Lochte, Phelps stunned in freestyle relay


Lochte, Phelps stunned in freestyle relay

From Comcast SportsNet

LONDON (AP) -- The United States broke out the big guns in hopes of taking down the favored Australians in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay Sunday night.

Michael Phelps was swimming for the Americans.

So was Ryan Lochte.

The U.S. coaches decided to send out a completely different lineup in the evening final, going with Nathan Adrian in the leadoff spot, followed by Phelps and Cullen Jones, with Lochte taking the anchor leg.

While that quartet sounds imposing, the Americans remained underdogs against the defending world champions from Down Under. Australia had three of the four members from its 2011 team in Shanghai, leading off with James "The Missile" Magnussen, followed by Matt Targent and Eamon Sullivan. The only newcomer to the squad was no surprise: James "The Rocket" Roberts going against Lochte in the final spot.

Magnussen has the fastest 100 free time ever in a textile suit, posting 47.10 seconds at the Australian trials in March. Roberts has the second-fastest time in the world this year, 47.63.

The Americans hoped to ride Lochte's wave to an upset victory. He was coming off a dominating win in the 400 individual medley on the opening night of the games, beating Phelps by more than 4 seconds. But Lochte could be a bit tired, having to swim both the prelims and semifinals of the 200 free before he competed in the relay.

But there are also questions about Phelps after his disappointing fourth-place finish in the 400 IM. This was the first time since 2000 that he didn't win a medal in an Olympic race, having captured 14 golds and two bronzes in Athens and Beijing.

Phelps had a chance to swim another eight-event program in London, but he dropped the 200 free because he said he wanted to be at his best in the 400 free relay. The Americans were looking to defend their Olympic title after winning in dramatic fashion at Beijing when Jason Lezak pulled off an improbable rally to edge France's Alain Bernard at the end, keeping Phelps on pace to win a record eight gold medals.

"We were open-minded coming in," Gregg Troy, head coach of the U.S. men's team, said after the prelims. "We did talk to eight guys and told them they could be on the relay. Quite frankly, we feel like any of the eight could do a real good job. It's just a matter of which ones. We can only swim four. So we put our heads together and decided which four it was."

Jimmy Feigen, Matt Grevers, Ricky Berens and Lezak competed in the morning, posting the second-fastest time behind an Australian team that included Magnussen and Roberts.

While Grevers posted the fastest split time, he seemed resigned to being left off the evening relay even before he got the news. He had no problem giving up a spot to Lochte, even though he has never swam in the 400 free relay in the Olympics and doesn't have a lot of experience at that distance.

"You've got to play with what's hot, and that's a good hand right now," Grevers said. "Ryan Lochte is a good hand."

Adrian and Jones earned their spots on the relay by going 1-2 in the 100 free at the U.S. trials.

"All four of those guys have proven themselves time and again," Grevers said. "I don't have any doubt Michael will throw out an incredibly fast split. Nathan and Cullen showed themselves at trials. They're always very trustworthy. And Ryan, you saw him blow the 400 IM out of the water. That guy's hot, and you've got to go with what's hot.

"It's a strong group no matter what happens."

Troy insisted it was more than a two-country race. France has another strong team with Amaury Leveaux, Fabien Gilot, Clement Lefert and rising star Yannick Agnel. Russia could also be a contender, the coach added.

"It's a great field," Troy said. "It's probably the best 400 freestyle relay field ever."

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After quiet day in Detroit, Redskins Pierre Garçon says 'we always try to go deep'

After quiet day in Detroit, Redskins Pierre Garçon says 'we always try to go deep'

DETROIT - Looking at quarterback Kirk Cousins' stat line from Sunday's game against the Lions, and the Redskins passer certainly had a good day. Completing nearly 77 percent of his passes and going over 300 yards, Cousins moved the Washington offense efficiently for much of the game.

Yet, receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon combined for 55 total yards. Jackson, arguably the best vertical threat in the NFL, had a long catch of 12 yards. Yep, 12 yards. 

Cousins' longest pass for the game went to Vernon Davis for 27 yards. In fact, Davis and Jamison Crowder combined for 13 catches and nearly 200 yards, though much of their work was done in underneath spots. With a depleted secondary, the Lions defense largely played deep zone, keeping the best options to move the ball short, and Cousins proved quite capable of completing passes, going 30 of 39 for the game.

But after a tough loss - especially after it seemed the Redskins and Cousins would pull off an extraordinary win - some might question if the 'Skins offense became too reliant on shallow drag and crossing routes and did not look down field enough. 

Garcon, however, refuted that.

"I guess that's just how the game flowed because we always try to go deep but you know things are called but we don't have time or they play a different coverage," Garçon said. "We can't really control it."

The deep ball does not always equal a win for the Redskins either. Cousins' longest pass this season (57 yards) came in a Week 2 loss to Dallas and in a win over Baltimore the QB's longest pass was also 27 yards, same as in Detroit. 

Moving the ball is moving the ball - and Cousins does it well. After a four-game win streak snapped by a dispiriting loss in Detroit, Redskins fans should expect plenty of fans about the long ball. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below.

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Caps reveal Halloween costumes

Caps reveal Halloween costumes

Halloween is still a week away, but with the Caps preparing for a long road trip, Halloween came early.

The team had a Halloween party Sunday with many of the players dressing up in costume.

Halloween party in D.C. 👻🎃🎃🎃

A photo posted by Alexander Ovechkin (@aleksandrovechkinofficial) on

Alex Ovechkin and his wife, Nastya Shubskaya, appeared to coordinate with Ovechkin dressing up as an inmate and Shubskaya dressing up as a cop. Orlov, who is tagged on the Instagram post as the second person from the right, is dressed up as...the Joker? I think?

Several other players and their wives also got in on the fun.


A photo posted by Gina Carlson (@gnacarlson) on

Mr. and Mrs. Smith 2.0

A photo posted by Lauren Oshie (@loshie17) on

Not to be outdone, Tom Wilson and Andre Burakovsky also joined in on the fun tweeting out their costumes. Fans of the movie "Step Brothers" will enjoy this.

And then there was Zach Sanford....

Rookies in professional sports sometimes have to take on...additional duties. For Sanford, that meant leading the party in a stirring rendition of the song "Sweet Caroline." Thankfully, Ovechkin filmed it.

Caps boys here👍💪

A video posted by Alexander Ovechkin (@aleksandrovechkinofficial) on

Welcome to the NHL, kid.

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