Sun Yang Completes Freestyle Sweep at Chinese National Champs

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher- USA TODAY Sports

After capturing Chinese national titles in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 free over the course of the week, Sun Yang won his fifth on the final day when he took the men’s 1500 free to close out the meet in Quindao.

Sun won the mile in 15:04.10, improving to tenth in the world. He was the World Champion in the event in 2011 and 2013 and set a world record on his way to Olympic gold in 2012, but he did not show up for the 2015 World Championship final and finished outside the top eight at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Ji Xinjie took second behind Sun in 15:07.79, just edging out Qiu Ziao (15:07.81).

Xu Jiayu also completed a sweep, winning his third men’s backstroke national title in four tries. His finals time of 24.48 was just a touch slower than his semifinal time of 24.42, which ranks first in the world this year. Li Guangyang finished more than a second back, but his time of 25.50 was good enough for second, and Zhou Yibing was third (25.74).

After setting a national record in winning the 200 IM days earlier, Wang Shun finished again atop the field in the men’s 400 IM, stopping the clock in 4:12.65 to claim the No. 6 spot in the world rankings. Wang Zhao finished four seconds back in second place, touching in 4:16.75, and Wang Yizhe grabbed third in 4:18.39.

Zhou Min captured the title in the women’s 400 IM in 4:37.65, good for eighth in the world this year. She was followed by Wang Xinya (4:43.42) and Xu Danlu (4:43.55).

Liu Zhang broke into the world top ten when she won the women’s 50 free in 24.81. Zhu Menghui touched second in 24.90, claiming the 12th spot in the world rankings, and Wu Qingfeng finished third in 25.08.

Su Ran edged out Liu Xiaoyu to win the women’s 50 breast, 31.30 to 31.45. Shi Jinglin took third at 31.76.

Click here to view live results (in Chinese).

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Adam Peaty Leading British Men to International Prominence

Photo Courtesy: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Splash by David Rieder.

Adam Peaty only swam two races at the Olympic Games in Rio, but boy did he leave his mark in both.

Peaty won Olympic gold in the 100 breast in dominant fashion, twice breaking his own world record and swimming an awe-inspiring time of 57.13 to win gold by more than a second and a half.

Six days later, he swam the breaststroke leg of Great Britain’s 400 medley relay. He entered the water in sixth place. While Ryan Murphy led off for the Americans in a world record-time of 51.85, British backstroker Chris Walker-Hebborn had struggled, hitting the wall in 53.68.

But by the end of his leg, Peaty had the Brits in the lead, a half-second up on the United States. His split of 56.59 was two seconds faster than anyone else in the field and more than a second faster than anybody else had ever swum.

Of course, the Americans had Michael Phelps going into the water at that point, and the greatest swimmer of all-time was not going to let his career end anywhere besides the top step of the medal podium. But the men taking over for Peaty at that point were no slouches, and they ensured that the Brits would end up comfortably in silver medal position.

Those two swimmers, James Guy and Duncan Scott, represent the other two reasons that British swimming fans should feel incredibly optimistic heading into the new Olympic cycle.

james-guy-100-fly-prelims-2016-rio-olympics

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Guy swam the butterfly leg on that medley relay—his strong split of 51.35 allowed him to stayclose to Phelps—but he is far better known for his freestyle skills. Guy was the World Champion in the 200 free in 2015 and won the silver medal in the 400 free at that meet in Kazan.

But in Rio, things did not go his way in the individual events. Guy had a big lead in the 400 free final through 300 meters but faded all the way to sixth. In the 200 free, a late charge left Guy a quarter-second behind bronze medalist Conor Dwyer.

On day four of Olympic swimming, Guy won his first medal. He anchored Britain’s 800 free relay to a silver, splitting 1:44.85 for the second-fastest split in the field.

Joining him on that relay was Scott, who posted a 1:45.06 split for the third-best in the race. On that same night, Scott had already qualified for his first Olympic final in the 100 free, and he went on to finish fifth a day later. He capped off the meet anchoring Britain’s silver medal-winning medley relay in 47.62.

duncan-scott-100-free-rio

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Britain only won three medals in men’s swimming in Rio, tied for fourth-most of any country behind the U.S. (17), Australia and Japan (five each) and China (four). South Africa and Italy also won three each.

