Phelps locks up another 8-race program in London
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Michael Phelps' Olympic program is set. He'll be going for another eight gold medals.
Phelps wrapped up another stellar week at the U.S. trials Sunday night, rallying to win the 100-meter butterfly and secure his spot in five individual races at the Olympics. Throw in the three relays, and that adds up to eight.
"I guess that's OK,'' Phelps said nonchalantly.
Phelps was slow off the blocks and made the turn in sixth place. But he caught Tyler McGill on the return lap and surged to the wall to win 51.14 seconds, well off his world-record pace (49.82) but fastest in the world this year.
McGill hung on for the second Olympic spot in 51.32. Ryan Lochte, swimming an event he normally doesn't in major competitions, just missed adding another race to his already busy program. He was third, 33-hundreths behind McGill.
Phelps, who won an Olympic-record eight golds four years ago, is set to swim the same in individual events in London: the 100 and 200 fly, the 200 and 400 individual medley and the 200 freestyle.
In an ominous sign for his rivals, Phelps isn't happy with just winning. He's still looking for the perfect race.
"That was a pretty crappy first 50 and a pretty terrible finish,'' Phelps said. "I should have taken another stroke. It felt OK. It didn't feel great, didn't feel terrible.
"It's done, we're done.''
Well, not quite.
The races that really matter are still to come.
"It shows that I can do the kind of event program like this at a high level again,'' Phelps said. "We were struggling over the last couple years at doing one event at this level. (It's good) being able to get a couple under the belt this week and hopefully build off of this. It will be good to get home and start heading toward London.''
Phelps' legacy is already secure, no matter what he does in London.
Lochte, who already has three races against Phelps in London and a fourth individual event in the 200 backstroke, surprised everyone by sticking with the 100 fly at the end of a grueling week.
He nearly pulled it off, too. If not for McGill's blistering start, Lochte probably would have gotten the second spot.
But he never had any real intention of swimming the 100 fly at the Olympics because it would have left him with three events in one day near the end of the swimming program.
"I don't want to do that triple again in London,'' Lochte said. "I have no regrets. This meet was a training meet.''
He plans on being even stronger at the games.
"I wanted to go at the end of this meet knowing that there is so much left,'' Lochte said. "I haven't fully rested yet. Come London, I'll have that full taper and be fully rested and hopefully I'll be a lot faster.''
He enjoyed getting another chance to race Phelps, even if he didn't have much chance of beating him.
"It was fun,'' Lochte said. "It was something I've never done before at a big swim meet. I just went out there and had fun.''