Five For Friday: Aug. 8, 2014

By Paul D. Bowker | Aug. 08, 2014, 2:22 a.m. (ET)

Bradley Snyder prepares to compete in the men's 400-meter freestyle S11 final of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Aquatics Centre on Sept. 7, 2012 in London.

The nation’s best swimmers are in California this week for top competitions, the Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine and the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Pasadena. Meanwhile, 2012 Olympian Tim Hornsby is among those at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Moscow.

As we ready for the weekend, here’s a look at five events to follow:

1) Swimming

A five-day meet that is stacked with Olympic medalists and 2016 Olympic hopefuls began in an impressive way Wednesday in Irvine, California.

The men’s 100-meter freestyle final at the Phillips 66 National Championships featured seven Olympic medalists, including 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, and the women’s 100 freestyle final featured five Olympic medalists. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian won the men’s 100 in 48.31 seconds and four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin held off Simone Manuel to win the women’s 100 with a time of 53.43 seconds, tying a meet record she set last year.

And that was just the start. Other Olympic medalists in the meet include Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky, Allison Schmitt, Natalie Coughlin and Jessica Hardy. Ledecky, the Olympic champion and world-record holder in the 800-meter freestyle dominated that event Wednesday night.

The nationals go through Sunday and will determine the U.S. teams for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships, 2015 FINA World Championships, 2015 World University Games and 2015 Pan American Games.

Phelps will compete Friday in the 100 fly, Saturday in the 100 backstroke and Sunday in the 200 IM.

“It is enjoyable for me to be back in the water and to be able to race at this level again,” said Phelps, who came out of retirement earlier this year.

“Michael being in any race is going to raise the bar, obviously,” Adrian said.

TV: 4 p.m.-6 p.m. ET Saturday and 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday, NBC

Webcast: usaswimming.org

2) Paralympic Swimming

California is also host to the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships this week and 2012 Paralympic Games gold medalist Ian Silverman began the meet Wednesday by winning the men’s 400-meter freestyle S10 race in world-record time. It was his third world record this year.

“It’s a huge accomplishment to break a world record,” said Silverman, who touched the wall at 4:03.57, breaking a record that had stood for nearly 13 years. “I really can’t even put it into words what it means to finally get that one. I’ve been close to it before, really close, and I am really happy to start my week with that world record. That’s the one I wanted.”

The previous record was 4:04.20 set in 2001 by Philippe Gagnon of Canada.

Other U.S. swimmers in the meet include 12-time Paralympic Games gold medalist Jessica Long, 2012 Paralympic gold medalist Brad Snyder, Michelle Konkoly, Elizabeth Smith, Hannah Aspden, Martha Ruether, Rebecca Meyers and Colleen Young. The meet runs through Sunday at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena, California.

3) Canoe/Kayak

Tim Hornsby, a 2012 Olympian, will race in the men’s 200-meter kayak event, and Maggie Hogan and Kaitlyn McElroy will compete in the women’s 500-meter K2 at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Moscow. The event is being held at the Krylatskoye Rowing Canal and Sports Complex, which was the canoe/kayak venue at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games.

Megan Blunk, a two-time silver medalist at worlds last year in paracanoe, finished fourth Wednesday in the K1 (TA) women’s 200-meter event. Other U.S. athletes in paracanoe include Kelly Allen, Robert Balk, Jamey Park, Nik Miller and Ryan Padilla.

4) Rowing

The United States is one of just three countries with crews in all 13 events at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Hamburg, Germany. Among those crews is the women’s four, which is attempting to win its fifth consecutive gold medal at the junior worlds. Members of this year’s crew are Marlee Blue, Claire Collins, Dana Moffat and Mia Croonquist. The women’s four began defense of its world title in strong fashion Thursday, clocking the fastest time of the morning en route to winning its heat and advancing to Saturday’s semifinals.

Benjamin Davison began the week by winning his heat in men’s single sculls to advance to the quarterfinals, and Elizabeth Sharis finished second in the women’s single sculls heats. Semifinals will be held in nine events Saturday, followed by the A finals in those events Sunday.

5) Basketball

The USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team, coached by three-time Olympian Dawn Staley, is seeking its seventh consecutive gold medal in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. The U.S. team will face Canada in its final game of the preliminary round Friday night in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The tournament, which began Wednesday, is being held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Jessica Shepard of Fremont (Nebraska) High School and Brianna Turner of Manvel High School in Pearland, Texas, each scored 16 points in Team USA’s 104-55 opening win Wednesday against Mexico. The top two teams in Groups A and B will advance to the semifinals Saturday, followed by the medal round Sunday. In 46 games since 1988, the United States has won 44 times.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org.

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