The British men’s team is not well-rounded like the Canadian women’s. Walker-Hebborn’s decline has turned backstroke into a weakness, and no British man has qualified for a major international final in the 100 or 200 fly since 2009.

But there’s time for a core to develop around Peaty, Guy and Scott. After all, Peaty is 22 years old, Guy is 21, and Scott does not turn 20 until May.

Perhaps some swimmers will step up towards filling those gaps at this week’s British Swimming Championships in Sheffield. But regardless, this team is sure to rack up some medals at this summer’s World Championships in Budapest.

It would be a shock to see anybody but Peaty standing on top of the podium for the men’s 100 breast or for the 50 breast. Two years ago, Peaty set the world record in the 50 breast in the semifinals of the World Championships, posting a time of 26.42 before winning gold the next night.

Guy and Scott will contend for individual medals as well, but what will earn British men’s swimming the most respect is relays.

The British men’s 800 free and 400 medley relays figure to be among the short-list of favorites, particularly as the Americans lose Phelps. The last time the Americans swam sans Phelps in the 800 free relay, at the 2015 Worlds in Kazan, Britain won gold as Guy stormed past Michael Weiss on the anchor leg. The U.S. also will swim that relay without Ryan Lochte for the first time since 2003.

There’s work to be done to achieve powerhouse status, but the British men’s team that will be assembled over the next week has a shot at some serious hardware in Budapest.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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How to choose your next goal after a marathon

Running a marathon is a thrill – no matter if you set a Personal Best or crawl home to the finish line.

marathon

Either way, running 26.2 miles is an achievement that most people will never accomplish. It takes guts, perseverance, and a fitness level that sets marathoners apart from mere mortals.

Despite the enormous achievement, many runners feel lost after the race.

And I don’t blame them (I certainly languished after I ran my 2:39:32 PR at the Philadelphia Marathon). After dedicating about six months to training, what do you do after you’re finally done with the marathon?

Do you try for another marathon?

Do you focus on an entirely different type of race?

Or perhaps take the rest of the year off and enjoy a life of leisure and potato chips?

While many runners dream of not running, we know that it’s not in our DNA. Like one of my athletes told me recently:

It’s a slippery slope! We love running – but at the same time, we curse it.

So how do we balance our need to run with the need for time off? How do we stay excited for running?

Q&A with Coach: What to Focus on After a Marathon

In my mind, there are only three big areas that you can focus on after you race a marathon.

I dive into each one in the latest episode of Q&A with Coach. But I also go over optimal marathon recovery so don’t miss it:

Topics Discussed and Resources:

The most important aspect of post-marathon running is to have a plan… even when that plan is to have no plan!

Take about a week off, enjoy a week or two of easy running, and then start training again for your next goal.

If you need help, we have a Season Planner Worksheet that helps you answer a lot of tough questions:

  • How many tune-up races should you run before your main goal?
  • What distance should those tune-ups be? How close to the goal race?
  • How long should your entire season be?
  • What are the 3 phases of training that should be present in your season?

You can download the free worksheet here.

Best of luck to all those racing Boston today!

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Geraint Thomas lights up Tour of the Alps stage one as Michele Scarponi takes victory

The Welshman attacked to form the decisive group on the final climb of the opening stage, but couldn’t beat Scarponi to the line

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) showed his strength on stage one of the Tour of the Alps, but couldn’t take victory on the final climb to the finish.

The Welshman had attacked from just over 1km out on the final ascent, but wasn’t able to beat Michele Scarponi (Astana) in the final sprint for the line after the Italian had tracked him.

>>> Mikel Landa hoping to show he’s back on form at Tour of the Alps alongside Geraint Thomas

The final climb to the finish, at only around 3km or so in length, was never going to be enough to put significant time gaps between any of the GC contenders, but Sky took control right from the bottom as Kenny Elissonde worked hard on the front for Thomas.

Ag2r were the first team to send a man on the attack, with one of Domenico Pozzovivo’s men making a move that was immediately tracked by Thomas and Rohan Dennis (BMC).

