[VIDEO] Cliff Divers Train at Famed Arch of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico

Photo Courtesy: Mauricio Ramos/Red Bull Content Pool

A summit of a particular nature took place where the Gulf of California meets the Pacific Ocean: cliff divers Jonathan Paredes of Mexico and America’s David Colturi dived at the famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas. With their aesthetic dives from up to 24m into the ocean, the athletes joined forces and flexed their muscles towards the 6-time champion Gary Hunt from England prior to the most unpredictable season in Red Bull Cliff Diving history. Ever since they qualified for the World Series in 2012, they’ve been battling side by side and are aiming for the 2017 overall title under the most contrasting pre-conditions: one as 2016’s runner-up and the other returning from a gnarly injury.

In awe of the beauty of the natural rock formation also known as ‘lands end’, the 27-year-old ‘style master’ pulled off a series of immaculate dives and proved to be ready to better his personal best from the previous season. “It’s my first time here in Cabo San Lucas. This place is amazing for cliff diving,” says the runner-up from 2016, “I’m super happy to be back in Mexico.”

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Born and bred in Mexico City, Paredes lives and trains mainly in his wife’s hometown Madrid, Spain, but returns to his roots on a regular basis to recharge and make use of the country’s natural cliffs like the ones in Cabo San Lucas. With the 2017 World Series only 5 weeks away, the preparation for dives from up to 27m and impacts of 85km/h is mostly about fine-tuning what has been worked on during the off-season. “I tried a new dive a couple of weeks ago, which I’ve been working on from 10m all winter and I’m going to give my best this year for sure,” explains the diving perfectionist, ”my expectations are bigger than last year. I want to fight for the title again, against Gary. I’m ready for the season.”

L.A. based Colturi on the other hand, spent most of his winter with rehab training after he had to withdraw from the World Series and undergo shoulder surgery last October. His comeback is planned right down to the last detail and does not leave room for doubts – the 28-year-old twist master is committed to step it up again. “I really focused and changed my game plan. I was working smarter and harder in a lot of situations, trying to dial back the numbers but dial up the intensity and the focus on the mental aspects of it,” states the 8-time podium finisher, “I feel like this is going to be my biggest and best season and I need it coming off of a not so great 2016.”

For both athletes the cliff dives into crystal clear water from the graceful limestone arch emerging from a white sandy beach, a popular hangout for sea lions, served as a confidence booster. Colturi explains: “It’s huge to get some experience cliff diving before the competitions actually start. Any chance you get to be up above the normal training heights of 10 and 12m is invaluable experience. To put yourself up that high and take the impacts from that height and trying to fly and control through the air is something that really gets you ready for the first competitions of the year.”

From Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of the Baja California, the athletes travel to Inis Mór off Ireland’s west coast. The mysterious blowhole of Serpent’s Lair hosts the first of six competitions to define the new champions in the men’s and the women’s. This is where Paredes and Colturi will start chasing down the record winner Hunt.

Watch the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series preview:

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series

Since 2009, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has provided a platform for exhilarating action and dives of ever-growing complexity. The series features elite athletes as well as young up-and-coming talent and a Women’s World Series was introduced in 2014. In 2017 the sport’s best athletes will once again leap, twist and somersault from breathtaking heights with no protection, except their concentration, skill and physical control during six competitions around the world.

Press release courtesy of Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series

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Turker Ayar Scores FINA A Cut At Islamic Solidarity Games

Photo Courtesy: Randam

BAKU, Azerbaijan — Texas A&M senior swimmer Turker Ayar earned a pair of gold medals and tallied a coveted FINA “A” qualifying time at the recent Islamic Solidarity Games at the Baku Aquatics Center.

Ayar, who was representing his home country of Turkey at the meet, was victorious in the 100-meter butterfly and with Turkey’s 400-meter medley relay. He won the 100 fly by more than a quarter of a second with a time of 52.75. In the semifinals, Ayar won his heat with a lifetime best time of 52.20, which was a Turkish national record and a FINA “A” cut, and it will likely earn him a spot at the FINA World Championships, which will be contested July 14-30 in Budapest, Hungary.

Ayar helped lead Turkey to a victory in the 400 medley relay with a butterfly split time of 53.10, which was the fastest of the day. Turkey won the 400 medley relay in 3:40.70, which was nearly three seconds faster than the runner-up foursome.

Press release courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics. 

You can find the full results of the swimming events from the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games here.

