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Phelps easily beats Lochte in 100 butterfly

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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Michael Phelps surged to the wall and quickly searched for the scoreboard.

He liked what he saw.

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 night.

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.”

He had no trouble finishing ahead of Lochte, though it really wasn’t a fair fight. Phelps’ longtime foe 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.

More important for Lochte – his left knee seemed to hold up well.

This is his first meet for the laid-back Floridian 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, at least in his signature fly, 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.

“I am very pleased with being able to go 51,” Phelps said. “But in the grand scheme of things, I think it’s just a small steppingstone to go where we hope to be.”

He is still struggling with the consistency of his stroke. When things are going well, Phelps needs 16 strokes to cover the first 50 meters, 18 for the return lap. When he’s just a little off, he winds up gliding into the wall too much, either when he’s making his flip turn or coming to the finish.

“I was kind of bummed that I still can’t hit a wall correctly,” Phelps said.

Added his coach, Bob Bowman, “He looked crazy coming off the wall.”

All in all, though, no complaints.

Phelps, who retired after the last Olympics and stayed away from the pool for more than a year, didn’t come back to tarnish his legacy, which includes 18 golds and 22 medals overall – far more than any other Olympic athlete.

“I always set high expectations for myself, no matter what I’m doing,” he said. “Bob and I have a plan of what I want to do. He knows what it’s going to take to get there.”

In other events, French Olympic star Yannick Agnel took the men’s 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 47.27 seconds, followed by U.S. Olympians Conor Dywer (1:47.44) and Connor Jaeger (1:47.94). Lochte, swimming in that consolation final, actually posted the fourth-fastest time of the evening at 1:48.69, some 4 seconds faster than he went in the morning preliminaries while wearing a non-racing suit.

Allison Schmitt, coming back strong after a disappointing post-Olympic year, won the women’s 200 freestyle in 1:58.16. Winner of five medals in London, she struggled a bit with fame and didn’t even qualify for the 2013 worlds.

She’s back on track with the Rio Games just two years away.

“I have more goals that I want to accomplish, which is why I’m back,” Schmitt said. “I’m looking forward to this summer.”

In the 400 individual medley, Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary blew away the field in the men’s race. His time of 4:21.66 was nearly 4 1/2 seconds ahead of runner-up Kevin Litherland. Melanie Margalis finished first on the women’s side.

Micah Lawrence touched first in the women’s 100 breaststroke, while the men’s breaststroke was captured by Nicolas Fink. Seventeen-year-old Kathleen Baker took the women’s 100 fly in 59.69, the only swimmer to break the minute barrier.

Of course, Phelps drew most of the attention.

His main foe was impressed by what he saw.

“He swam a fantastic race,” Lochte said. “That was really fast.”

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Phelps easily beats Lochte in 100 butterfly

KDWN

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Michael Phelps surged to the wall and quickly searched for the scoreboard.

He liked what he saw.

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 night.

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.”

He had no trouble finishing ahead of Lochte, though it really wasn’t a fair fight. Phelps’ longtime foe 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.

More important for Lochte – his left knee seemed to hold up well.

This is his first meet for the laid-back Floridian 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, at least in his signature fly, 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.

“I am very pleased with being able to go 51,” Phelps said. “But in the grand scheme of things, I think it’s just a small steppingstone to go where we hope to be.”

He is still struggling with the consistency of his stroke. When things are going well, Phelps needs 16 strokes to cover the first 50 meters, 18 for the return lap. When he’s just a little off, he winds up gliding into the wall too much, either when he’s making his flip turn or coming to the finish.

“I was kind of bummed that I still can’t hit a wall correctly,” Phelps said.

Added his coach, Bob Bowman, “He looked crazy coming off the wall.”

All in all, though, no complaints.

Phelps, who retired after the last Olympics and stayed away from the pool for more than a year, didn’t come back to tarnish his legacy, which includes 18 golds and 22 medals overall – far more than any other Olympic athlete.

“I always set high expectations for myself, no matter what I’m doing,” he said. “Bob and I have a plan of what I want to do. He knows what it’s going to take to get there.”

In other events, French Olympic star Yannick Agnel took the men’s 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 47.27 seconds, followed by U.S. Olympians Conor Dywer (1:47.44) and Connor Jaeger (1:47.94). Lochte, swimming in that consolation final, actually posted the fourth-fastest time of the evening at 1:48.69, some 4 seconds faster than he went in the morning preliminaries while wearing a non-racing suit.

Allison Schmitt, coming back strong after a disappointing post-Olympic year, won the women’s 200 freestyle in 1:58.16. Winner of five medals in London, she struggled a bit with fame and didn’t even qualify for the 2013 worlds.

She’s back on track with the Rio Games just two years away.

“I have more goals that I want to accomplish, which is why I’m back,” Schmitt said. “I’m looking forward to this summer.”

In the 400 individual medley, Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary blew away the field in the men’s race. His time of 4:21.66 was nearly 4 1/2 seconds ahead of runner-up Kevin Litherland. Melanie Margalis finished first on the women’s side.

Micah Lawrence touched first in the women’s 100 breaststroke, while the men’s breaststroke was captured by Nicolas Fink. Seventeen-year-old Kathleen Baker took the women’s 100 fly in 59.69, the only swimmer to break the minute barrier.

Of course, Phelps drew most of the attention.

His main foe was impressed by what he saw.

“He swam a fantastic race,” Lochte said. “That was really fast.”

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Phelps easily beats Lochte in 100 butterfly

KDWN

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Michael Phelps powered to the wall and quickly searched for the scoreboard.

He liked what he saw.

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 night.

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.”