Pozzovivo himself and Hugh Carthy (Cannondale) then tried to make a move, but nothing was sticking despiteriders constantly being shed out the back due to the hard pace initially set by Sky.

Geraint Thomas then broke free, but his solo effort was short lived as Italian Pozzovivo then bridged across. They were looking like they could approach the finish as a pair, but veteran Italian Scarponi and Mattea Cattaneo (Androni-Giocattoli) were eventually able to work their way up to them.

Scarponi looked to be struggling as he held on behind, with pace slowing enough to let the likes of Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Davide Formolo (Cannondale) back into the group within the final 500 metres.

As the race approached the line, Thomas powered on the front, attempting to hold off his rivals. Only Scarponi was able to then move up in front, with Thomas unable to do anything to stop the Astana man taking a long awaited win.

Stage one is the first of three summit finishes, with the other two on Tuesday’s stage two and Wednesday’s stage three before two more massive mountain days on the final two stages.

Scarponi now leads the race with a four second advantage over Thomas and a six second advantage over Pinot, with time bonuses of 10, six and four available on the line.

Result

Tour of the Alps, stage one: Kufstein – Innsbruck/Hungerburg (142.3km)

1. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team, in 3-32-15
2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
4. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
6. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team, all same time
7. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli, at 4s
8. Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac, at 7s
9. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, at 10s
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team, st

Overall classification after stage one

1. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team, in 3-32-15
2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 4s
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, at 6s
4. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac, at 10s
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
6. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team, all same time
7. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli, at 14s
8. Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac, at 17s
9. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, at 20s
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team, st


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Monte Carlo Masters: Kyle Edmund beats Dan Evans in all-British match

Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund saw off Davis Cup team-mate Dan Evans in straight sets in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Edmund, ranked one place below Evans at 45 in the world, recovered from a slow start to win 7-5 6-1.

The 22-year-old from Yorkshire, who rates clay as his favourite surface, will play nine-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal in round two.

Andy Murray, who watched compatriots Edmund and Evans from courtside, plays his opening match on Wednesday.

The world number one will take on the winner of Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller against Tommy Robredo of Spain.

Edmund and Evans were Davis Cup team-mates in Britain’s quarter-final defeat by France earlier this month, but were pitted against each other for the first time on the ATP Tour in Monte Carlo.

The surface made the big-hitting Edmund a heavy favourite against Evans, who has just two main draw wins to his name on the surface.

However, Edmund opened with two double faults and looked nervous, slipping 4-1 down as Evans capitalised on the errors.

The 26-year-old from Birmingham could not maintain his advantage though, with Edmund fighting back to claim the set with the seventh break of serve in 12 games.

Edmund had to save break points again at the start of the second but, despite some wayward smashes, went on to dominate, sealing it with an ace after one hour and 20 minutes.

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Check Out All Video Interviews from Arena Pro Swim Series Mesa

Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

Swimming World was on deck this past weekend at the Arena Pro Swim Series stop in Mesa collecting video interviews with all of the meet’s top performers.

Below, you can watch any of the 30 interviews from the meet. Those interviewed included Katie Ledecky, Nathan AdrianSimone ManuelMatt Grevers , Dana Vollmer and Chase Kalisz. Scroll through the playlists to find your favorites.

Interviews from Day One

Interviews from Day Two

Interviews from Day Three

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Murray & Djokovic ready to return in Monte Carlo

Andy Murray (right) with fitness trainer Matt Little and coach Jamie Delgado

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will return to the tour at the Monte Carlo Masters this week after recovering from elbow injuries.

World number one Murray last played in Indian Wells on 12 March, and will resume against Gilles Muller or Tommy Robredo on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“I would not be playing if I felt I was taking a risk,” said the Scot.

Djokovic, ranked second, said he “feels great” after coming back with a win in the Davis Cup last week.

Like Murray, the Serb missed last month’s Miami Masters with an elbow issue and will play his first clay-court match of the year when he takes on Frenchman Gilles Simon.

“It’s normal for an athlete to go through [injury] ups and downs,” said Djokovic, 29.

