Phelps focused on fly, not Lochte

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Phelps focused on fly, not Lochte

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte turned their attention to other swimmers at the US Olympic trials Thursday, Phelps vying for a shot at a 200m butterfly three-peat as Lochte tackled the 100m free.

By (AFP)

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Published: Fri 29 Jun 2012, 12:05 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 8:38 AM

Phelps, whose 14 Olympic gold medals include 200m fly victories at Athens and Beijing, also owns three world titles and the world record and will be heavily favored in the final of an event which Lochte isn’t swimming.

Among the other contenders, Bobby Bollier and Davis Tarwater posted the first and second-fastest times in the semi-finals on Wednesday night.

Phelps settled for the third-fastest semi-final time on a night when his energy was focused on beating Lochte in the 200m free.

He did it by a hair — five-hundredths of a second — to even their trials score at 1-1 after Lochte edged him in the 400m medley on Monday.

The top two in each event in the eight-day meeting secure spots on the London Games team.

Lochte was in action on Thursday morning, posting the fifth-fastest time in the 100m freestyle heats led by unheralded Scot Robison (49.08).

Robison delivered a poised performance in an event packed with veteran Olympians.

“You just have to believe that you belong in that group,” he said.

Jason Lezak, who surged past France’s Alain Bernard on the final leg of the 4x100m free relay in Beijing to help keep Phelps’s eight-gold bid alive — was ninth-quickest in the heats.

“I’ve got to be faster tonight,” the 36-year-old said.

Enigmatic Anthony Ervin, who won 50m free gold in 2000 and is making a comeback after retiring in 2003, was 11th fastest.

“How do you spell suffer?” quipped the 31-year-old, who is also entered in the 50m free.

Phelps opted out of the 100m free, believing his status as the second-fastest ever US performer in the event would keep him in the mix for the 4x100 free relay in London.

Brendan Hansen and Eric Shanteau, who booked Olympic spots with a one-two finish in the 100m breaststroke, made it safely into the 200m semi-finals. Shanteau was third-fastest and Hansen fifth-fastest in the heats led by Clark Burckle (2:10.32).

In Thursday’s other finals, 17-year-old Missy Franklin will try to fill out her Olympic schedule in the 200m freestyle, a day after winning the 100m backstroke in an American record time.

Caitlin Leverenz and Elizabeth Beisel are the top two qualifiers heading into the women’s 200m medley final ahead of Ariana Kukors, who set the world record in 2009 in the era of the now-banned high-tech bodysuits.



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