US swimmer Phelps wins fly, falls in free
Austin: Michael Phelps beat Ryan Lochte in the 100m butterfly final of the Austin Grand Prix, but the 14-time Olympic champion didn’t even get a shot at Lochte in the 200m freestyle.
Phelps, who established himself as swimming’s superstar with eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympics, saw Lochte dominate the sport in 2010 as Phelps paid the price for what he admitted was a lax approach to training.
In a world championship year in which Phelps has vowed to get his 2012 Olympic campaign on track, the swimmer from Baltimore clocked 52.55sec Friday to win the 100m fly ahead of Lochte (53.65) - but was relegated to the “B” final in the 200m free.
Phelps said he was shocked by his 200m free qualifying time of 1:55.04 - which made him the last qualifier for the consolation final.
He got it together to win the B final in 1:49.90 - a time that would have put him runner up to Lochte, who won the A final in 1:49.25.
“The stroke doesn’t feel as good as it should,” Phelps said. “There’s a ton to work on right now. To come here and be able to race these guys, gives me a little more fire. That’s what I wanted for the rest of the year.”
Lochte wasn’t at the top of his game in the free heats either. He was the eighth and final qualifier for the A final.
“Our morning swims were very shaky,” Lochte said. “We always love racing each other. If we were together in the same one, it would have been a really good race.”
That came to pass in the butterfly, in which Lochte was satisfied with his runner-up finish in an event he rarely swims.
“It’s tough. But it was fun to get out there and race,” Lochte said.
Lochte was the only swimmer in the world to post world records in 2010, as the change in swimsuit rules saw times roll back. He clocked two at the short course world championships in Dubai last month, where he won all five of his individual races.
Lochte also beat Phelps in the 200m backstroke and 200m individual medley at the US nationals in August.
They’re slated to go head-to-head in the 100m backstroke on Saturday and 200m medley on Sunday.
Despite his success of 2010, Lochte said he can’t consider himself as starting the 2011 season - highlighted by the World Championships in Shanghai in July - with the edge on Phelps.
“I’m back at the bottom trying to work my way back up,” he said.