Novak Djokovic

“I trust myself and the effort I put into my game. I have to believe I’ll get the results I’m hoping for.

“All of my thoughts next week will be on this event. I won it in 2013 and 2015. I’m hoping this is the place to have a new start to the season.”

Murray did return to the court in an exhibition match against Roger Federer in Switzerland on 10 April, and has since been preparing on the Monte Carlo clay.

“When I started serving again, I had to progress very slowly, but in the last couple of days I’ve been serving pretty much close to the speed that I would normally,” said Murray, 29.

“My elbow has reacted well, so I feel good about it.

“I will have had pretty much five days before my match of serving at the right speed, so I think it will be fine.”

Murray has a lot of points to defend as he looks to extend his time at the top of the rankings – he lost to Rafael Nadal in last year’s Monte Carlo semis before reaching the final in Madrid, winning in Rome and finishing runner-up at the French Open.

Stan Wawrinka is seeded third in Monte Carlo, with nine-time champion Nadal seeded fourth.

Roger Federer has chosen to skip the clay-court season until the French Open, which begins on 28 May.

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Philippe Gilbert out of remaining Ardennes Classics with injuries sustained at Amstel Gold Race

The Belgian champion suffered a kidney tear in a crash at Amstel Gold Race, which he went on to win

Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert will skip La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège due to a crash and a kidney tear suffered yesterday on his way to winning the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday.

Gilbert crashed early in the Dutch race, but recovered and escaped with Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski to win his fourth title.

>>> Greg Van Avermaet rues missed opportunity at Amstel Gold Race

However, back pain led to a hospital trip, where Gilbert remains for 24 hours under observation. Quick-Step said he suffered “a minor right kidney tear” and needs a week of “complete recovery.”

“When I crashed, I felt pain, but once I remounted and continued the race, things became better and better and the pain disappeared,” Gilbert said.

“Unfortunately, after the finish, the lower back pain returned, so together with the team doctor I decided to go to the hospital for a check-up. Fortunately, it’s nothing serious, and if everything goes well, in a week I will start training again.”

Gilbert, from nearby Liège city Verviers, would have had a chance to race into the history books this spring. Already, he won the Tour of Flanders and after taking a break and skipping Paris-Roubaix, the Amstel Gold Race.



He would have been aiming for a second Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège title, and to repeat his Ardennes Classics triple from 2011.

“It’s one of my best years and looking behind on what I achieved makes me very happy. To be competitive in both the cobbled and the Ardennes Classics and to help the team be the best in the world brings me a lot of satisfaction,” Gilbert continued.

“It’s sad I won’t be there for the remaining races of this week, because I was in great condition, but our squad is a strong one and I’m confident other good results will follow.”

Gilbert crashed with around 130km remaining in the 261km Amstel Gold Race. He said that he “thought his race was over” at that point.

“They were afraid because Gianluca Brambilla was in there as well, his shoes were destroyed,” general manager Patrick Lefevere said. “And the team director Wilfried Peeters said that Philippe even lost consciousness and fortunately, he came back strong.”

Team Quick-Step gave Gilbert the chance to return to the cobbled Classics this season. He repaid them with a 55.5km solo victory in the Tour of Flanders.

He rode the last five years for BMC Racing. Last year, a training incident with two men in a car left him with a broken finger. He had to skip De Brabantse Pijl and Liège-Bastogne-Liège as a result.


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‘I’m aiming boost my confidence going into the Giro d’Italia’

Frenchman Thibaut Pinot is looking to show he’s got what it takes at the Tour of the Alps before he aims for Giro glory

Third on his last two stage race appearances at the Volta a Valenciana and Tirreno-Adriatico, FDJ team leader Thibaut Pinot says he is looking for stage wins and a boost to his morale when he returns to racing at this week’s Tour of the Alps, his final event before lining up at next month’s Giro d’Italia.

>>> Mikel Landa hoping to show he’s back on form at Tour of the Alps alongside Geraint Thomas

Having spent the last month training at home in the Vosges and then at a camp with three teammates on Gran Canaria, Pinot played down the suggestion made by Astana’s Michele Scarponi during the pre-race press conference that he’s the favourite for the title of the revamped and renamed Giro del Trentino.

