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Kodaira and Bloemen set speedskating records at World Cup



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KEARNS, Utah (AP) — Japan's Nao Kodaira and Canada's Ted-Jan Bloemen set world records Sunday on the final day of the World Cup speedskating event at the Utah Olympic Oval.

Kodaira finished in 1 minute, 12.09 seconds in the women's 1,000 meters, her third race victory in three days. American Brittany Bowe held the previous record of 1:12.18. Japan's Miho Takagi was second in 1:12.63, and Russia's Yekaterina Shikhova followed in 1:13.23.

Bloemen finished in 6:01.86 in the men's 5,000. Dutch skater Sven Kramer held the previous record of 6:03.32. Germany's Patrick Beckert was second in 6.07.02, and countryman Moritz Geisreiter followed in 6:07.31.

Bowe improved on a pair of 13th-place finishes in the 500s. She finished in 1:13.55 to place sixth in the 1,000.

Seeing her world record fall broke Bowe's heart, but she took comfort in ending the weekend with her strongest performance over three days. She showed progress after losing significant time to injuries a year ago.

"My skating felt better," Bowe said. "The timing felt better. I feel like I was connecting and, yeah, I definitely felt stronger than I have so far this year."

Russia's Denis Yuskov won the men's 1,000 in 1:06.92. Yuskov edged Dutchman skater Koen Verweij, who finished in 106.94. Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov followed in 1:06.96.

Jonathan Garcia was the top American. Garcia was seventh with a personal best of 1:07.40. Joey Mantia was 10th, and Shani Davis 12th.

Garcia came into the race with the goal of producing a top six finish. He said his performance was about 90 percent of where he wants to be, but feels like he is on an upward trend ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

Garcia's main goal is to simply not peak too early over the next two months.

"I know myself, I've been skating for 23 years." Garcia said. "I can't maintain being my best every day for six months or two months. I really have to make sure I strategically place myself where I need to be throughout the season."

Russia's Natalia Voronina took the women's 3,000 in 3:57.70. The Czech Republic's Martina Sablikova was second in 3:57.84, and Germany's Claudia Pechstein finished third in 3:58.69.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

John Coon

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