BASEBALL

The Sanford Mainers named former assistant coach Nic Lops as the team’s manager for the 2021 New England Collegiate Baseball League season.

In 2019, Lops was an assistant coach for Manager Cejay Suarez, who will not be able to join the team this summer. Lops is currently an assistant coach at his alma mater, St. Joseph’s College of Maine.

Lops was a four-year starter for St. Joseph’s College, where he played over 150 games and had a .357 career batting average and 130 RBI.

Following his playing career, Lops was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Daniel Webster College and an assistant coach at Cheverus.

The Mainers did not play last season due to the pandemic.But Lops managed the Lumberjacks of the Greater Northeast Collegiate Baseball League, leading his team to a 10-8 record before falling in the postseason semifinals.

SWIMMING

TRIALS: The U.S. Olympic swimming trials will be split into two meets, a striking change designed to provide safer conditions on the pool deck in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

USA Swimming announced Tuesday that a Wave I meet of lower-ranked swimmers qualifying for the trials will be held on June 4-7. The top finishers will advance to the main Wave II meet on June 13-20 – the already scheduled dates for the trials – to determine who represents the U.S at the Tokyo Games.

Both meets will take place in a temporary pool set up inside the CHI Health Center arena in Omaha, Nebraska, the trials’ host for the fourth straight time.

The change is designed to reduce overcrowding on the pool deck, an adjacent warmup pool and the athlete seating areas. The top 41 seeded swimmers in each event will automatically qualify for Wave II.

As of last week, 1,305 athletes had qualified for the Olympic trials since the window opened Nov. 28, 2018. The meet, initially set for last summer, was delayed a year after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed because of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 400,000 American lives and more than 2 million victims around the world.

“Our number one priority was to find a way to host trials in the safest possible environment while also giving the athletes the best opportunity to succeed,” said Mike Unger, USA Swimming’s chief operating officer.

SKIING

WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: First-run leader Michelle Gisin nearly came to a complete stop. American standout Mikaela Shiffrin had a series of uncharacteristic bobbles. And defending overall champion Federica Brignone was wild from start to finish.

French veteran Tessa Worley took advantage of second-run errors from the early leaders to win a World Cup giant slalom Tuesday at San Vigilio di Marebbe, Italy, on a challenging course with a name, Erta, that lives up to its meaning – steep.

Moving up from fifth after the opening leg, Worley finished 0.27 seconds ahead of Lara Gut-Behrami and 0.73 ahead of Marta Bassino, this season’s giant slalom leader. Worley had a flawless second run and was pushing the entire way.

Worley matched Anita Wachter, Lise-Marie Morerod, Tina Maze and Viktoria Rebensburg with 14 career GS wins for third place all time. Swiss great Vreni Schneider holds the record with 20 GS wins, followed by Annemarie Moser-Pröll with 16. Worley also claimed world championship gold medals in GS in 2013 and 2017, but her previous World Cup victory came back in 2018 at the season opener in Soelden.

Shiffrin dropped from second to fourth, a distant 1.08 behind Worley, while Gisin came sixth after holding a big lead over the entire field after the first run.

“Congrats to these girls for putting on an impressive show,” Shiffrin wrote on Instagram. “Gonna go shake the rattle out of my brain now.”

Likewise, Brignone fell from third to eighth and finished one spot behind Italian teammate Sofia Goggia, the speed specialist who swept two downhills last weekend.

MEN’S WORLD CUP: Austrian skier Marco Schwarz improved from sixth position after the opening run to win a men’s World Cup night slalom by a big margin at Schladming, Austria.

Schwarz finished 0.68 seconds ahead of Clement Noel, and another French skier, Alexis Pinturault, was 0.82 behind in third.

Pinturault posted the fastest second-run time as he climbed from 11th.

It was the sixth podium result for Schwarz in seven slaloms this season.

SOCCER

MESSI RETURNS: Lionel Messi is back in the Barcelona squad that will face second-division club Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

Messi has not played in the Copa del Rey this season but Coach Ronald Koeman is expected to use him in the round-of-16 game after missing two matches because of a suspension. Messi had been rested before that because of an unspecified minor fitness problem.

Messi received a two-match suspension for hitting an opponent away from the ball late in the team’s 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final on Jan. 17. He did not play against Cornellà in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey last week, nor against Elche in the Spanish league on Sunday. Barcelona won both matches 2-0.

INTER MILAN Coach Antonio Conte was suspended for two matches on Tuesday following a clash with referee Fabio Maresca over the weekend.

Conte was sent off in stoppage time for protesting at the end of Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Udinese. There was a further altercation in the tunnel and the league’s sporting judge report states that Conte confronted Maresca “in a threatening manner, shouting a seriously offensive expression at him.”

Conte, who has also been fined $24,000, will miss upcoming league matches against Benevento and Fiorentina. Inter is second in Serie A, two points behind city rival AC Milan.

CHELSEA HIRED Thomas Tuchel as manager on Tuesday on an 18-month contract to replace the fired Frank Lampard.

Tuchel, a 47-year-old German, is back in work a month after losing his job at Paris Saint-Germain following a power struggle with the club. In his 2 1/2 years in Paris, he led the team to back-to-back French league titles and the Champions League final last season. Before PSG, Tuchel coached at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund.

Lampard, a Chelsea great as a player, lasted 18 months before getting fired as its manager following a run of five losses in the last eight league games which threatens the team’s ambitions of a top-four finish and Champions League qualification. Chelsea, which spent nearly $300 million on new players for this season, is languishing in ninth place and next plays Wednesday at home to Wolverhampton.

Tuchel could attend the match by using an English pandemic allowance for workers flying into an elite sports environment to avoid full quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus.

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