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IOC Evaluation Commission Praises Paris 2024 Committee for Authenticity, Creativity

We have just about four months to go until the announcement of the site of the 2024 Summer Olympics, and possibly the 2028 Summer Olympics as well. The International Olympic Committee recently visited Paris, one of the two finalists for the 2024 Games along with Los Angeles, and they liked what the city had to offer.

IOC evaluation commission chairman Patrick Baumann praised Paris’ vision for hosting the 2024 Games, but did not elaborate any further.

Paris 2024 Olympics candidate

Photo Courtesy: Benh

The IOC has four vice presidents looking at the possibility of awarding the next two Olympics to Paris and Los Angeles in September of this year in an unprecedented “win-win” scenario. Paris, however, has indicated it is only interested in hosting the 2024 Games, and holds no interest in hosting beyond that–as of right now. After three cities pulled out of the potential bid, Paris and Los Angeles remain the last two cities in line for the Games.

“I’m not even thinking that we won’t get 2024,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told The Associated Press when asked about the future of the bid if Paris loses.

Paris has a history with the Olympics. The city hosted the summer Games in 1900 and 1924, and presented bids for the 1992, 2008 and 2012 Games. The IOC was also founded in Paris in 1894 by French Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

The IOC also liked Paris’ vision of having road cycling races finish at the Arc de Triomphe, taekwondo and fencing competition inside the Grand Palais, equestrian next to the Versailles Castle, and beach volleyball at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

“The Paris bid can put sport in the middle of that history,” Baumann said at a news conference. “And there is also the Olympic history, with the baron Pierre de Coubertin, this is where modern Olympics were born. There is a very strong link between Paris’ history, the Olympics history and their will to host the games again after those of 1924.”

A decision regarding the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics is expected to be made September 13 in Lima, Peru.

“We have two candidatures that do not present major risks,” Baumann said. “Both cities have an Olympic tradition, venues ready to use and dedicated teams. They have a totally different historic and cultural background. The two cities have a different vision and IOC members will have to decide between the two.”

You can read a full report from Daily Mail here.

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Conor McGregor signs to fight Floyd Mayweather

18/05/2017 13:34

UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor says he has signed a deal to fight former boxing pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather.

The Irish mixed martial artist has agreed a deal with UFC president Dana White to meet the American in a boxing match and now says, it’s up to Mayweather to make the megafight happen.

“The first, and most important part of this historic contract has now officially been signed off on,” McGregor said in a statement to Themaclife.com.

“Congratulations to all parties involved. We now await (Mayweather’s adviser) Al Haymon and his boxer’s signature in the coming days.”

McGregor did not specify on the terms of the deal.

“The McGregor side is done,” said White. “I’m starting to work on the Mayweather side now.

“I’m not saying the fight will happen, but I’ve got one side done, now it’s time to work on the other. If we can come to a deal with Haymon and Mayweather, the fight’s gonna happen.”

Mayweather retired from boxing in September 2015 after equalling Rocky Marciano’s unbeaten record of 49-0.

“There’s only one fight that makes business sense,” Mayweather said on Wednesday. “I came out of retirement because I’m a businessman and I want to give the world what they want to see.

“McGregor’s a fighter. I’m a fighter. This is what the fight fans and MMA fans want to see.”

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Swim Drill Of The Week: Breaststroke Tempo Progression

Welcome to the “Swim Drill of the Week”. Swimming World will be bringing you a drill, concept, or tip that you can implement with your team on a regular basis. While certain weeks may be more appropriate for specific levels of swimming (club, high school, college, or masters), Drill Of The Week excerpts are meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

This week’s drill is a progression to work on developing a high tempo breaststroke with minimal resistance on the recovery of the pull. This progression does use fins for some of the drills involved. Take a look at the progression below and the explanation that follows:

3-4 Rounds:

50 body dolphin breaststroke w/ fins

50 breaststroke with flutter kick w/ fins

*hop out of pool, 8-10 x med ball throws against wall while sitting

25 fast breaststroke

The whole idea behind this drill progression is to push through the middle of the stroke to get a fast, efficient pull. The focus of the first two 50’s is to drive the turnover, trying to use the fins and a high tempo pull to go as fast as possible. The breaststroke pull with body dolphin is to remind your athletes to drive forward at the end of each stroke, while the breaststroke pull with flutter kick is meant to get their tempo up as they are working their legs.

