Ryan Lochte's

bid to match

Michael Phelps

with eight golds at the short-course world championships was derailed when the United States' 400-meter freestyle relay failed to medal on the opening night of the meet in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. France won, followed by Russia and Brazil. The U.S. team was fourth. Earlier, Lochte won the 200 freestyle. China set swimming's first world record of 2010 in the women's 800 freestyle relay.

All U.S. swimmers are wearing the initials of Fran Crippen on their warmup suits. Crippen was the open-water swimmer from Conshohocken who died during a race in the United Arab Emirates 2 months ago. "It's definitely a tragedy," Lochte said. "But he's there next to us to cheer us on and it gives us a push knowing he's here with us."

Sport Stops

* Infielder Ty Wigginton and the Colorado Rockies agreed to a 2-year, $8 million contract. Wigginton, 33, became a first-time All-Star this year with Baltimore. In other free-agent deals: former Tampa Bay reliever Randy Choate agreed to a 2-year, $2.5 million contract with Florida; former Texas righthander Rich Harden reportedly has agreed to a 1-year contract to rejoin Oakland; the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly are close to signing ex-Twins reliever Matt Guerrier; and the New York Yankees finalized a minor league contract with righthander Mark Prior.

* Five-time defending NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson beat out NHRA Funny Car champion John Force for the Driver of the Year award.

* Arizona State's baseball team must vacate 44 of its wins from 2007 and is banned from the postseason in 2011 under sanctions announced by the NCAA.

* Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham has been offered the same job at Kansas and was in the process of working out contract details, the Associated Press reported. Cunningham would replace Lew Perkins.