Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Swimmer Missy Franklin, 17, gets 'dream spot' in Olympics

OMAHA, Neb. — Missy Franklin is heading to her first Olympics at 17, winning the 100-meter backstroke in U.S. record time at the swimming trials Wednesday and denying Natalie Coughlin a chance to defend her title.

Coming back 20 minutes after the 200 freestyle semifinals — in which she advanced to the final — Franklin chased down Coughlin, who also won the event at the 2004 Games, on the return lap to win in 58.85 seconds. "I have dreamed of this moment, but I never thought it would come true at 17 years old," Franklin said. "Dreams do come true."

Coughlin, 29, was under world-record pace at the turn. But she couldn't hold off Franklin or Rachel Bootsma, 18, who got past the 11-time medalist to claim the second spot for London in 59.49. Coughlin was third in 1 minute, 0.06 seconds.

St. Petersburg's Megan Romano, a Northeast High graduate now at Georgia, was eighth and last, 2.17 behind.

In other finals, Matt Grevers won the men's 100 backstroke with the world's fastest time this year, 52.08. Breeja Larson, 20, who started swimming competitively three years ago, upset defending gold medalist and two-time world champion Rebecca Soni and world-record holder Jessica Hardy in the 100 breaststroke. Soni got the second spot on the team. Hardy finished third.

In the women's 200 free semis, Romano made the final with the fourth-fastest qualifying time, 1:57.99. Allison Schmitt, who previously qualified for London in the 400 free, was the top qualifier in 1:55.59. The final is today.

Among other swimmers with bay area or state university ties:

•Florida's Conor Dwyer was fourth in the men's 200 free, behind Michael Phelps and former Gator Ryan Lochte, and Gator Elizabeth Beisel qualified for today's 200 individual medley final.

•Clearwater native Robert Margalis did not advance to the final of the 200 butterfly, finishing last in his semifinal.

• Tampa's Chelsea Nauta, a Tampa Prep graduate, did not advance out of the 200 freestyle heats.

• Countryside grad Melanie Margalis, now at Georgia, was disqualified in the 200 individual medley heats.

•Florida State's Elizabeth Pepper didn't advance out of the 200 freestyle heats, nor did FSU's Josh Friedel out of the 100 backstroke. Incoming freshman Sami Pochowski didn't advance out of 100 breaststroke heats.

Track and field: The dead heat between Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh for third in the 100 meters at the trials and the final Olympic berth will be resolved after Saturday's 200 final, USA Track and Field said. Both are entered in the 200. The governing body said it made the decision after talking to the runners and their support teams. It says a result must be determined by Sunday, the end of the trials in Eugene, Ore., so a team can be named.

Gymnastics: Those who will select the members of the U.S. men's and women's team have their work cut out for them at the trials, which begin today in San Jose, Calif. One guaranteed spot is available, with the other nine gymnasts — five women, five men — chosen based on what combinations the selectors think give the Americans the best chance for team medals. The women won silver in 2008, the men bronze.

The top two men, using combined scores from this month's national championships and the trials, could lock up spots but only if they also finish in the top three of each of the six events. Other­wise, two men will be named Saturday night and the others Sunday.

The winner of the women's all-around gets the guaranteed spot. For the first time since 2000, the others will be determined after the trials end Sunday.

Comments
NFL draft: Patriots pick Lakewood alum Isaiah Wynn at No. 23

NFL draft: Patriots pick Lakewood alum Isaiah Wynn at No. 23

Lakewood High alumnus and former Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn was drafted No. 23 overall Thursday by the Patriots.Wynn becomes one of the highest drafted offensive linemen in Tampa Bay history and the first Pinellas County player to go in th...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
So many kind words on Rays’ Jonny Venters, Matt Duffy close

So many kind words on Rays’ Jonny Venters, Matt Duffy close

BALTIMORE — LHP Jonny Venters ran through some pretty good emotions Wednesday night when after battling through a series of elbow injuries, he made it back into a major-league game for the first since 2012 — with a four-pitch out and a ga...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
After 9-5 win, Rays head back to Boston a different team: Here’s why

After 9-5 win, Rays head back to Boston a different team: Here’s why

BALTIMORE — When the Rays last saw Boston, they were trudging out of Fenway Park after a sweep by the Red Sox that left them with a 1-8 record that marked a very low point in their young season.They'll be back at Fenway Friday night, and riding...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Bucs trade down with Bills, take strongman DT Vita Vea No. 12

Bucs trade down with Bills, take strongman DT Vita Vea No. 12

Vita Vea recently took a trip to French Polynesia with some University of Washington students and came upon some enormous rocks."So over there, their strongman competition is they have a tradition where they lift rocks. There's a lot more to it than ...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
NFL draft: Chargers take FSU’s Derwin James with No. 17 pick

NFL draft: Chargers take FSU’s Derwin James with No. 17 pick

Former Florida State safety Derwin James fell farther than expected Thursday in the first night of the NFL draft before being chosen by the Chargers with the No. 17 overall pick.James became the fifth former Seminoles defensive back ever drafted in t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs trade down with Bills, get No. 12, two 2nd-rounders

Bucs trade down with Bills, get No. 12, two 2nd-rounders

The Bucs have traded down from their top pick, moving down five spots from No. 7 to No. 12 and gaining two second-round picks from the Buffalo Bills.Tampa Bay still has the No. 12 pick in the draft, but picked up No. 53 and No. 56, trading back their...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Whether you're a fan of the Bucs, Gators, Seminoles, 'Canes or Bulls, you'll want to follow our live coverage of the 2018 NFL draft today through Saturday in Arlington, Tex. We'll have live news, commentary, photos, videos, stories and more, so come...
Updated: 4 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Orioles, looking to make it a six-pack of W’s

For starters: Rays at Orioles, looking to make it a six-pack of W’s

UPDATE, 6:05: LHP Jonny Venters said he was touched and a bit overwhelmed by all the people the reached out to congratulate him on his return to the majors for the first time since 2012. … Cash said Matt Duffy (right hamstring strain) is set to...
Updated: 5 hours ago
The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

TAMPA — As the Tampa Bay Lightning waits for the Boston Bruins to come to town for the next round of playoffs, the city’s business community — members large and small — say it has already won the NHL postseason.At WestShore Plaza this week, with blue...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Chris Kunitz brings four Stanley Cups worth of experience to the Lightning

Chris Kunitz brings four Stanley Cups worth of experience to the Lightning

TAMPA – It was the late spring of 2007, days after a much younger Chris Kunitz lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time. He found himself wondering if he would ever be in that position again. Hoping, really."For sure," he said. "It's almost a ...
Updated: 7 hours ago