The purpose of the fins on the drill work is twofold: the fins will obviously help your swimmers go faster and get their tempo up, but they will also help your swimmers spot any areas of resistance in their pull. Since the fins will help them get up to a faster than normal speed, any pause in their stroke will be exaggerated and able to be corrected.

After the first two 50’s, swimmers will hop out and do 8-10 med ball throws on land. These should be done sitting down facing a wall, and with each throw your swimmers should be driving their chests forward, almost parallel to the ground. Again, this is an exaggeration of the forward drive they want at the end of each stroke. Finish with a 25 of full stroke breaststroke with no equipment to see how the drill work translates into a high tempo, efficient stroke. Happy swimming!

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

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‘He’s a superstar of the future’: Is Fernando Gaviria’s Grand Tour debut one of the greatest ever?

The Colombian has three stage wins already in his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia, the best since at a Grand Tour since Peter Sagan

Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), after his Giro d’Italia stage win on stage 12 in Reggio Emilia, is riding the most impressive Grand Tour debut for a sprinter since Peter Sagan in 2011.

The 22-year-old Colombian won three stages so far in the Giro. Such an explosive debut has not been seen in six years, when Sagan – now a double world champion and riding for Bora-Hansgrohe – won three stages in the 2011 Vuelta a España.

>>> Fernando Gaviria continues dream Grand Tour debut with third win at Giro d’Italia on stage 12

“No, I couldn’t imagine such a debut,” Gaviria said. “It would be a lie if I said otherwise. In this first Grand Tour, one can imagine, OK, one stage, maybe one stage by luck, but three wins is something important.”

Gaviria won his first stage before the Giro left Sardinia. He took another in Sicily. On Thursday, he won in Emilia Romagna.

“The first time when he sprinted, he sprinted with a bunch of sprinters, and the team rode a fantastic race and did a great job,” said Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), third on stage 12.

“The next day, I hit the wind early and he came off the wheel at the right time and then today, they are doing a great job again.

Fernando Gaviria celebrates his third victory at the Giro d’Italia 2017 (Sunada)

“He’s shown experience beyond his years again. He’s so young. He’s only going to get stronger as well. He’s a superstar of the future.”

One of the best Grand Tour sprinters, if not the best, Mark Cavendish made a quiet debut in the 2007 Tour de France before pulling back the throttle on his rivals and riding clear in the following years.

Marcel Kittel, André Greipel or John Degenkolb were unable to enjoy the success that Gaviria has in the Giro. Mario Cipollini and Alessandro Petacchi could not either.

Thinking back to big debuts, Belgian Freddy Maertens comes to mind. He won eight times in the 1976 Tour.

“This is Fernando’s first Grand Tour? Geez! Yeah, I’m impressed,” Bora-Hansgrohe sports director Jens Zemke said.

“Everyone knows that he’s one of the fastest and it’s always the new generation that brings such a star.

“It also shows that if you can win one stage in a grand tour then you can win two, three or four. He is now the man to beat. He’s 22, but Caleb Ewan is similar.”

Fernando Gaviria sprints ahead of the field on stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia (Sunada)

Ewan, at 21-years-old, rode the 2015 Vuelta a España. That year, in the only big kick he contested, he won. But even Ewan was unable to pull off three victories.

“They are the future of sprinting,” Orica-Scott sports director Matt White said of his rider Ewan and Gaviria. “A couple of others are in their twilight years, and I dare say we are going to see a big battle between those two over the next decade.”

“[The older riders] had their time, everyone does, but it’s a very competitive sprint world at the moment and Caleb and Gaviria are certainly the up and comers in the sprinting world.

“Gaviria is a canny bike rider, you don’t win omnium championships unless you know how to handle your bike.”


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Michael Hoey tied for lead at Rocco Forte Open first round

Michael Hoey

Michael Hoey is tied for the lead at the Rocco Forte Open in Verdura after posting a stunning first round of 10-under-par 61 in Sicily on Thursday.

The Northern Irishman, 38, carded 10 birdies, eight in his first 11 holes, to join Swede Sebastian Soderberg at the top of the leaderboard.

The pair lie one shot ahead of Zander Lombard of South Africa.

Hoey missed an eagle putt at the ninth and a birdie attempt at the 10th as he attempted to post a first sub-60 round.

Despite passing up those opportunities, his round of 61 was still the lowest of his career.

“I left it in the jaws, both putts, but I was nervous,” admitted Hoey, who has won five times on the European Tour but lost his card last year.

