancy return to U.S. hockey team

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Meghan Duggan, captain of the Olympic champion U.S. hockey team, is working out through her pregnancy with a plan to return to the national team.

Duggan, due Feb. 26 with her first child, said she is following training regimens used by Olympic teammates and new moms Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando during their pregnancies.

Lamoureux-Morando’s husband, a professional strength coach who has studied working with pregnant athletes, tailored a program for Duggan.

The 32-year-old also noted the U.S. women’s national team’s new contract — struck in 2017 as the entire roster was ready to boycott the world championship — which includes maternity protection.

Duggan, who didn’t play last year and last suited up for Team USA at the PyeongChang Olympics, declined to detail specifics of how the maternity protection applies to her.

“But I think that the plan that we have in place with USA Hockey is a really great one for players on pregnancy leave,” she said by phone Thursday ahead of being honored by the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis at the 34th Great Sports Legends Dinner in New York on Monday.

Duggan and the Lamoureux twins, who returned on ice to national team activity in August, would not be the first moms on a U.S. Olympic hockey team.

Duggan remembers her first worlds, in 2007, when Jenny Potter competed less than three months after having son Cullen.

“I admire her still, to this day, for doing that,” said Duggan, whose due date is one day after the 10th anniversary of the Olympic final that she and Potter played together in Vancouver. “I don’t think back then, as a 19-year-old kid, I was in the mind frame of thinking ahead of being in this position, but I do certainly remember Jenny being an absolute trailblazer in that respect.”

Potter actually played at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Olympics as a mom. Her daughter, Madison, is a freshman swimmer at Notre Dame.

For Duggan to similarly return for an April worlds after a winter pregnancy might be too tight of a turnaround attempt. “But we’ll see,” she said.

Duggan is already older than any previous U.S. Olympic female hockey player. If she comes back to make the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, she would tie the record for U.S. Olympic hockey appearances that Potter shares with others.

In September 2018, Duggan married fellow Olympic champion Gillian Apps, who earned gold for Canada in 2006, 2010 and 2014, beating Duggan’s U.S. teams in the latter two finals.

Together, they own four Olympic gold medals and 10 world titles. They have not decided if their child, sex not yet known, would represent the U.S. or Canada down the road.

“It’ll be a heated debate,” Duggan said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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