Jack Conger

Young U.S. relay team can’t match Great Britain, Russia (video)

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It’s no coincidence that the U.S. men’s 4x200m freestyle relay team had its worst finish since 2001, a bronze in Budapest on Friday.

From 2002 through 2016, either Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte was part of the quartet (and usually both of them were).

But with Phelps retired and Lochte suspended, a much younger foursome swam at worlds, including three men who had no Olympic final experience.

The U.S. led after three of four legs, but Great Britain anchor James Guy (2015 World 200m free champion) had the fastest split of all 32 swimmers by .78.

Guy zoomed past American Zane Grothe as the Brits repeated as world champs in the relay by .98 over Russia, which was a half-second ahead of the U.S. for silver.

Grothe, who is better in the 400m and 800m frees, split three seconds slower than Guy. He was the slowest American by nearly a second (when accounting for slower leadoff legs due to flat starts).

One swimmer the U.S. left off the final quartet was Conor Dwyer, a relay finalist member at every Olympics worlds since 2011. But Dwyer, the Rio 200m free bronze medalist, was fourth in the 200m free at nationals and even slower leading off the U.S. 4x200m in the morning heats.

Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay Results
Gold: Great Britain — 7:01.70
Silver: Russia — 7:02.68
Bronze: U.S. — 7:03.18
4. Australia — 7:05.98
5. Japan — 7:07.68
6. Italy — 7:09.94
7. Poland — 7:09.62
8. Netherlands — 7:12.76

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Katie Ledecky’s win not the most impressive swim to open nationals

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Katie Ledecky won the 800m freestyle in a rout, but a swimmer with no Olympic experience had the most impressive victory on the opening night of USA Swimming Nationals on Tuesday.

Ledecky, the four-time Rio gold medalist, clocked 8:11.50 to win her trademark race by nearly nine seconds. That clinched her spot on the team for the world championships in Budapest in July.

“It’s important to get the job done here and get on to Budapest and do what I love, which is race at those big meets,” Ledecky said on NBCSN, adding later, “I didn’t rest too much for this [meet]. It’s hard to compare, but maybe compared to the other trials/selection meets, this might be the least tapered that I’ve been.”

Mallory Comerford was undoubtedly the star of the day at nationals, part of the TeamUSA Summer Champions Series, presented by Comcast.

The rising Louisville junior won the 100m freestyle in 52.81 seconds, the second-fastest time by an American in history and No. 3 time in the world this year.

Comerford, who was 12th at the Olympic Trials, relegated Olympic champion Simone Manuel to second place by .24 on Tuesday night. Lia NealKelsi WorrellOlivia Smoliga and Katie Ledecky rounded out the top six and should be part of the 4x100m free relay pool in Budapest.

Comerford continued to improve after a breakout NCAA season, when she tied Ledecky for the NCAA 200-yard freestyle title in the same Indy pool. Comerford and Ledecky will go head-to-head in the 200m free at nationals on Wednesday.

“I’ve been really trying to figure out long course [Olympic-size pools], and it’s finally nice for it to be clicking,” Comerford told media in Indianapolis.

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The 2012 Olympic champion Nathan Adrian won the men’s 100m freestyle by one hundredth over Caeleb Dressel, repeating their one-two finish from the Olympic Trials.

“I didn’t know where they were, and if I would have looked around, I probably would have lost it,” Adrian said. “Touch the wall, and then figure out what place you got.”

Adrian clocked 47.96 seconds, ranking fourth in the world this year. Adrian and Dressel are set to be joined on the 4x100m free relay squad by Townley HaasZach AppleMichael Chadwick and Blake Pieroni.

Ryan Held, who famously broke down in tears on the Rio Olympic 4x100m free medal stand, finished seventh, missing the world team.

In the 200m butterfly, Jack Conger upset top seed Chase Kalisz, winning in 1:54.47.

Conger, who was suspended four months in 2016 as part of the Rio gas-station incident, now ranks fourth in the world this year in an event formerly dominated by Michael Phelps.

Kalisz, the Olympic 400m individual medley silver medalist, didn’t even make the world team in the 200m butterfly. He was out-touched for second place by Pace Clark by .21.

The women’s 200m fly final went to form, with Olympian Hali Flickinger taking the win by 1.11 seconds in 2:07.60. Flickinger ranks 10th in the world.

The 200m fly final was missing Olympic butterfliers Cammile Adams (not racing at nationals) and Kelsi Worrell (racing at nationals, but not the 200m fly) and Trials third-place finisher Cassidy Bayer (eliminated in morning prelims).

