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7th heaven: Aussie McKeon leaves Tokyo with 7 swim medals

7th heaven: Aussie McKeon leaves Tokyo with 7 swim medals

Emma McKeon won two more gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, making the Australian the first woman to earn seven medals in swimming at a single gamesBy BETH HARRIS AP Sports WriterAugust 1, 2021, 7:23 AM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOYKO — Emma McKeon won two more gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, making the Australian the first woman to earn seven medals in swimming at a single games.She set an Olympic record to win the 50-meter freestyle in 23.81 seconds, completing the sprint double after her victory in the 100.Thirty minutes later, McKeon dived back in the pool to win again, this time as part of Australia’s 4×100 medley relay. They trailed the Americans after her butterfly leg, but anchor Cate Campbell sprinted past Abbey Weitzeil to clinch the victory with an Olympic-record time.“I feel like it has been a bit of a roller coaster getting a gold medal and trying to keep the emotions at bay,” McKeon said. “It will take a while to sink in because I’ve been focusing on myself to keep my cool.”McKeon leaves Tokyo with four golds and three bronze, tying the record for most medals won by a woman at a single games set by Soviet gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya in 1952 in Helsinki.“I’ve never really looked at the stats of medal counts,” she said. “It is an honor because I know I’ve worked so hard for it.”The 27-year-old from Brisbane comes from a swimming family. She and her brother, David, were the first brother-sister duo since 1960 to swim for Australia at the Olympics five years ago in Rio. That’s where McKeon won four medals — one gold, two silvers and a bronze. Her father, Ron, was a swimmer who runs a learn-to-swim center south of Sydney.McKeon watched the Olympics as a youngster.“I grew up wanting to do a similar same thing,” she said.McKeon’s efforts on the last day at the Tokyo pool mirrored that of American star Caeleb Dressel. They both won the 50 free and swam the butterfly leg on victorious relays.McKeon touched in 23.81 seconds in the 50 free. In the medley relay, the Aussies beat the two-time defending champion Americans.“I don’t know how she does it. I’m exhausted,” said Kyle Chalmers, one of the McKeon’s teammates. “To win one gold medal or an Olympic medal, it’s very, very special. We’re lucky to have her on the team.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

In Olympic first, men, women swim together in wild medley

In Olympic first, men, women swim together in wild medley

TOKYO — One swimmer’s goggles slipped off. Another worried about who was chasing her down. And strangest of all, the world’s dominant male swimmer dived in with no chance.The Olympic debut of the 4×100-meter mixed medley relay lived up to its promise of utter chaos and unpredictability.In the end, Britain emerged with a gold medal and a world record of 3 minutes, 37.58 seconds on Saturday. China claimed silver and Australia took bronze.The event features two men and two women from each team who can swim in any order.Swimming his third event of the day, Caeleb Dressel anchored the U.S. team as the only man to swim the freestyle leg. Most teams used women on that leg, because the difference in time between women and men is generally less on that stroke than the other three.The Americans decided not to use Abbey Weitzeil or Simone Manuel, who had competed in the 50 free semifinals right before the relay. If they had, a male swimmer could have taken, say, the breaststroke leg, where there’s a larger gap between the fastest men’s and women’s times — roughly 7 1/2 seconds for the gold medalists in Tokyo.Ryan Murphy led off for the Americans and had them tied for first with Italy after his backstroke leg.Lydia Jacoby dived in next for the breaststroke and her goggles immediately slipped down to her mouth.“I was definitely panicking,” she said. “My turn was where it was most rough because I couldn’t see the wall.”The 17-year-old from Alaska was wearing just a single cap. Most swimmers wear two caps to help hold their goggles in place.An impaired Jacoby valiantly battled through her two laps, but the U.S. fell to sixth. The Americans were in eighth when Huske turned it over to Dressel for the closing freestyle leg.He had far too much of a deficit to make up, only pulling the Americans up to fifth at the finish.“We didn’t execute well. Fifth-place is unacceptable for USA Swimming, and we’re very aware of that. Our standard is gold,” Dressel said, adding, “I think everyone swam as well as they could have in the moment.”The other countries either went with two men on the first two legs and two women on the last two or women on the opening and closing legs with two men swimming the middle legs.The British team boasted 100 breaststroke champion Adam Peaty, who moved them from sixth to fourth. Anna Hopkin swam the anchor leg, knowing that Dressel was lurking in the choppy water.“He’s so fast, it is a bit intimidating,” she said.No need to worry, though.Dressel was over 8 seconds off the lead when he took over.“The guys ahead of me got me such a good lead,” Hopkin said. “He wasn’t catching me.”The U.S. finish doomed Dressel’s chance to win six golds in Tokyo. He earlier led off the winning 4×100 free relay, and won the 100 free and 100 butterfly. He goes for two more golds in the 50 free and 4×100 medley relay on Sunday, the final day of swimming.For the second time in the Olympics, the U.S. failed to earn a medal in a relay that it entered, after a fourth-place finish in the men’s 4×200 free relay in Tokyo.“Next year at worlds, we’ll give it another go and put the pieces together again,” Dressel said.Dressel said he hadn’t offered any advice to his teenage teammates, pointing out that Jacoby won the 100 breaststroke and Torri Huske, an 18-year-old from Virginia, was fourth in the 100 butterfly.“Lydia won a gold medal before I did,” Dressel said. “She probably should have been telling me what to do.”Regardless of the outcome, the mixed relay’s addition to the Olympics brought rave reviews.“It’s a fun event and that’s what sport needs,” Peaty said. “It needs to be fun.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Trying Olympic year ends in disappointment for Simone Manuel