“It’s my first time here and also the first time since I’ve raced since Tirreno-Adriatico [last month] and I’ve come primarily with the goal of preparing for the Giro.

“Ideally, I will come out of this with good form and that will boost my confidence going into next month’s big test,’ said Pinot.


Watch: Giro d’Italia 2017 essential guide


“I’ve just come from my training camp on Gran Canaria, which was a little bit different to doing one in Tenerife, and I feel in shape,” the Frenchman continued.

“We’ve got a good team here, but not the strongest we could field in the mountains as not all of the team’s best climbers are riding this week. My first goal will be to try to win a stage and then, if I’m in a good position to go for the overall, that may come too.”

Pinot has made the Giro his primary goal this season, and admitted he has long had the Tour of the Alps marked down as his final race before it, particularly as the addition of an extra day of racing has increased its mountainous aspect.

“There aren’t that many races on the calendar with as much climbing as this, so to have a race like this one with five days that all feature some testing climbs is good for climbers like me,” he said.

“That’s the main reason that I included it on my programme. I’m just hoping that the weather assists us and improves on the conditions that we’re seeing today.”

Pinot may not get his wish from that perspective as the cold and wet conditions are expected to continue for the opening two stages of the race, although an improvement is forecast beyond that.

Asked for his own pick as favourite, Pinot trod more carefully than Scarponi.

“It’s hard to say who the favourite is. There are some big teams here like Astana, BMC and Sky, but I’m sure it will be a great fight and that we’ll have a great winner on Friday,” he said.


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Mikel Landa hoping to show he’s back on form at Tour of the Alps alongside Geraint Thomas

The Spaniard has suffered from illness over recent month, and has one last chance to prepare for the Giro d’Italia at the Tour of the Alps

Defending Tour of the Alps champion Mikel Landa is hoping that a return to the race that yielded his last victories in Team Sky colours will bring a change of fortune as he prepares for the Giro d’Italia, which starts in Sardinia in less than three weeks.

>>> Giro d’Italia 2017 start list

“I like this race a lot. It brings back some happy memories returning here after winning last year,” said the Spanish climber, who has been winless since taking overall victory in what was previously the Giro del Trentino last April.

Speaking to Cycling Weekly at the race’s team presentation in Kufstein, Landa admitted he has no idea what his condition is like after illness, having not raced since poor health forced him to quit on the sixth stage of the Volta a Catalunya last month.

“I’ve been out for a fairly long time. I finished Catalunya a little bit tired, and since then I’ve been at home.

“I decided to stay there rather than going on a training camp because it meant I could have more a bit more rest before I got back full into training,’ said Landa.

“Of course, the key goal is to get some form with a view to the Giro, which is getting very close now.”

Trentino has long been a form-sharpener for the Giro, and, for Landa at least, that is even more the case now that its mountainous aspect has been boosted.


Watch: Giro d’Italia essential guide


“The fact that they’ve added another day to this race, and that it’s also an extra day in the mountains, suits me perfectly,” he acknowledged.

“It will certainly help my Giro preparation to race several hard stages with a lot of metres of climbing.”

Landa believes the addition of a fifth day also boosts his chances of making a successful defence of the title.

“For sure, we’ve got some strong opposition, but like all races I go to, I want to be competitive and go for wins if I get the opportunity. The extra stage in the mountains might well provide that extra opportunity for me,” he said.

However, injuries within the Sky camp have left Landa and co-leader Geraint Thomas lacking teammates to support them.

Elia Viviani, Diego Rosa and David López were all initially slated for this race, but all three have either been rested or switched to other duties. Frenchman Kenny Elissonde is the only addition to Sky’s line-up, which is only six-strong.

“We are certainly going to struggle a bit more with having two riders fewer than some of the other teams, especially as the parcours is very tough,” agreed Landa.

Yet, if he does find the form of last year, Sky’s lack of numbers may not ultimately matter.

“I do really like the like the look of the route, especially in the final days three days,” he said.

“I think the key stages are likely to be the final one, which features Monte Bondone, and perhaps the third one as well over the Passo delle Erbe and the climb up to the finish.”


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