Shields wins 200 fly to overshadow Phelps-Lochte matchup
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Former NCAA champion Tom Shields won the Arena Pro Swim Series’ 100-meter butterfly final Friday, overshadowing the head-to-head matchup between Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
Shields, who won five NCAA titles in three years at California, won the final in 52.12 seconds. Lochte was second at 52.52, with Phelps — the world-record holder in the event — third at 52.59.
“I always try to give this group of guys some respect,” said Shields, who also holds American record in the short-course 100 butterfly. “I knew it was going to take a pretty good swim to win. The key was being on my game today.”
Both Lochte and Phelps were swimming in the outside lines, while Shields — who had the best time in the preliminaries — was in the preferred No. 4 lane.
“It was a little weird,” Shields said. “I don’t think I’ve ever swam against Michael in the 100 fly where he hasn’t been right next to me. But that’s the way it worked out. We’ve all been swimming enough where stuff like that has happened.”
A second head-to-head matchup was avoided when Phelps failed to make the ‘A’ final in the 200 freestyle. He was 14th after the preliminaries, while Lochte was sixth. Lochte ended up fourth in the final, won by Conor Dwyer in 1:47.04. Phelps won the ‘B’ final in 1:49.12 — a time that would have put him fifth in the ‘A’ final.
“I was pretty upset after this morning, but I felt a lot better tonight,” Phelps said. “My stroke felt a lot better, but my turns are still pretty terrible. It’s frustrating, but at least it was better than what it was last year.”
Lochte and Phelps have three other potential matchups remaining in the meet — the 100 backstroke Saturday, and the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle Sunday.
Phelps is also scheduled to swim in the 200 butterfly Saturday, the first time he has raced in the event since winning the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Lochte is swimming three events Saturday, the 100 backstroke, 50 butterfly and a leg in the 800 freestyle relay.
“The times were good for me, for where I’m at right now,” said Lochte, who also swam a leg in the 400 freestyle relay team Friday with his SwimMAC Carolinas club. “But there were a lot of things that I knew while swimming that I messed up on. I need to tweak some things in practice.”
Other winners were Cody Miller (100 breaststroke), Japan’s Junya Koga (50 backstroke), and Chase Kalisz (400 IM).
Miller made a late charge to win the 100 breaststroke by 0.05 seconds over Richard Funk. Miller swam the event in 1:01.04, to Funk’s 1:01.09.
Koga, the 2009 world champion in the 100 backstroke, won the 50 backstroke in 24.75 seconds. David Plummer was second at 25.31.
Kalisz, the 2013 NCAA champion in the 400 IM, won that same event Friday in 4:14.56, edging Jay Litherland by more than five seconds. Litherland touched the wall in 4:19.59.
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu won two women’s events — the 200 freestyle and 400 individual medley. Katie Meili took the 100 breaststroke and Kirsty Coventry the 50 backstroke.
Hosszu, who won six events at last year’s Charlotte event, took the 200 freestyle in 1:55.89, nearly 1.5 seconds ahead of Allison Schmidt. She then dominated in the 400 IM, winning in 4:35.19, more than four seconds ahead of Caitlin Leverenz.
Meili won the 100 breaststroke by nearly a half-second over 2012 Olympic relay medalist Jesssica Hardy. Meili won in 1:06.50, while Hardy touched in 1:06.97.
Coventry, at age 31 one of the oldest swimmers competing in the meet, won the 50 backstroke in 28.23. She beat Ali Deloof, who touched in 28.57.