Trying Olympic year ends in disappointment for Simone Manuel

A most trying Olympic year for Simone Manuel came to a disappointing endBy BETH HARRIS AP Sports WriterJuly 31, 2021, 9:06 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — A most trying Olympic year for Simone Manuel came to a disappointing end.The American sprinter failed to advance to the 50-meter freestyle final in Tokyo. She finished tied for 11th in the semifinals on Saturday. The top eight made Sunday’s final.“It’s hard to work so hard for something and not see the results pay off,” she said. “The swim I had was my best today, but it’s not representative of my potential.”The chaotic single-lap race was Manuel’s only individual event in Tokyo, where she was a co-captain of the U.S. women’s team. She didn’t qualify at the Olympic trials in the 100 free and wasn’t able to defend her historic title won five years ago at the Rio de Janeiro Games.Manuel became the first Black woman to win an individual gold in swimming in 2016. She also claimed silver in the 50 free, one of her four medals from Rio.She revealed at the trials that she had been diagnosed with burnout earlier this year, forcing her to stop training for a time after the coronavirus pandemic had already disrupted her Olympic preparations. She rallied at trials to qualify for the 50 free.“I’m really proud of myself,” she said, with teammates Natalie Hinds, Lilly King and Allison Schmitt standing behind her. “I finished what I started.”Tears welled in Manuel’s eyes and her voice choked with emotion behind her mask.“It maybe didn’t end the way I wanted it to, but I have so much to be proud of,” she said. “I have so many people that love me, whether I accomplish something or I don’t. I’m really grateful to be here.”Manuel isn’t leaving Tokyo empty-handed. She swam the anchor leg on the bronze medal-winning 4×100 free relay to earn her sixth career Olympic prize.With the Paris Games just three years away, the 24-year-old from Texas plans to keep swimming.“My body and my mind needs a break but I still love this sport,” she said.Outside of the pool, Manuel has focused on trying to help the predominantly white sport become more racially inclusive. She’s been outspoken about social justice and teamed with a corporate partner to distribute laptops in Oakland, California.Her biggest accomplishment may have simply been making the U.S. team.“A victory is not giving up. I had the courage to go out there and try and possibly fail,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself. What I do know is that I’m a fighter.”———More AP Olympic coverage: https://www.apnews.com/OlympicGames and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Olympic first: Men, women to swim together in the same race

