By Sharon Robb

December 3, 2015—Fifteen years after making his Federal Way, Wash. debut at age 15, Michael Phelps took a trip down memory lane Thursday at the AT&T Winter National Championships at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

Phelps, swimming in Lane 6, won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:57.61. Phelps led the race from start-to-finish going out in 25.44.

Phelps is a three-time Olympic champion in the 200 IM.

“The time was fine, for right now I think it’s really good,” Phelps said. “I dropped two seconds since the Minneapolis meet. The biggest thing is being able to move forward during the season. I think I am in a good place.

“I think back when I was 15 it was different because I was racing with so many older guys and the thing that made me so hungry was wanting to beat every single one of them,” Phelps said. “Now I’m the old man.”

Phelps has the 100 butterfly on Friday and 200 butterfly on Saturday remaining.

In other championship finals:

Women’s 400-meter freestyle: Allison Schmitt, 25, of North Baltimore Aquatic Club won the first event of the meet in 4:06.88. Florida alum Elizabeth Beisel was sixth in 4:10.21. “I am happy with where I am at right now, we’ve been working really hard,” Schmitt said. “That is my fastest time since London.”

Men’s 400-meter freestyle: Florida alum Conor Dwyer of Trojan Swim Club won in 3:48.11. “I watched Allison kill it and wanted to go out like her,” said Dwyer, who has been altitude training. “I felt great this morning and went out hard tonight.” Finland’s Matias Koski broke his own national record in 3:49.37 to win the B final.

Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Maya DiRado of Stanford won in 2:11.10 holding off a charging Caitlin Leverenz of Cal Aquatics who finished in 2:11.79. “I had to work my breaststroke since it’s always my weakest point,” DiRado said. “I felt strong on freestyle coming home so that was really encouraging. The time excites me moving forward with my training.”

Women’s 50-meter freestyle: Sprinter Simone Manuel, the only American to be ranked in the Top 10 this year in the event, came from behind to win by 3/100ths of a second in 24.83. Abbey Weitzeil was second in 24.86. Veteran Natalie Coughlin, an early leader after a great start, was fifth in 25.27. Six of the top eight U.S. Olympic trials qualifiers were in the field. “I was most focused on my start because I was shaky this morning,” Manuel said.

Men’s 50-meter freestyle: American record holder Nathan Adrian of Cal Aquatics, after a poor start, won in 21.76, sixth fastest time in the world. Canadian and Bolles alum Santo Condorelli was third in 22.04. Adrian was the fifth slowest off the blocks. “I tried to start fast and finish as fast as possible,” Adrian said. “My confidence level is good. These races are all snapshots on our way to the Olympic trials.”

All three South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers also competed on opening day.

SOFLO’s U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue swam the 50-meter freestyle in 26.30. She swims her signature event, the 100-meter butterfly, on Friday.

Two-time Colombian Olympian Carolina Colorado competed in the first of her four events. She finished the 50-meter freestyle in 26.52. She swims the 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter backstroke on Friday; and 200-meter backstroke on Saturday.

Kile Aukerman swam the 200-meter individual medley in 2:07.16. He swims the 100-meter breaststroke on Friday and 200-meter breaststroke on Saturday.

The meet is a FINA-approved competition where swimmers can achieve qualifying times for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Friday’s events are 400-meter individual medley, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke and 100-meter backstroke.

The three-day meet will be broadcast on NBC Universal. NBC will also air the meet on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST. Check local listings for times in your area. Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals 6 p.m. Pacific Time. The meet will also be live streamed at usaswimming.org. The meet concludes on Saturday.

THURSDAY RESULTS

WOMEN

400-meter freestyle: 1. Allison Schmitt, NBAC 4:06.88, 2. Haley Anderson, Trojan Swim Club 4:08.38, 3. Sarah Henry, AGS 4:08.86.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Maya DiRado, STAN 2:11.10, 2. Caitlin Leverenz, CAL 2:11.79, 3. Kathleen Baker, CAL 2:12.13.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Simone Manuel, Unattached 24.83, 2. Abbey Weitzeil, CANY 24.86, 3. Farida Osman, CAL 25.22.

MEN

400-meter freestyle: 1. Conor Dwyer, Trojan Swim Club 3:48.11, 2. Ryan Cochrane, Canada, 3:50.15, 3. Michael McBroom, TWST 3:50.50.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Michael Phelps, NBAC 1:57.61, 2. Chase Kalisz, NBAC 1:58.77, 3. Eduardo Solaeche, GSC 2:00.14.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Nathan Adrian, Cal Aquatics 21.76, 2. Brad Tandy, FORD 21.87, Santo Condorelli, CANY 22.04.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

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