OMAHA, Neb. – After a couple of epic duels with his biggest rival, Michael Phelps made this one look easy.
Phelps stayed on course to swim eight events at the London Games, pulling away for a dominating win in the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic trials on Thursday night.
Phelps has locked up three individual events for London and he’s got two more to go in Omaha. Combined with a likely spot on all three relays, the 26-year-old from Baltimore – already the winningest Olympian in history – would have a chance to duplicate effort in Beijing if he doesn’t stumble during the last four days of the trials.
“The last 25 meters are pretty painful,” Phelps said. “I just wanted to get to the wall and secure another spot on the team.”
Davis Tarwater led at the first and second turns, but there was never any doubt about Phelps pulling ahead in his signature stroke. He surged to the front on the third leg, and was a body-length ahead of the field when he touched in 1 minute, 53.65 seconds.
The real race was for second place – and another spot on the Olympic team. Tyler Clary, who lost out to Phelps in the 400 individual medley, rallied from behind for a time of 1:55.12, edging Bouiller’s touch of 1:55.79..
Phelps isn’t the only one building a busy Olympic schedule. His training partner, Allison Schmitt, was equally dominating in the 200 free. She broke her own American record with a time of 1:54.40, the best in the world this year. Already the winner in the 400 free, she eclipsed the national record set in the 2009 world championships at Rome.
Seventeen-year-old Missy Franklin locked up another Olympic race, claiming the second 200 spot in 1:56.79.
In the women’s 200-meter individual medley, Caitlin Leverenz came from behind to lock up a trip to London with a time of 2:10.22. World and American recordholder Ariana Kukors, a 2007 graduate of Auburn Mountainview High and former UW swimmer, was third behind Elizabeth Beisel going into the final lap before rallying to secure second in 2:11.30.
Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian, a relay gold medalist in Beijing, won the semifinals of the men’s 100 free, touching the wall in 48.33 – .15 ahead of Jimmy Feigen. The final is today.