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Lezak prevails; Coughlin just misses record

June 09, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

While Jason Lezak was pleased with his winning effort Sunday at the Janet Evans Invitational at USC, five-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin was upset with her near-record performance in the 100 backstroke.

The world-record holder at 59.21, Coughlin finished in 59.27 with the sun in her eyes causing her to jam her finish.

"I don't know if it would've been 58, but it would have been a lot faster than a 59.2," she said.

Lauren Rogers was a distant second in 1:02.45.

Lezak, the U.S. record-holder in the 100-meter freestyle who decided two years ago to coach himself, beat a strong field that included 2007 world champion Brent Hayden.

Lezak finished in 48.84 seconds, his second sub-49 time of the year. His record is 48.17.

Hayden finished third in 49.09 behind Switzerland's Dominik Meichtry, who was second in 49.03.

Lezak, who also won the 50 freestyle Friday, set the American record at the 2004 U.S. Olympic trials but failed to qualify for the Olympic semifinals. This year, Lezak is not only looking to qualify but to break his record.

"I don't see it being there after trials this time around," he said. "I just hope I get it before someone else does."

No records fell Sunday, but Canadian Ryan Cochrane won the 1,500 freestyle in the fourth-fastest time this year (14:50.65), beating American record-holder Larsen Jensen and Tunisian Ous Mellouli.

-- Lucas Shaw

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HOCKEY

Source: Hasek is expected to retire

Detroit Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek is expected to announce his retirement, a person in the NHL told the Associated Press.

The Red Wings scheduled a news conference for this morning without revealing details.

Hasek, 43, won six Vezina Trophies as the NHL's top goaltender and two Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player.

Hasek lost his job during Detroit's run to the Stanley Cup title, being replaced by Chris Osgood in the first round.

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TRACK AND FIELD

Walker establishes U.S. pole vault mark

Defending world champion Brad Walker broke an 8-year-old American record at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., clearing 19 feet, 9 3/4 inches on the same field where he'll try to make his first Olympic team in only three weeks.

Walker broke the record held by Jeff Hartwig at 19-9 1/4 . Then, Walker took two shots -- after skipping the first attempt -- at Sergei Bubka's world record of 20-1 3/4 , but didn't come close.

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele failed to improve his world record in the 10,000 meters, but still finished in 26:25.97, the fourth-fastest time in the event.

The retiring Maria Mutola of Mozambique won the 800 meters for the 16th straight year in 1:59.24.

Torri Edwards won the women's 100 in 10.94 seconds, Sanya Richards won the 400 in 50.10 seconds and Bernard Lagat won the rarely run two miles in 8:12.45.

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MISCELLANY

Vucevic commits to USC basketball

Nikola Vucevic, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound forward from Simi Valley Stoneridge Prep, said he has signed with USC.

Barring a transfer or a player renouncing his scholarship, the Trojans have reached their full complement of 13 scholarship players for next season, meaning they are likely out of the hunt for North Carolina transfer Alex Stepheson or Kentucky transfer Derrick Jasper, both California natives.

-- Ben Bolch

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Seattle Seahawks receiver Bobby Engram said he may skip training camp because of his contract dispute. Engram has been skipping voluntary minicamps because he wants more than the final year and $1.7 million left on his two-year deal.

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