The return of Michael Phelps to the pool was the center of attention when the Arena Grand Prix was held in Mesa, Ariz., this past weekend but several other Olympians made their mark during the meet as well.
Olympic gold medalists Katie Ledecky, Tyler Clary, Ryan Lochte and Nathan Adrian all won multiple events. In total there were 27 Olympic medalists in the field.
World-record holder Katie Ledecky dominated the 800-meter freestyle Saturday to win her third gold medal of the meet. Ledecky finished in 8 minutes, 20.10 seconds, the third-fastest time in the world this year, to win by almost 13 seconds. Ledecky also won the 400 free Thursday and 200 free Friday.
Clary rallied in the final 50 meters to win the 200-meter butterfly by one-hundredth of a second over Tom Luchsinger in 2:00.39. He had won the 400 individual medley Friday.
Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history with 22 medals in the Games, finished second to Lochte in the 100-meter butterfly Thursday in his return and was done for the meet early Friday. He swam the butterfly stroke in the 50-meter free preliminaries and finished in 24.06 seconds.
Lochte, Adrian and Ledecky each picked up their second wins of the meet later Friday. After beating Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly Thursday, Lochte won the 200 free Friday. Adrian swept the sprint freestyle races, winning the 100 Thursday and 50 Friday.
Elsewhere, at the 28th International German Championship in Berlin, several Team USA swimmers broke world records. Five-time Paralympian Curtis Lovejoy set the world record in the men’s SB1 100-meter breaststroke. Lovejoy broke his own record that had been on the books for nearly 13 years. Lovejoy smashed his previous mark by nearly six seconds as he touched the wall in 3:31.09. Tucker Dupree not only set the world record in the men’s S12 50 backstroke world record, but also he set an American and PanAmerican record in the men’s S12 50 freestyle in 24.22.
Jessica Long also added her name to the record books. Long, a 17-time Paralympic medalist from Baltimore, swam to victory in the women’s S8 100-meter butterfly in world record fashion on the first day of competition.
Paralympic gold medalist Ian Silverman set American records in the men’s S10 200 freestyle (1:57.65) and 100 butterfly (59.02).
Elizabeth Smith set an American record in the women’s S9 50 backstroke and set a world record in the 50 butterfly. Smith’s time of 31.90 in the butterfly broke the four-year-old record by eight-hundredths of a second.
TRACK & FIELD
The United States won four out of six events in the USA vs. The World portion of the Penn Relays Saturday in Philadelphia. The wins came in the men’s 4x100-meter, the women’s sprint medley, the men’s distance medley and the women’s 4x400.
“Racing in Philly is always a great experience,” said Justin Gatlin, a five-time Olympic medalist, who teamed with Charles Silmon, Mookie Salaam and Walter Dix to make up the 4x100 team. “Everyone comes out to compete and wants to win. What we did today was special and the beginning of something great for the upcoming Olympics.”
Ajee’ Wilson brought the United States from behind the closing 800-meter leg of the women’s sprint medley relay.
Anchor runner Leo Manzano regained the lead in the final 200 meters of his 1,600-meter leg of the men’s distance medley relay.
Jessica Beard brought the United States from behind on the anchor leg of the women’s 4x400.
The United States was second in the women’s 4x100 and the men’s 4x400, where it was slowed by a bad baton exchange.
Elsewhere, a total of 11 world outdoor bests for 2014 were established during the 105th Drake Relays Friday and Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Kristi Castlin handed 2013 world champion Brianna Rollins her first loss since 2012 by winning the women’s 100-meter hurdles Saturday in 12.571 seconds, setting a meet record while edging Rollins by just five-thousandths of a second.
“This was my first race of the season,” Castlin said. “I had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder being in Lane 8. I had to execute my best race since I was out there on my own.”
One big name who was competing in Iowa this weekend was Lolo Jones. Jones, who raced in bobsled in Sochi in February, returned to her track and field roots and raced to a win along with Rollins, Queen Harrison and Vashti Thomas in the women’s shuttle hurdle event Friday night. It was the first meet victory since 2008 for Jones, who went to high school not far from where the Drake Relays were held.
LaShawn Merritt won the 400 in 44.44 seconds. Merritt was the winner in a loaded field, which included 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kirani James, who was second to Merritt in 44.60.
Olympians Alexander Massialas and Race Imboden gave the United States a 1-2 finish at a men’s foil world cup for the first time Friday in Seoul, South Korea. Massialas defeated Imboden 15-11 in the final.
Elsewhere, the United States finished sixth as a team at the men’s saber world cup in Athens, Greece. Daryl Homer also made it to the top eight individuals before losing in the quarterfinals.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross opened the FIVB World Tour season by winning the championship of the Fuzhou Open in China.
Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, and Ross, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, continued the success they had after teaming up late in 2013. They defeated Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Silva and Maria Antonelli, 21-11, 21-18, to add to the two titles they won to end last season.
“All the best teams in the world came to this Open because this is the first tournament of the season,” Ross said, according to an FIVB press release. “It was a very, very tough tournament, a good indicator of how tough this season is going to be.”
The win marked Walsh Jenning’s 47th career FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament title, breaking the tie she had with Brazil’s Larissa Franca for the most career titles.
Elsewhere the United States swept the gold medals and grabbed two other podium spots Sunday at the NORCECA Continental Tour event in Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.
Todd Rogers and Theo Brunner defeated Will Montgomery and Stafford Slick 21-12, 21-17 in the all-U.S. men’s final.
Tealle Hunkus and Kim Dicello rallied past Canada’s Claudia Seguin and Brandie Wilkerson 21-23, 21-10, 15-9 in the women’s final.
