Phelps easily beats Lochte in 100 butterfly
ATHENS, Georgia (AP) — Michael Phelps turned in perhaps the most impressive performance so far in his comeback, posting the third-fastest time in the world this year while easily beating rival Ryan Lochte in the 100-meter butterfly at the Bulldog Grand Slam on Friday.
Despite some problems with his turn, Phelps had the packed house roaring when he touched in 51.67 seconds, considerably faster than the 52.11 he posted at the Santa Clara Grand Prix three weeks ago.
Lochte was a distant second in 53.08.
“I wanted to get under 52,” Phelps said, breaking into a big smile. “I was sick and tired of seeing 52.1.”
Lochte also competed in the 200 freestyle, winning the “B″ final less than an hour before he returned to the water to face a rested Phelps.
This is Lochte’s first meet since he reinjured the surgically repaired knee at the Mesa Grand Prix in April. It was initially hurt late last year when he tried to catch an exuberant fan and fell into a curb, requiring surgery.
“I hope I lose,” said Lochte, who plans to swim a grueling six events in Athens. “It will just make me more hungry.”
Phelps is set to swim three events at the weekend meet on the University of Georgia campus, a hastily arranged event that gave some of the top swimmers on the East Coast a chance to swim one more time competitively before the next month’s national championships in Irvine, California.
The results from nationals, as well as the Pan Pacific Championships being held in Australia later in August, will determine the U.S. team for the 2015 world championships.
Phelps seems to be right on course in butterfly, finishing just 0.46 off the time that won the gold at the 2012 London Olympics. The only faster times this year were Thomas Dal’s 51.44 in the Belgian Open and Viacheslav Prudnikov’s 51.60 at the Russian national championships.
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