Ryan Murphy extends backstroke streak at U.S. swimming trials


U.S. backstroke king Ryan Murphy was challenged, but not conquered at the world championships trials.

Murphy, a four-time Olympic champion, beat emerging rival Shaine Casas by .45 of a second as the two men clocked the world’s two best 200m back times this year. Murphy’s last loss to an American in a backstroke was in 2019. He has won every 200m back at trials meets dating to 2015.

“I’m seeing all these young kids coming up, so I think back to my first world trials in 2013 and how intimidated I was,” the 26-year-old Murphy said. “You never want to take it for granted trying to make these teams.”

U.S. SWIMMING TRIALS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Murphy, after sweeping the Olympic backstroke titles in 2016, took silver and bronze last year behind Russians who won’t be at June’s worlds in Budapest due to the nation’s ban.

“The field is going to be competitive, no matter what,” at worlds, he said.

Casas, 22, made his first long-course world team. He continued a stretch of fulfilling promise after missing the Olympic team by one spot.

After his biggest swimming failure, he became the first U.S. male swimmer to turn pro during an NCAA career since fellow backstroke star Aaron Peirsol in 2004. He won individual gold and silver at December’s world short course championships, a meet lacking many global stars.

He entered trials ranked No. 1 or 2 in the nation this year in five different events across three strokes and the individual medley, meaning he could just be starting to make a splash in Greensboro, N.C.

In other events, Katie Ledecky won her shortest race, the 200m freestyle, after taking the 800m free on Tuesday. Claire Weinstein, 15, was second, 1.93 seconds back, and will become the youngest U.S. swimmer to race individually at an Olympics or world championships since Elizabeth Beisel in 2007.

Ledecky is on an eight-year win streak domestically in freestyle events of at least 200 meters but hasn’t won a major international title in the 200m free since the Rio Olympics.

She was fifth in the 200m free in Tokyo. Her best time since — 1:54.66 — is tied for the fastest in the world in 2022 with Olympic gold medalist Ariarne Titmus. Titmus is among the Australians who will skip the world championships to prepare for the Commonwealth Games later this summer.

Phoebe Bacon, Ledecky’s Little Flower buddy, won the women’s 200m back in 2:05.08, the fastest time ever in a U.S. pool. She’s joined on the team by Rhyan White in a reversal of their Olympic Trials one-two. Bacon and White then went four-five in Tokyo. Regan Smith, the world record holder, finished third to miss the team by one spot, just as she did at Olympic Trials.

Lilly King, Kate Douglass and Annie Lazor posted the world’s three fastest times this year in the 200m breaststroke, with the Olympic bronze medalist Lazor squeezed out of a worlds spot by .48.

King, the Olympic silver medalist, and Douglass, the Olympic 200m IM bronze medalist, will be medal favorites at worlds given Tokyo gold medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa, plus the fourth-place finisher from Russia, will not be there.

Nic Fink and Charlie Swanson tied for the men’s 200m breast title in 2:08.84.

Kieran Smith matched his University of Florida training partner Ledecky by winning the men’s 200m free, edging Drew Kibler by .07.

Claire Curzan and Caeleb Dressel won the 50m butterflies, which are contested at worlds but not at the Olympics.

Trials continue Thursday, featuring the men’s and women’s 100m butterflies (Dressel, Curzan, Torri Huske) and 400m IMs (Chase KaliszJay LitherlandEmma WeyantHali Flickinger).

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw

Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek set French Open rematch

Coco Gauff French Open

Coco Gauff swept into the French Open quarterfinals, where she plays Iga Swiatek in a rematch of last year’s final.

Gauff, the sixth seed, beat 100th-ranked Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 7-5, 6-2 in the fourth round. She next plays the top seed Swiatek, who later Monday advanced after 66th-ranked Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko retired down 5-1 after taking a medical timeout due to illness.

Gauff earned a 37th consecutive win over a player ranked outside the top 50, dating to February 2022. She hasn’t faced a player in the world top 60 in four matches at Roland Garros, but the degree of difficulty ratchets up in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Swiatek won all 12 sets she’s played against Gauff, who at 19 is the only teenager in the top 49 in the world. Gauff said last week that there’s no point in revisiting last year’s final — a 6-1, 6-3 affair — but said Monday that she should rewatch that match because they haven’t met on clay since.

“I don’t want to make the final my biggest accomplishment,” she said. “Since last year I have been wanting to play her, especially at this tournament. I figured that it was going to happen, because I figured I was going to do well, and she was going to do well.

“The way my career has gone so far, if I see a level, and if I’m not quite there at that level, I know I have to improve, and I feel like you don’t really know what you have to improve on until you see that level.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Also Monday, No. 7 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia dispatched 36th-ranked American Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-1, breaking all eight of Pera’s service games.

Jabeur, runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, has now reached the quarterfinals of all four majors.

Jabeur next faces 14th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia, who won 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-5 over Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo, who played on a protected ranking of 68. Haddad Maia became the second Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Open Era (since 1968) after Maria Bueno, who won seven majors from 1959-1966.

Pera, a 28 year-old born in Croatia, was the oldest U.S. singles player to make the fourth round of a major for the first time since Jill Craybas at 2005 Wimbledon. Her defeat left Gauff as the lone American singles player remaining out of the 35 entered in the main draws.

The last American to win a major singles title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought matches the longest in history (since 1877) for American men and women combined.

In the men’s draw, 2022 French Open runner-up Casper Ruud reached the quarterfinals by beating 35th-ranked Chilean Nicolas Jarry 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5. He’ll next play sixth seed Holger Rune of Denmark, a 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7) winner over 23rd seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina.

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