He had no trouble finishing ahead of Lochte, though it really wasn’t a fair fight. Phelps’ longtime foe also swam the 200 freestyle, winning the “B” final less than an hour before he returned to the water to face a rested Phelps.

More important for Lochte – his left knee seemed to hold up well.

This is his first meet for the laid-back Floridian 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, at least in his signature fly, 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.

“I am very pleased with being able to go 51,” Phelps said. “But in the grand scheme of things, I think it’s just a small steppingstone to go where we hope to be.”

He is still struggling with the consistency of his stroke. When things are going well, Phelps needs 16 strokes to cover the first 50 meters, 18 for the return lap. When he’s just a little off, he winds up gliding into the wall too much, either when he’s making a flip turn or coming to the finish.

“I was kind of bummed that I still can’t hit a wall correctly,” Phelps said.

Added his coach, Bob Bowman, “He looked crazy coming off the wall.”

All in all, though, no complaints.

Phelps, who retired after the last Olympics and stayed away from the pool for more than a year, didn’t come back to tarnish his legacy, which includes 18 golds and 22 medals overall – far more than any other Olympic athlete.

“I always set high expectations for myself, no matter what I’m doing,” he said. “Bob and I have a plan of what I want to do. He knows what it’s going to take to get there.”

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Phelps easily beats Lochte in 100 butterfly

KDWN

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Michael Phelps powered to the wall and quickly searched for the scoreboard.

He liked what he saw.

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 night.

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.”

He had no trouble finishing ahead of Lochte, though it really wasn’t a fair fight. Phelps’ longtime foe also swam the 200 freestyle, winning the “B” final less than an hour before he returned to the water to face a rested Phelps.

More important for Lochte – his left knee seemed to hold up well.

This is his first meet for the laid-back Floridian 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, at least in his signature fly, 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.

“I am very pleased with being able to go 51,” Phelps said. “But in the grand scheme of things, I think it’s just a small steppingstone to go where we hope to be.”

He is still struggling with the consistency of his stroke. When things are going well, Phelps needs 16 strokes to cover the first 50 meters, 18 for the return lap. When he’s just a little off, he winds up gliding into the wall too much, either when he’s making a flip turn or coming to the finish.

“I was kind of bummed that I still can’t hit a wall correctly,” Phelps said.

Added his coach, Bob Bowman, “He looked crazy coming off the wall.”

All in all, though, no complaints.

Phelps, who retired after the last Olympics and stayed away from the pool for more than a year, didn’t come back to tarnish his legacy, which includes 18 golds and 22 medals overall – far more than any other Olympic athlete.

“I always set high expectations for myself, no matter what I’m doing,” he said. “Bob and I have a plan of what I want to do. He knows what it’s going to take to get there.”

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Phelps easily beats Lochte in 100 butterfly

KDWN

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will resume their comebacks during a special meet at the University of Georgia this week.

The Bulldog Grand Slam will feature some of the top teams in the country, including Phelps’ North Baltimore Aquatic Club and Lochte’s SwimMAC Carolina team based in Charlotte.

Phelps, who has captured a record 18 Olympic gold medals in his career, will be competing for the fourth time since coming out of retirement. Lochte is set to return to racing after having complications with his surgically repaired left knee.

The meet, hosted by the Athens Bulldog Swim Club at Gabrielsen Natatorium, was hastily arranged in the past few months to give the top U.S. swimmers a chance to take part in another event this summer before the two more important competitions of the year. The national championships will be held in Irvine, California, from Aug. 6-10, followed two weeks later by the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia.

Those meets will determine the U.S. team for next year’s world championships in Russia.

Phelps is scheduled to compete in the 100-meter butterfly Friday, the 100 backstroke Saturday, and the 100 freestyle Sunday. Lochte has entered the same three events, as well as four other races. But it is doubtful the 11-time Olympic medalist will compete in them all coming off knee surgery late last year, especially after his initial comeback was derailed by pain and swelling.

Lochte was injured in November when an exuberant teenage fan ran at him. The swimmer tried to catch her, the two fell over and Lochte hit his left knee on a curb, tearing one ligament and spraining another.

He returned in April for an Arizona meet, but pushed himself a little too hard and had to sit out the final two Grand Prix meets of the season.

The Athens meet will be an important test of how well Lochte’s knee holds up, especially if he does the breaststroke. He has entered the 200 individual medley, which includes the breast.

Phelps retired after the 2012 London Olympics, but returned to training last year. He has been steadily building his endurance through competitions and a grueling training session in the Colorado mountains.

Two weeks ago at a Grand Prix meet in Santa Clara, he tied for first in the 100 fly, finished second in the 100 free and 200 free, and settled for third in the 200 IM.

Phelps and Lochte won’t be the only big names at the four-day meet in Athens, which begins Thursday. The field also includes Olympic gold medalists Allison Schmitt, Tyler Clary, Cullen Jones, Yannick Agnel of France and Ous Mellouli of Tunisia.

Phelps easily beats Lochte in 100 butterfly

KDWN

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Michael Phelps has won the 100-meter butterfly at the Bulldog Grand Slam, easily beating rival Ryan Lochte.

Phelps touched Friday night with an impressive time of 51.67 seconds, the third-fastest time in the world this year. Lochte was a distant second in 53.08.

This is the final tuneup for Phelps and Lochte before next month’s national championships in Irvine, California. Both are in the midst of comebacks – Phelps returning to the pool after retiring, Lochte coming back from a knee injury that has limited him to only one other meet this season.

Results from the national championships and the Pan Pacific Championships, which will be held in Australia later in August, will determine the U.S. team for the 2015 world championships.