U.S. swimmers find different pools for training; USA Swimming adjusts schedule

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With Stanford’s primary aquatic facility closed, it appears Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel found a different pool two miles up the road.

“So proud that Menlo Circus Club offered its pool while the world adjusts,” longtime commentator Ted Robinson tweeted, accompanying a photo of the swimmers. “A shining example of the generosity of community that will be our strength.”

Menlo, reached Monday, said the facilities, including a 25-yard pool, were made available to swimmers who were guests of a member.

This came after pools at some of the nation’s top swimming hubs were closed due to coronavirus concerns. This includes the University of Texas, the University of Georgia, the University of Florida and Stanford.

“Not too much to share other than the majority of our team has gone home to be with family,” Greg Meehan, the Stanford head coach and the U.S. Olympic women’s team coach for the Tokyo Games, said in an email Sunday. “We have a very small group here, including [Ledecky and Manuel], and we are utilizing local pools for the time being until we establish a long term plan. Things are very fluid and the groups done a great job of being patient and going with the flow.”

On Monday evening, USA Swimming announced the cancellation of the next-to-last Tyr Pro Series meet before June’s Olympic Trials. The meet was scheduled for Mission Viejo, Calif., from April 16-19, flipping the finals to the morning to mimic the Tokyo Olympic schedule.

The last Pro Series meet before trials — May 6-9 in Indianapolis — is still scheduled, though that could change in the coming days and weeks. On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended not holding gatherings of 50 or more people for eight weeks, which would run to May 10.

The U.S.’ best swimmers use the Pro Series to prep for trials and major international meets. For now, some are just looking to find a consistent training base.

“It just has been a waiting game and things are changing each hour,” Stanford senior and world 200m butterfly bronze medalist Katie Drabot said, according to Swimming World. “It is weird. My bags are packed and I am waiting to know where to go.”

Swimmers often spend weeks at a time at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s training center in Colorado Springs for high-altitude camps. A USOPC spokesperson said Monday, after speaking with national governing bodies, “at this time, there is no pathway to the OTC for anyone that’s not on the campus” though there have been other considerations “on a rolling basis.”

Pro swimmers who usually train at Indiana University, including Olympic 100m breaststroke champion Lilly King, and the University of California were either at the OTC already or en route late last week, according to the Wall Street Journal.

David Boudia, a four-time Olympic medalist diver, said Sunday he was still allowed to train at Purdue but believed the facility may close.

“Safe to say there are a number of NGBs and athletes groups that are being impacted by campus closures,” the USOPC spokesperson said.

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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