Phelps Beats Lochte, Missy Franklin Grabs Olympic Swimming Spot
Phelps won the 200-meter freestyle final in 1 minute, 45.70 seconds, with Lochte touching the wall five hundredths of a second later in second place at the U.S. swimming trials last night in Omaha, Nebraska.
“The turns are something that really killed me in the semifinals,” Phelps said in a televised interview. “I wanted to jump on it in the first 100 and get a good start.”
Phelps in 2008 won eight Olympic gold medals to eclipse the single-Games record of seven set by fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz in 1972. His haul in Beijing took his tally of Olympic golds to 14, surpassing the previous career record of nine.
Lochte said he didn’t give the race his ultimate effort.
“We didn’t really try to pick it up until, like, the last 75, so I’ll save that for the Olympics,” Lochte said. “I was just really relaxed for the first 125, and then the last 75, I was like, ‘All right, now we’ve got to put it in gear.’ So I kind of waited a little late, but I’ll take it.”
Lochte, 27, beat Phelps, 26, in their first meeting of the trials three days ago -- the 400-meter individual medley, in which Phelps is the Olympic champion and Lochte is the world champion.
“Glad I got one back,” Phelps said. “We’re going to have a lot more of these.”
The two will meet once more in the 200-meter individual medley. The semifinals are tomorrow, with the final the following day.
Franklin, who collected three gold medals at last year’s world championships, won the 100-meter backstroke final in 58.85 seconds. Rachel Bootsma, 18, was second in 59.49, ahead of Natalie Coughlin, who won the event at the 2004 and 2008 Games.
“I can’t even put it in words,” said Franklin. “It means so much to me.”
Franklin said Coughlin, 29, was her role model during her early years of swimming. She said she wants Coughlin to qualify for the team.
Coughlin’s last chance to be on her third Olympic team is the 100-meter freestyle. The semifinals will be tomorrow and the finals on June 30.
“It’s not exactly what I was hoping for coming into this,” Coughlin said. “I’m a little bummed, but not nearly as much as everyone is expecting me to be. I have another shot to make the team in the 100 free, and I’m looking forward to that. For the rest of this season, I’m a freestyler.”
Breeja Larson will also be going to her first Olympics after winning the women’s 100-meter breaststroke final in 1:05.92, seven hundredths faster than Rebecca Soni.
Matt Grevers won the men’s 100-meter backstroke in 52.08 seconds. Nick Thoman, who covered the distance in 52.86 seconds, captured the second Olympic spot for the U.S. in that event.
“It was comfortable,” Grevers said. “Perfect training.”
Thoman said he couldn’t believe he secured a spot in the Olympics.
“I looked at the scoreboard, looked back and looked again,” he said. “I didn’t realize I made it.”
Today’s finals are the women’s 200-meter freestyle and 200- meter individual medley and the men’s 200-meter butterfly.
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