“It was hard to hit them past the hole but it’s nice to be nervous because I haven’t been nervous on a golf course for quite a while and it’s exciting to have such a good score.

“My best ever score by two shots, no bogeys, it doesn’t get much better.

“We’ve had two kids (since 2013) and it’s been tiring. I had to have sinus surgery done a couple of years ago. I haven’t been as healthy as I wanted to be, so hopefully now I can get going.”

Playing in just his 15th European Tour event after gaining his card via the qualifying school last year, Soderberg was also eight under par after 11 holes and admitted breaking the magical 60 barrier was very much on his mind.

“That’s all I thought about walking down the par-five 12th, it kind of helped keep me going,” Soderberg said.

“I didn’t feel like it stopped me, I definitely had a couple of putts the last seven holes that could have gone in, but overall it was a great round.”

Alvaro Quiros, Sebastian Heisele and Jbe Kruger all lie joint third on eight under.

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Five talking points from stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia

It was a day for the sprinters into Reggio Emilia

Dominant Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria wins stage 12 of the 2017 Giro d’Italia (Credit: Sunada)

Another sprint stage another win for Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), who took his third win of the race in what is turning into a dream debut Grand Tour.

This was probably the most comfortable of Gaviria’s three wins, as he was given a textbook lead-out by Maximiliano Richeze and didn’t give a chance to Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina), who was unable to come off his wheel, or Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), who wasn’t able to finish off a big effort by his team.

The win also extended Gaviria already comfortable lead at the top of the points classification, and with most of the other sprinters likely to head for the airport after tomorrow’s flat stage, the maglia ciclamino looks like Gaviria’s to keep so long as he can make it through the Alps.

Bennett misses out again

Fernando Gaviria out-sprints Jakub Mareczko on stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia (Credit: Sunada)

Stage 12 looked all set for Sam Bennett to take his first Grand Tour stage win after having finished in third place on three occasions so far in this Giro.

With six kilometres to go, Bora-Hansgrohe couldn’t have hoped to be in a better position, with seven of their eight remaining riders lined out at the front of the peloton with Bennett placed perfectly at the rear.

>>> Sam Bennett explains how hours spent on YouTube have improved his sprinting technique

Matching turquoise helmets and shoes lined up in perfect formation, the German team were unruffled by Eugert Zhupa’s with a couple of kilometres to go, and held off challenges by Lotto-Soudal and Orica-Scott to knock them off the head of the peloton.

Rounding the final bend and Rüdiger Selig had Bennett locked on his wheel, poised to jump for the line, but they didn’t count on the superb effort of Richeze who swung over to the left of the road, pulling Gaviria clear and leaving Bennett with far too much to do.

Italian nightmare continues

The peloton on stage 12 of the 2017 Giro d’Italia (Credit: Sunada)

The 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia was meant to be a celebration of Italian cycling, but instead it’s turning into a something of a nightmare for the home riders.

With Marezko finishing second behind Gaviria today, this is now the longest that the Italians have ever had to wait for a stage win in their home Grand Tour.

>>> Why are the Italian riders faring so badly at the Giro d’Italia?

The Italian press have seen this as symptomatic of the current poor state of Italian cycling, with 43 Italian riders starting this year’s race (a record low) and no Italian team at WorldTour level.

With nine stages remaining there are still plenty of opportunities for the Italians to pick up a win, but barring an overall victory for Vincenzo Nibali, the 2017 Giro d’Italia looks set to go down as the worst in the history of Italian cycling.

Breakaway madness

The breakaway on stage 12 of the 2017 Giro d’Italia (Credit: Sunada)

Largely flat, 229km in length, and inevitably destined to finish in a bunch sprint, today was a day where you had to spare a though for the poor riders told to get into the break in the pre-stage team meeting.

The three riders to draw the short straws were Sergey Firsanov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates) and Mirco Maestri (Bardiani CSF), who endured what must have been a tedious five hours out front, never enjoying a lead of more than 6-45.

Of course there are genuine reasons for riders to get in the break on days like this, with the team sponsors enjoy four hours of TV coverage which they wouldn’t get if all the riders were ensconced in the peloton.

There are also minor classifications for the riders to fight for such as the breakaway classification, which tots up the number of kilometres that riders spend in the breakaway over the course of the race, which would explain Maestri’s forlorn fight to stay out in front for every last metre.