Joining Flickinger on the world team is Dakota Luther, a 17-year-old rising high school senior. No high schoolers made the Rio Olympic swim team.

True Sweetser and Robert Finke made their first world team by going one-two in the 1500m free.

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Ryan Lochte, U.S. swimmers receive official suspensions from USOC, USA Swimming

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The punishments are in for Ryan Lochte and the other three U.S. swimmers from the Rio Olympic gas-station incident.

Lochte, as previously reported, is suspended through June 30 of next year and excluded from the 2017 World Championships in July.

Gunnar BentzJack Conger and Jimmy Feigen are banned for four months each, through the end of 2016.

The announcements were made by the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming.

The suspensions were “due to violations of each organization’s code of conduct.”

“We accept the decision as believe it is in everyone’s best interest to move forward,” Lochte’s attorney said, according to USA Today. “Ryan is grateful to be a member of the U.S. Olympic Team and USA Swimming. He recognizes his lapse in judgment, and is looking forward to continuing his training, volunteer work with kids, and resuming his swimming career next year with an eye toward representing his country at the 2020 Olympic games in Japan.

“That said, in my opinion, while the collective sanctions appear to be harsh when considering what actually happened that day – Ryan did not commit a crime, he did not put the public safety at risk, and he did not cheat in his sport – we will leave it to others to evaluate the appropriateness of the penalties.”

VIDEO: Rowdy Gaines comments on Lochte suspension

Lochte’s ban means he won’t be able to compete at a world championships or an Olympics until 2019, the summer he turns 35 years old.

Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, said after the incident but before the suspension announcement that he planned to continue swimming. He lost sponsors, including Speedo, but then added new ones. Lochte is currently busy training for Dancing with the Stars, with the season premiere Monday.

Lochte’s ban is four months longer than the suspension Michael Phelps received after his September 2014 DUI arrest, though Phelps also missed the 2015 World Championships.

Lochte missing the 2017 Worlds in Budapest, Hungary, dents any hope he had of breaking Phelps’ record of 33 world championships medals. Lochte owns 27 worlds medals, second all time, and had competed in the last six worlds in a row.

Given his 2016, Lochte is far from a lock to qualify for the first major international meet after his suspension ends — the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo.

Lochte struggled at this summer’s Olympic Trials and Olympics. While slowed with a groin injury, Lochte made the U.S. Olympic team in one individual event, the 200m individual medley, after making the team in four individual events each in 2008 and 2012.

In Rio, Lochte finished fifth in the 200m IM and earned gold with the 4x200m free relay.

From Thursday’s press release:

Applicable to Ryan Lochte:

1. Suspended from domestic and international USA Swimming national team competitions for 10 months (through June 30, 2017), including the 2017 National Championships, which renders him ineligible for the 2017 FINA World Championships.
2. During the suspension, no monthly stipend from USA Swimming or the USOC.
3. During the suspension, no direct support or access to training centers or other facilities of the USOC.
4. Forfeits all USOC and USA Swimming medal funding for his gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.
5. Will perform 20 hours of community service.
6. Not permitted to join Team USA for its White House visit in connection with the Rio 2016 Games.
7. Not permitted to attend USA Swimming’s annual “Golden Goggles” event in 2016.

Applicable to Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen:

1. Suspended from domestic and international USA Swimming national team competitions for four months (through Dec. 31, 2016).
2. During the suspension, no monthly stipend from USA Swimming or the USOC.
3. During the suspension, no direct support or access to training centers or other facilities of the USOC.
4. Not permitted to join Team USA for its White House visit in connection with the Rio 2016 Games.
5. Not permitted to attend USA Swimming’s annual “Golden Goggles” event in 2016.

Further applicable to Gunnar Bentz due to violating a USA Swimming Olympic Village curfew rule placed on athletes under the age of 21:

1. Will perform 10 hours of community service.

“As we have said previously, the behavior of these athletes was not acceptable. It unfairly maligned our hosts and diverted attention away from the historic achievements of Team USA,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “Each of the athletes has accepted responsibility for his actions and accepted the appropriate sanctions. We look forward to focusing our energy on the Paralympic Games and the incredible men and women representing our country in Rio.”

“During an otherwise extraordinary Olympic Games, a small group of athletes had lapses in judgement and conduct that are unacceptable and not consistent with our expectations. When Code of Conduct infractions occur, it’s our responsibility to take action that reflects the seriousness of what happened,” USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said. “Unfortunately, this storyline took attention away from the athletes who deserved it the most. These athletes took accountability for their mistakes and are committed to represent themselves and our country with the great character and distinction we expect.”

The sanctions take effect immediately.

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