Kathleen Baker

Lilly King beats Yulia Efimova again, then laughs with Russian rival

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Lilly King beat Russian Yuliya Efimova again in the 100m breaststroke at the world championships. Then the former heated rivals clasped hands, exchanged pecks on the cheek and laughed with each other minutes later.

King has repeated over the last two years that she and Efimova moved on from their Rio Olympic rivalry, where King called out Efimova for having served a doping ban, causing Efimova to cry at a post-race press conference.

It’s more civil now, King said after the 2017 Worlds, where they embraced and shared a laugh in the pool in Budapest. They appeared just as friendly, if not more, after King beat Efimova in the 100m breast for a third straight major international meet in Gwangju, South Korea on Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t say we have completely moved on, but we are definitely more cordial than we have been,” said King, who clocked 1:04.93, eight tenths off her world record, to edge Efimova by .58. “Again, that was three years ago. I was 19 and a half. … I think it was blown out of proportion a little bit, the whole situation, but again we’ve both grown up since then. We’ve both moved on, and I think we take this rivalry in stride.”

King and Efimova renew their calmer rivalry twice more at worlds in the 50m and 200m breasts. King won the former at 2017 Worlds, while Efimova won the latter. On Tuesday, Efimova reflected on what happened in Rio.

“If you take Lilly King and ask her if she’d do the same as she did (then), I think she would never say I did it right,” she said, according to Agence France-Presse. “Probably she’d think she did it wrong.”

Worlds continue Wednesday with Caeleb Dressel expected back in action in the mixed-gender 4x100m medley, which could be his third of a possible eight gold medals. There will also be finals in the men’s 800m freestyle, women’s 200m freestyle (sans the ill Katie Ledecky), men’s 200m butterfly and men’s 50m breaststroke.

SWIM WORLDS: TV Schedule | Results

Earlier Tuesday, controversial Chinese Sun Yang repeated as 200m freestyle champion despite touching the wall in second. Lithuanian Danas Rapsys beat Sun but was quickly disqualified for twitching on the starting block.

The medal ceremony was a bit of a repeat of Sun’s 400m free title on Sunday. Co-bronze medalist Duncan Scott of Great Britain and Sun did not appear to shake hands before the Chinese anthem. After, Sun turned around as they left the podium, approached Sun and spoke at him, pointing his finger in his face. More on this episode here.

Sun’s 400m free win was followed by Australian silver medalist Mack Horton‘s protest. Only Michael Phelps has more individual world titles (15) than Sun’s 11.

Canadian Kylie Masse repeated as 100m backstroke champion, while American Olivia Smoliga took bronze. World-record holder Kathleen Baker, competing in her first meet in four months due to pneumonia and a broken rib, faded from first at 50 meters to sixth.

Olympic champion Ryan Murphy was also first at the halfway point of the men’s 100m back, but dropped to fourth as China’s Xu Jiayu repeated as world champion.

Italian Simona Quadarella became the first woman other than Ledecky to win the 1500m free world title since 2011, clocking 15:40.89 in Ledecky’s absence. Ledecky’s world record is 15:20.48.

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MORE: Tokyo Olympic medal forecast has U.S. atop standings

How to watch overall World Cup champ Mikaela Shiffrin ski this weekend

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It would seem Mikaela Shiffrin picked the best weekend of the season to take a break after every scheduled event in Sochi, Russia last week had to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

Shiffrin, while training in Italy ahead of this week’s events in the Czech Republic, was still able to make headlines, when her World Cup points total allowed her to clinch her third-consecutive overall title. She has also clinched her fourth-straight slalom crystal globe, and sixth overall, after taking an insurmountable 203-point lead in the standings. 

The women’s World Cup will attempt to get back to racing on Friday with the first run of the giant slalom scheduled for 4:30 a.m. ET. Watch the first run live on OlympicChannel.com or with an NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass. The second run can be seen live on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold.

After crisscrossing the globe, the ISU Speed Skating World Cup winds up in Utah for the final event of the season. The U.S.’ Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia, both recently crowned world champions, will close out their seasons on home ice at the site of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

For Bowe, she returns to the track where she set the world record in the 1000m not once, but twice in her career, and is closing out a season where she has landed on 12 World Cup podiums.

Watch speed skating from Salt Lake City beginning on Friday at 11:00 p.m. on TV on Olympic Channel.  

If you’re looking to thaw out from all the winter sports action, some of the best international swimmers in the world convene in Des Moines at the second stop on the TYR Pro Swim Series. Look for the U.S.’ 2016 Olympic gold medalists Caeleb Dressel and Kathleen Baker to be in the pool in Iowa. Watch the first of three days of swimming in primetime beginning on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. ET on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel.