Mountains classification begins to hot up

Omar Fraile on his way to winning the mountains classification at the 2016 Vuelta a España (Credit: Sunada)

After simmering under the surface for the last week, the mountains classification is poised nicely heading into the Alps at the end of the week.

Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) has held the blue jersey since winning stage four’s summit finish to Mount Etna, but has now been overtaken by Omar Fraile (Dimension Data).

The Spaniard took plenty of points on his way to the stage win on Wednesday to draw level, then sprang out of the peloton ahead of Polanc to take four points on the second category climb at the start of the stage to move into blue.

That result puts Fraile on 48 points and Polanc on 46 points, while Nairo Quintana comes next with 35 points, all of which were picked up by winning on the Blockhaus.

Both Fraile and Polanc look set on competing for the jersey to Milan, but with a whopping 439 points still up for grabs in a mountainous final week there will be plenty of other riders thinking of blue.


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Taylor Ruck to Spend Summer Training in Toronto with Penny Oleksiak

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Canadian Olympic medalist Taylor Ruck will train in her home country for an extended period for the first time this summer as she joins fellow teenage sprint star Penny Oleksiak, coach Ben Titley and the group at the Toronto High Performance Centre.

Kevin Zacher, Ruck’s coach at the Scottsdale Aquatic Club in Arizona, confirmed the news to Swimming World. In addition to their time in Toronto, the group will spend time training and competing in Europe, including participating in stops on the Mare Nostrum circuit, before returning to Toronto.

Ruck did not make Canada’s World Championships team, so she will return to Arizona for her final preparations for the World Junior Championships in late August in Indianapolis.

“We’re fully supportive of it,” Zacher said. “It’s a great opportunity. She’s always wanted to travel the world, and we’re really proud of her.”

Ruck helped Canada win its first Olympic medal in women’s swimming in two decades when she joined Oleksiak on the bronze medal-winning 400 free relay squad in Rio. The two were later part of the 800 free relay team which also won a bronze.

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Seven Sisters College Women Prepare for Catalina Channel Double Crossing

Photo Courtesy: Instagram @catpruden48

Six female athletes are coming together to swim 40 miles this summer: across the Catalina Channel in both directions, as a statement of teamwork and empowerment for women everywhere.

The two-way Catalina Channel open-water swim will be completed by a group of six women representing the iconic Seven Sister Colleges association. The Seven Sisters is a loose association of seven liberal arts colleges in the Northeastern United States that are historically women’s colleges. They are Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Barnard College, Smith College, Vassar College, and Wellesley College.

The swim is scheduled to begin in the evening of Friday, June 16th from the Palos Verdes Peninsula; the total distance to be swum is approximately 40 miles. The women swimming across the channel are all either current students or alumnae of the Seven Sisters Schools.

Team member Abby Bergman exclaimed, “I am really excited to use this event to showcase how women can come together to do something we love and accomplish an extreme goal.”

Read the full Mission Statement for the Swim:

As Seven Sister College students and graduates, we all believe in the power of women supporting women to achieve greatness. The six of us on this relay represent women of different ages, interests and geographical location, bound by a fierce love for challenge and passion for excellence that we developed at our respective colleges. We are embarking on this relay to be an example of empowerment; the empowerment found when women take on an incredible challenge as a team and work together, and empowerment via paying it forward and being a role model for those who want to dream big and fulfill their own goals.

The team is comprised of Abigail Bergman (Smith ’18), Rebecca Nevitt (Wellesley ‘88), Charlotte Samuels (Smith ‘20), Eliza Cummings (Smith ’17), Gabriela Kovacikova (Wellesley ’14) and Cathleen Pruden (Mount Holyoke ’16). Each woman in the relay will swim one-hour shifts starting first from the California mainland to Catalina Island, then after touching shore, turning around and swimming all the way back.

Each of these women have competed at the college level, at times swimming against one another in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), as well pursuing individual open-water and pool accomplishments. In 2016, Bergman swam the Catalina Channel; Cummings completed a Plymouth to Provincetown Crossing. Samuels is the youngest swimmer to have completed the Triple Crown of swimming (English Channel, Catalina Channel and circumnavigation of Manhattan Island). Nevitt has swum both Manhattan Island and the Catalina Channel. Pruden came 3rd place in the NCAA Division III Championship 400 IM in 2016. Kovacikova swam the English Channel in 2013.

The women’s upcoming Channel Swim will be followable by live tracker on the following website www.track.rs/7sisters The women are available for interviews prior to race departure on June 16th.

Press release courtesy of Abby Bergman

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