Swimming: Michael Phelps wasn’t about to lose his last race in the United States.
With his gangly arms cutting through the water, Phelps dazzled the home fans one last time.
Phelps made it 3 for 3 at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Nebraska, rallying on the return lap to win the 100-meter butterfly on Saturday night.
In what was billed as the farewell race in his home country, Phelps competed in lane seven after a sluggish swim in the semifinals. As usual, it took him a lap to really get going, making the turn in fourth place.
But Phelps powered to the front, as he’s done so many times.
Even with a long glide to the wall, he finished in 51.00 seconds.
When Phelps saw the “1” beside his name, he pounded the water and pointed toward his family – including 7-week-old son Boomer – up in the stands. He’ll now get a chance to win his fourth straight gold in the 100 fly at Rio.
When his longtime coach, Bob Bowman, asked for a game plan before the race, Phelps kept it simple.
“I don’t want to lose my last race on American soil,” he said.
Katie Ledecky and Maya DiRado also won their third individual events on the next-to-last night of the trials, while Nathan Adrian made up for the disappointment of four years ago by winning the 50 freestyle.
For Ledecky, it’s been the dominating performance everyone expected, this one a nearly 10-second victory in the 800 freestyle.
For DiRado, it’s been a huge surprise, the first-time Olympian setting herself up to make quite a splash before she retires at age 23.
A late bloomer who already lined up a job as a business analyst in Atlanta, she followed her victories in the 200 and 400 individual medley by knocking off defending Olympic champion Missy Franklin in the 200 backstroke.
Franklin finished second to at least ensure she’ll get a chance to go for another gold in Rio.
Phelps, of course, is also planning to retire – for the second time – as soon as his fifth Olympics are over. At age 31, he cruised through Omaha with victories in both butterfly races as well as the 200 individual medley.
Assuming he is on all three men’s relays in Rio – a virtual lock – he’ll get a chance to add six more medals to his already massive collection of 18 golds and 22 medals overall.
One night after competing in the 100 free, the 19-year-old Ledecky didn’t have quite enough in the tank to challenge her own world record. She finished in 8 minutes, 10.32 seconds, far off the mark of 8:06.68 she set in January at a meet in Austin, Texas.
The swimmer who surprisingly captured gold in the 800 free four years ago will go into Rio as one of the biggest favorites in any sport. Leah Smith took the second Olympics spot in 8:20.18 – nearly half a lap behind Ledecky.
Ledecky also posted Omaha wins in the 200 and 400 free, which means she’ll have three individual events and a relay at the Olympics. The only thing that didn’t go her way: a seventh-place finish in the 100 free, an event she only recently started focusing on in hopes of landing a second relay race.
Day shares lead with Pearcy at Bridgestone
Golf: Jason Day hit only three fairways and still managed a 1-under 69 to share the lead with Scott Piercy at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.
Day hoped to try to expand his one-shot lead at Firestone. Instead, he goes into the final round of this World Golf Championship in a tie with Piercy, who had a 67 and is coming off a runner-up finish in the U.S. Open.
Day and Piercy were at 5-under 205.
Seven players were separated by just three shots going into the final round. That includes U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, who had a 66 and was only three shots behind.
Jordan Spieth also was in the mix until a triple bogey on the 16th hole sent him to a 71. He was five shots back.
The 18-year-old Canadian, who claimed her first LPGA Tour win a year ago in Portland, was at 13-under 203 heading into Sunday’s final round. Henderson leads Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe, who is 11-under after a 71.
Henderson, who three weeks ago won the Women’s PGA Championship, has shared or held the outright Portland lead the past six rounds. Henderson is aiming to become the first back-to-back Portland winner since Annika Sorenstam in 2002-03.
Uribe is looking for her first LPGA Tour win. In her sixth year on tour, Uribe’s best finish is a third at the 2015 Manulife Classic.
The 42-year-old Australian had seven birdies and a bogey for a 15-point round and 39-point total at Montreux in the scoring system that awards eight points for double eagle, five points for eagle, two points for birdie and deducts a point for bogey and three points for double bogey or worse.
Ben Martin and Gary Woodland were tied for second. Martin had eight birdies in a 16-point round, the best score of the week. Woodland had an 11-point round. He won the 2013 event for the last of his two PGA Tour titles.
Chalmers, Martin and most of the players are fighting for a spot in the British Open in two weeks at Royal Troon in Scotland. Because of the West Virginia floods that led to The Greenbrier Classic being canceled next week, a spot was transferred to the leading player not already eligible at Montreux. Woodland was the only player in the top 23 who has already qualified for the Open.
Panthers sign Demers to five-year deal
NHL: The Florida Panthers have continued overhauling their blue line by signing defenseman Jason Demers to a five-year contract.
Demers had seven goals and 16 assists in 62 games for the Dallas Stars last season. He’s a puck-moving defenseman who general manager Tom Rowe says will help the Panthers’ transition game and special teams.
The 28-year-old will be one of several new faces on defense for the Panthers next season. Already they traded for and signed Keith Yandle, traded away Erik Gudbranson and Dmitry Kulikov, let Brian Campbell leave in free agency and acquired Mark Pysyk.
Demers has 143 points in 434 NHL games. He’ll join a group that includes Yandle, Jakub Kindl and 2014 No. 1 pick Aaron Ekblad, who on Friday signed a $60 million, eight-year extension.
The Sabres dealt a 2017 fifth-round draft pick to St. Louis on Saturday. Buffalo must still sign Nilsson, who is a restricted free agent.
Nilsson had a 10-13-3 record and 3.12 goals-against average in 29 games split between the Blues and Edmonton last season. Overall, the Swedish-born player has a 19-22-4 record in 52 games, including two seasons with the Islanders.
Buffalo also signed minor-league forward Derek Grant to a one-year, two-way contract.
Roczen wins RedBud National for fifth victory
Miscellany: Ken Roczen won the RedBud National in Buchanan, Michigan, for his fifth victory in the first six Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship events of the season, sweeping the 450 Class motos.
The RCH Suzuki rider from Germany has won 11 of the first 12 motos this season, and likely would have won all 12 had he not had bike issues while leading at Glen Helen. He has 11 career 450 victories.
Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac was second in both motos. Suzuki’s Broc Tickle, from Holly, Michigan, was third overall, finishing fourth in the first moto and third in the second. Red Bull KTM factory star Ryan Dungey missed his third event after cracking a vertebra at Thunder Valley.
Roczen leads second-place Tomac by 53 points in the season standings with six events left.
Yamaha’s Cooper Webb raced to his second straight 250 Class victory, sweeping the motos to take the points lead. Fellow Yamaha rider Alex Martin was second overall, finishing third in each moto. Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne was third, finishing fifth in the first moto and second in the second.
Webb leads Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy by 11 points. Savatgy was seventh overall Saturday. He was second in the first moto and 16th in the second.
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