Olympic first: Men, women to swim together in the same race

TOKYO — One swimmer’s goggles slipped off. Another worried about who was chasing her down. And strangest of all, the world’s dominant male swimmer dived in with no chance.The Olympic debut of the 4×100-meter mixed medley relay lived up to its promise of utter chaos and unpredictability.In the end, Britain emerged with a gold medal and a world record of 3 minutes, 37.58 seconds on Saturday. China claimed silver and Australia took bronze.The event features two men and two women from each team who can swim in any order.Swimming his third event of the day, Caeleb Dressel anchored the U.S. team as the only man to swim the freestyle leg. Most teams used women on that leg, because the difference in time between women and men is generally less on that stroke than the other three.The Americans decided not to use Abbey Weitzeil or Simone Manuel, who had competed in the 50 free semifinals right before the relay. If they had, a male swimmer could have taken, say, the breaststroke leg, where there’s a larger gap between the fastest men’s and women’s times — roughly 7 1/2 seconds for the gold medalists in Tokyo.Ryan Murphy led off for the Americans and had them tied for first with Italy after his backstroke leg.Lydia Jacoby dived in next for the breaststroke and her goggles immediately slipped down to her mouth.“I was definitely panicking,” she said. “My turn was where it was most rough because I couldn’t see the wall.”The 17-year-old from Alaska was wearing just a single cap. Most swimmers wear two caps to help hold their goggles in place.An impaired Jacoby valiantly battled through her two laps, but the U.S. fell to sixth. The Americans were in eighth when Huske turned it over to Dressel for the closing freestyle leg.He had far too much of a deficit to make up, only pulling the Americans up to fifth at the finish.“We didn’t execute well. Fifth-place is unacceptable for USA Swimming, and we’re very aware of that. Our standard is gold,” Dressel said, adding, “I think everyone swam as well as they could have in the moment.”The other countries either went with two men on the first two legs and two women on the last two or women on the opening and closing legs with two men swimming the middle legs.The British team boasted 100 breaststroke champion Adam Peaty, who moved them from sixth to fourth. Anna Hopkin swam the anchor leg, knowing that Dressel was lurking in the choppy water.“He’s so fast, it is a bit intimidating,” she said.No need to worry, though.Dressel was over 8 seconds off the lead when he took over.“The guys ahead of me got me such a good lead,” Hopkin said. “He wasn’t catching me.”The U.S. finish doomed Dressel’s chance to win six golds in Tokyo. He earlier led off the winning 4×100 free relay, and won the 100 free and 100 butterfly. He goes for two more golds in the 50 free and 4×100 medley relay on Sunday, the final day of swimming.For the second time in the Olympics, the U.S. failed to earn a medal in a relay that it entered, after a fourth-place finish in the men’s 4×200 free relay in Tokyo.“Next year at worlds, we’ll give it another go and put the pieces together again,” Dressel said.Dressel said he hadn’t offered any advice to his teenage teammates, pointing out that Jacoby won the 100 breaststroke and Torri Huske, an 18-year-old from Virginia, was fourth in the 100 butterfly.“Lydia won a gold medal before I did,” Dressel said. “She probably should have been telling me what to do.”Regardless of the outcome, the mixed relay’s addition to the Olympics brought rave reviews.“It’s a fun event and that’s what sport needs,” Peaty said. “It needs to be fun.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

US swimmer Andrew goes maskless behind scenes at Olympics

US swimmer Andrew goes maskless behind scenes at Olympics

Michael Andrew didn’t wear a mask behind the scenes at the Tokyo OlympicsBy BETH HARRIS AP Sports WriterJuly 30, 2021, 9:57 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — Michael Andrew, who made waves for saying he wasn’t vaccinated against COVID-19, didn’t wear a mask behind the scenes after swimming his final at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.The 22-year-old American was maskless when he stopped to speak with reporters in the mixed zone, an area where journalists interview athletes after events.Most swimmers wear face coverings outside of the pool, while media and workers are required to don face coverings at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. But the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said Andrew didn’t violate COVID-19 protocol, because athletes are allowed to remove masks during interviews in the mixed zone, even though most keep their masks on.Asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask, Andrew said, “For me, it’s pretty hard to breathe in after kind of sacrificing my body in the water, so I feel like my health is a little more tied to being able to breathe than protecting what’s coming out of my mouth.”Andrew finished fifth in the 200-meter individual medley. He was to return Friday night to swim in the 50 free preliminaries.“I think it’s great that there’s procedures but at the end of the day, all of us here have been under quarantine and in the same testing protocol, so there’s a level of safety that’s comfortable when we’re racing,” he said.The Tokyo organizing committee’s policy states that following a competition all athletes must wear masks, but that masks can be removed during media interviews in the mixed zone.The USOPC said after talking to Andrew and reviewing the Games Playbook, they determined he wasn’t violating the policy.“Michael has been reminded of the Games policy and established COVID mitigation protocols, and has acknowledged the importance of following all guidelines intended to keep athletes and the community safe,” the USOOC said in a statement.While there’s been a raging debate in the U.S. about wearing masks, nearly everyone on the streets of Tokyo wears face coverings. Coronavirus infection cases have reached daily records in Tokyo, and the Japanese government has declared the capital and several other regions under a state of emergency during the games.Andrew was already under scrutiny for his decision not to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.“My reason behind it is, for one, it was kind of a last moment, I didn’t want to put anything in my body that I didn’t know how I would potentially react to,” Andrew said during a pre-Olympic training camp in Hawaii this month.“As an athlete on the elite level, everything we do is very calculated and understood. For me, in the training cycle, especially leading up to trials, I didn’t want to risk any days out. There were periods where you take a vaccine, you have to deal with some days off.”Andrew has said he has no plans to be vaccinated in the future.———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Haughey wins 2nd Olympic swimming medal for Hong Kong