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP — Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic; Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 4:30 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 2)* NBCSN
Saturday 3:30 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:30 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:30 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) DELAYED start at 8:30 a.m. Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
6:00 p.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 2)* NBCSN
Sunday 4:30 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day delay

BOBSLED AND SKELETON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Whistler, British Columbia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 12:00 p.m. Men’s Skeleton (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
1:45 p.m. Men’s Skeleton (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
3:30 p.m. Women’s Skeleton (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
5:00 p.m. Women’s Skeleton (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. Men’s and Women’s Skeleton Day 1* NBCSN
Friday 12:00 p.m. Men’s Skeleton (Run 3) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
1:45 p.m. Men’s Skeleton (Final Run) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
3:30 p.m. Women’s Skeleton (Run 3) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
5:00 p.m. Women’s Skeleton (Final Run) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
8:00 p.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
9:30 p.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN
Saturday 8:00 p.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Run 3) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
9:30 p.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Final Run) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

BIATHLON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Oestersund, Sweden

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 10:15 a.m. Mixed Relay Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Mixed Relay* NBCSN
Friday 10:15 a.m. Women’s 7.5km Sprint Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Women’s 7.5km Sprint* NBCSN
Saturday 10:30 a.m. Men’s 10km Sprint Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 8:45 a.m. Women’s 10km Pursuit Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
11:30 a.m. Men’s 12.5km Pursuit Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day delay

CROSS-COUNTRY WORLD CUP — Oslo, Norway

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 4:00 a.m. Men’s 50km Mass Start Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 6:45 a.m. Women’s 30km Mass Start OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Women’s 30km Mass Start* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

FENCING GRAND PRIX — Cairo, Egypt; Budapest, Hungary

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 9:00 a.m. From Cairo, Egypt* Olympic Channel
Sunday 4:00 p.m. From Budapest, Hungary OlympicChannel.com

*Pre-recorded

FREESKI AND SNOWBOARDING TOYOTA U.S. GRAND PRIX — Mammoth Lakes, California

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 12:30 p.m. Snowboarding: Slopestyle NBCSports.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Freeski: Halfpipe NBCSports.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 12:30 a.m. Freeski: Halfpipe* NBCSN
12:30 p.m. Freeski: Slopestyle NBCSports.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Snowboarding: Halfpipe NBCSports.com/NBC Sports Gold
11:30 p.m. Snowboarding: Slopestyle* NBCSN

*Encore presentation

NORDIC COMBINED WORLD CUP — Oslo, Norway

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 3:00 a.m. Men’s HS134 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Men’s 10km OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

SKI JUMPING WORLD CUP RAW AIR TOURNAMENT — Oslo, Norway

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 1:30 p.m. Men’s Qualifying OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 8:30 a.m. Men’s Team OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Men’s Team* Olympic Channel
Sunday 5:00 a.m. Women’s Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
9:30 a.m. Men’s Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Women’s Individual* Olympic Channel
4:30 p.m. Men’s Individual* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

SNOWBOARDING WORLD CUP — Scuol, Switzerland

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 7:30 a.m. Parallel Giant Slalom OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

SPEED SKATING WORLD CUP — Salt Lake City, Utah

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 2:20 p.m. World Cup Final Day 1 NBC Sports Gold
11:00 p.m. World Cup Final Day 1* Olympic Channel
Sunday 3:15 p.m. World Cup Final Day 2 NBC Sports Gold
11:00 p.m. World Cup Final Day 2* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

SHORT TRACK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Sofia, Bulgaria

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 8:00 a.m. Day 2 NBC Sports Gold
6:00 p.m. Day 2* Olympic Channel
Sunday 8:00 a.m. Day 3 NBC Sports Gold
6:00 p.m. Day 3* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

TYR PRO SWIM SERIES — Des Moines, Iowa

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 8:00 p.m. Day 1 Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
Friday 1:00 a.m. Day 1* NBCSN
8:00 p.m. Day 2 NBCSN NBCSports.com
Saturday 8:00 p.m. Day 3 NBCSports.com

*Next-day delay

U.S. female swimmers historically dominant in 2018 world rankings

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The U.S. has a female swimmer ranked in the top four of every Olympic event this year, which is the first time since 2007, according to FINA and USA Swimming databases.

The world’s fastest times came into focus following last week’s Asian Games, the biggest meet remaining on the 2018 senior international schedule. There are still opportunities remaining, particularly the Youth Olympics in October, but that has an age limit of 18 years old.

The biggest meet of the year for every swimming power has passed — the Commonwealth Games in April and the European Championships, Pan Pacific Championships and Asian Games this month.

This is the only year in the four-year cycle without an Olympics or a world championships. The best way to determine the world’s best swimmers is to compare best times from around the world throughout the year.

The U.S. women would earn medals in 12 of 14 individual Olympic events if awarded based on fastest times this year, matching their results from the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships.

Katie Ledecky would take three golds (400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles) and a silver (200m freestyle). Kathleen Baker would earn 100m backstroke gold and silver in the 200m back and 200m individual medley, making her the most versatile swimmer in the country.

The notable improvement this year came in the U.S.’ traditionally weak events — the 200m breaststroke and 200m butterfly.