Christal Engle and Heather Hughes defeated Mexico’s Vanessa Virgen and Paulette Cruz 21-19, 21-9 for the women’s bronze medal.
Olympians Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah Groff finished third and fourth Saturday at the inaugural ITU World Triathlon Cape Town in South Africa.
Jorgensen finished the 750-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run in 1:46:33. She covered the 10k run in 32:46 to climb from 16th place all the way to the bronze medal. The swimming distance was cut in half due to cold water.
Groff finished in 1:47:11 for her second straight top-five finish. She is fourth and Jorgensen is fifth in the series points rankings.
Lukas Verzbicas returned for the first time since being injured in a 2012 bike crash and finished 46th in the men’s race Sunday.
Gevvie Stone won the women’s single sculls Saturday at the National Selection Regatta in West Windsor, N.J., despite going into the event with less preparation time than she would like.
Stone has been busy finishing medical school at Tufts University since competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“Any serious rower would probably laugh if they saw my training log," Stone said.
Stone was strong from the start, producing the fastest time in Thursday’s time trial, winning her semifinal Friday and taking the final Saturday to win over a field that featured four Olympians and other former national team athletes.
“Coming into this, I just wanted to prove that I could be in the fight the next two years, with Rio in mind,” Stone said.
Stephen Whelpley won the men’s single sculls and Kerry Simmonds joined two-time Olympian Megan Kalmoe to take the women’s pairs. The winners will be able to compete in world cup events, where they can earn spots in the World Rowing Championships set for Aug. 24-31 in Amsterdam.
Nick Trojan and Michelle Sechser won the lightweight men’s and women’s titles.
The United States produced three gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal during the weekend at a world cup stop in Shanghai, China.
The United States won team gold medals in men’s and women’s compound and mixed recurve. Bridger Deaton, Reo Wilde and Braden Gellenthien won the men’s recurve team gold. Deaton and Erika Jones also won the mixed team compound silver medal, and Deaton added a men’s individual recurve bronze in his world cup debut.
Jones joined Tristan Skarvan and Jamie Van Natta on the women’s compound gold medal team with.
Three-time Olympian Brady Ellison joined world cup rookie Mackenzie Brown for the mixed recurve team gold.
The U.S. women are 5-0 midway through the World Senior and World Mixed Doubles Championships, which continue through Wednesday in Dumfries, Scotland.
Margie Smith is captain of the women’s team, which also includes Norma O’Leary, Debbie Dexter and Shelly Kosal.
The United States is 4-1 in men’s pool play and 3-3 in mixed doubles.
Neko Mulally finished third in the men's downhill Sunday at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Cairns, Australia, for his best finish on the elite level.
Aaron Gwin, who won the first stop of the world cup, finished fourth in Cairns, the second event. Kate Courtney placed sixth in the women’s eliminator Saturday before taking fourth in the under-23 women’s cross-country race Sunday.
Georgia Gould was 11th in Sunday’s elite women’s cross-country race while Stephen Ettinger was 12th in the men’s race. Luca Shaw was 10th in the junior men’s downhill.
David Boudia finished fourth in the men’s 10-meter final at the FINA Diving World Series Sunday in London, at the venue where he won his Olympic gold medal in 2012. Boudia finished strong after falling into sixth place on the first dive of the finals.
Troy Dumais, a four-time Olympian who earned an Olympic bronze medal in London, teamed with his younger brother, Dwight Dumais, to place sixth in the men’s synchronized 3-meter Friday.
Jessica Parratto placed ninth in the women’s 10-meter and also teamed with Cheyenne Cousineau to place sixth in the women’s synchronized 10-meter. Amanda Burke and Samantha Pickens were ninth in women’s synchronized 3-meter.
Auston Matthews scored two goals while Sonny Milano had a goal and two assists Sunday when the United States claimed the gold medal at the IIHF Men’s Under-18 World Championships with a 5-2 victory over the Czech Republic in Lappeenranta, Finland.
Milano was named Team USA’s best player. Louie Belpedio, Jack Eichel and Alex Nedeljkovic were named the best three players of the tournament for the United States, which has medaled in 11 straight Under-18 World Championships.
The U.S. women defeated Spain, 3-1, Sunday in their opening game at the Champions Challenge in Glasgow, Scotland. Katie O’Donnell, Michelle Vittese and Melissa Gonzalez scored for the United States.
Lauren Crandall and Caroline Nichols led a defensive effort that allowed just two penalty corners.
The tournament is the team’s final preparation for the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup.
William Fox-Pitt with Bay My Hero won the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover Saturday in Lexington, Ky. Lauren Kieffer and Veronica were second.
Michal Smolen won the Under-23 K1 men’s world title Friday at the ICF Junior & U23 Championships in Penrith, Australia. Smolen finished in 1:33.10 to win by 1.29 seconds. Gabe Machado and Will Coggan teamed to take sixth in the C-2 men’s Saturday. Jordan Sherman, Tyler Smith and Tyler Westfall placed eighth in the junior K-1 team event.
Garrett Spurgeon won the men’s smallbore title Saturday when two weeks of competition came to a close at the National Junior Olympic Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. David Higgins was second and Lucas Kozeniesky third. Spencer Cap won the J2 Division title. Alec Patajo and Peter Fiori each equaled the J3 (ages 14 and younger) national record with scores of 1136. Patajo won the division title.
Kiley Boynton and Ryan Ward finished fifth in mixed pairs acrobatics at the world cup event Saturday in Aalen, Germany.