Haughey wins 2nd Olympic swimming medal for Hong Kong

Siobhán Haughey of Hong Kong earned a silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics, giving the swimmer her second medalBy BETH HARRIS AP Sports WriterJuly 30, 2021, 8:09 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — Siobhán Haughey had already made history at the Tokyo Olympics. Then she went out and burnished her legacy in the pool.The 23-year-old swimmer from Hong Kong earned a silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle on Friday, to go with the silver she won in the 200 free two days earlier. They are the first swimming medals won by Hong Kong.“This is crazy and surreal,” Haughey said. “The 200 free is always my main event, so the 100 is more like a bonus for me. My goal is just to go in and have fun and swim a best time and I did that.”Her time of 52.27 seconds in the 100 free was topped only by Emma McKeon of Australia, who set an Olympic record of 51.96 to win.“I didn’t have a lot of experience going into this race,” Haughey said. “I went another best time. It’s so surreal.”Hundreds of people crowded a shopping mall in Hong Kong on Friday to watch Haughey. Her two silvers are among six medals won by the country since it first competed in the Summer Games in 1952.“I’m just here having a good time,” she said, “and if that also means having great results it is so much fun.”In the 200 free, Haughey finished second to Ariarne Titmus of Australia, the 400 free champion in Tokyo.“That was a hell of a tough one,” Titmus said. “I knew Siobhan really wanted this, so I knew it would be tough to beat her.”Five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, Haughey finished 13th in the 200 free. She has won multiple medals at the Asian Games, East Asian Games, and Summer Youth Olympics.“I feel like I was always so close,” she said, “so now finally being able to medal means so much.”Born four months after Britain handed the sovereignty of Hong Kong back to China in 1997, she was raised there until leaving for the U.S. to attend the University of Michigan. She graduated in 2019 with a psychology degree and was a 15-time Big Ten Conference champion.Haughey paired blue Michigan shorts with her cream Hong Kong team jacket to attend the medalists’ news conference. She answered several questions in Cantonese, one of three languages she speaks fluently, along with Mandarin and English.Her father, Darach, is Irish and her mother, Canjo, is from Hong Kong. Her late great uncle was Charles Haughey, a three-term Irish prime minister.Haughey continued training at Michigan until the coronavirus pandemic began last year, when she returned to Hong Kong. Her U.S.-based coach emailed her training sets daily.Her second Olympics is teaching Haughey such high-level intricacies as how to recover between races, manage stress, and reset her emotions between events.“It definitely gives me even more confidence moving forward knowing that I can compete with the best in the world,” she said. “There’s a lot to learn from this experience.”———More AP Olympic coverage: https://www.apnews.com/OlympicGames and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Hungary's László Cseh closes Olympic career without gold

Hungary's László Cseh closes Olympic career without gold

László Cseh outlasted longtime rivals Michael Phelps and Ryan LochteBy BETH HARRIS AP Sports WriterJuly 30, 2021, 7:58 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — László Cseh outlasted longtime rivals Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Now, the six-time Olympic medalist is bidding farewell himself.The 35-year-old Hungarian great retired Friday as one of the world’s best swimmers to never win gold in five Olympics.He came close, though.The peak of Cseh’s career coincided with Phelps’ dominance. At the 2008 Beijing Games, Cseh lost three times to Phelps, who set world records in winning the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 butterfly on his way to a historic eight golds.“It was very fun to race against him and he inspired me to be better,” Cseh said.Five years ago in Rio, Cseh was denied again. Fittingly, he tied Phelps and South Africa’s Chad le Clos for silver in the 100 fly behind Joseph Schooling of Singapore. It was Phelps’ final race, ending a career in which he won 28 medals, including 23 gold.Lochte failed to make the U.S. team for Tokyo in what would have been the 36-year-old’s fifth Olympics, leaving the Hungarian as the last man standing in their longtime rivalry.Cseh swam for the last time in the 200 IM final, 17 years after his Olympic debut in Athens. Fans in Hungary watching at 4 a.m. local time saw him finish seventh in 1 minute, 57.68 seconds — 2.68 seconds behind winner Wang Shun of China.“I’m sorry for the time, that it wasn’t better,” he said. “I tried to give my best.”Cseh had expected to end his career last year in Tokyo, but the coronavirus pandemic postponed the Olympics for a year. It was a difficult year in another way, too. His father, László Sr., died last August at age 68. The elder Cseh was a two-time Olympic swimmer.The younger Cseh’s wife, Diana, encouraged him to keep training.“If I stay home and watch some TV, I would really think, ‘Oh, I could have done this,’ and maybe that would be an everlasting anxiousness for me or regret,” he said. “This was the best way to close down because now I’m calm in my mind.”Cseh earned a spot in lane eight on the far outside of the pool after qualifying with the slowest time.“I didn’t expect him to be here,” said American Michael Andrew, who was fifth. “It’s an honor to race with him.”In the final, Cseh was second halfway through, buoyed by his strong butterfly leg, but dropped to seventh over the breaststroke and freestyle legs.“I try to enjoy the races and not just wanting to be the best,” he said before the race. “Now is the perfect time to close my career, take a rest, and spend a lot of time with my wife.”Cseh won numerous world and European championships, and he’s at peace with the four silvers and two bronze medals he won at his first four Olympics.“I know swimming and nothing else,” he said, “but now I realize there is another life.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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