Swimming

In a perfect world: Mellouli rocks

Everyone knows Michael Phelps. Pretty much only swim geeks, and Tunisians, know the story of Ous Mellouli, which is the way it is but not the way it should be.

In a perfect world, Mellouli would be celebrated like Phelps. He is charming, funny, good-looking, well-spoken, plain-speaking, at ease in different languages and, as a University of Southern California guy, completely and totally comfortable in celebrity culture.

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Calm, strong, happy: Jessica Hardy

Some winter mornings in Los Angeles break warm and soft. This was not one of them.

It had rained overnight, and there were fast clouds scudding overhead, and the thermometer said it was 49 degrees at 7:30 Thursday morning. The water in the USC pool was warm, as always, 80 degrees. But on the deck it was chilly and it was way early and now there were two solid hours of swimming to be done.