In 2016, the top-ranked U.S. women in the 200m breast was Katie Meili at No. 14, according to FINA. No Americans made the Olympic final. Now it’s arguably a deep event. Micah Sumrall (formerly Lawrence) is ranked No. 3 in 2018 despite taking all of 2017 off from competition. Bethany Galat and Lilly King finished second and fourth in the 200m breast at 2017 Worlds.

In 2017, Hali Flickinger was the top American in the 200m fly but No. 12 in the world. The U.S. hasn’t earned an Olympic women’s 200m fly medal since Misty Hyman‘s upset gold at Sydney 2000, its longest drought in any men’s or women’s Olympic pool event. In every other event, the U.S. has earned at least one medal between the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

But Flickinger, a 24-year-old veteran, took gold at Pan Pacs after lowering her personal best at nationals from 2:06.67 to 2:05.87. Flickinger was seventh in Rio and ninth at the 2017 Worlds. She’s No. 2 in the world this year.

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MORE: Sun Yang requests second anthem after flags fall at Asian Games

2018 Swimming World Rankings — Women
50m Freestyle
1. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) — 23.74
2. Pernille Blume (DEN) — 23.75
3. Cate Campbell (AUS) — 23.78
4. Simone Manuel (USA) — 24.10
5. Maria Kameneva (RUS) — 24.21
5. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) — 24.21

100m Freestyle
1. Cate Campbell (AUS) — 52.03
2. Bronte Campbell (AUS) — 52.27
3. Simone Manuel (USA) — 52.54
4. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) — 52.72
5. Taylor Ruck (CAN) — 52.72
5. Pernille Blume (DEN) — 52.72

200m Freestyle
1. Taylor Ruck (CAN) — 1:54.44
2. Katie Ledecky (USA) — 1:54.56
3. Ariarne Titmus (AUS) — 1:54.85
3. Rikako Ikee (JPN) — 1:54.85
5. Charlotte Bonnet (FRA) — 1:54.95

400m Freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (USA) — 3:57.94
2. Ariarne Titmus (AUS) — 3:59.66
3. Leah Smith (USA) — 4:02.21
4. Wang Jianjiahe (CHN) — 4:03.14
5. Simona Quadrella (ITA) — 4:03.35

800m Freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (USA) — 8:07.27
2. Simona Quadrella (ITA) — 8:16.45
3. Ariarne Titmus (AUS) — 8:17.07
4. Leah Smith (USA) — 8:17.27
5. Wang Jianjiahe (CHN) — 8:18.09

1500m Freestyle
1. Katie Ledecky (USA) — 15:20.48
2. Simona Quadrella (ITA) — 15:51.61
3. Wang Jianjiahe (CHN) — 15:53.01
4. Li Bingjie (CHN) — 15:53.80
5. Ashley Twichell (USA) — 15:55.68

100m Backstroke
1. Kathleen Baker (USA) — 58.00
2. Kylie Masse (CAN) — 58.54
3. Emily Seebohm (AUS) — 58.66
4. Olivia Smoliga (USA) — 58.75
5. Regan Smith (USA) — 58.83

200m Backstroke
1. Kylie Masse (CAN) — 2:05.98
2. Kathleen Baker (USA) — 2:06.14
3. Margherita Panziera (ITA) — 2:06.18
4. Taylor Ruck (CAN) — 2:06.36
5. Regan Smith (USA) — 2:06.43

100m Breaststroke
1. Yulia Efimova (RUS) — 1:04.98
2. Lilly King (USA) — 1:05.36
3. Molly Hannis (USA) — 1:05.78
4. Reona Aoki (JPN) — 1:05.90
5. Katie Meili (USA) — 1:06.19

200m Breaststroke
1. Yulia Efimova (RUS) — 2:20.72
2. Reona Aoki (JPN) — 2:21.85
3. Micah Sumrall (USA) — 2:21.88
4. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA) — 2:22.02
5. Lilly King (USA) — 2:22.12

100m Butterfly
1. Rikako Ikee (JPN) — 56.08
2. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) — 56.23
3. Kelsi Dahlia (USA) — 56.44
4. Emma McKeon (AUS) — 56.54
5. Maddie Groves (AUS) — 57.19

200m Butterfly
1. Alys Thomas (GBR) — 2:05.45
2. Hali Flickinger (USA) — 2:05.87
3. Zhang Yufei (CHN) — 2:06.61
4. Laura Taylor (AUS) — 2:06.80
5. Mireia Belmonta (ESP) — 2:07.09

200m Individual Medley
1. Yui Ohashi (JPN) — 2:08.16
2. Kathleen Baker (USA) — 2:08.32
3. Kim Seoyeong (KOR) — 2:08.34
4. Sydney Pickrem (CAN) — 2:09.07
5. Melanie Margalis (USA) — 2:09.43

400m Individual Medley
1. Yui Ohashi (JPN) — 4:33.77
2. Fantine Lesaffre (FRA) — 4:34.17
3. Ilaria Cusinato (ITA) — 4:34.65
4. Ally McHugh (USA) — 4:34.80
5. Aimee Wilmott (GBR) — 4:34.90