By Sharon Robb
July 1, 2016—In their final meeting on American soil, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, defending Olympic gold and silver medal winners, resumed their longtime rivalry Friday night at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.
Smiling and joking as they walked out of the ready room to the blocks, the pair lived up to expectations in front of a sellout crowd at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.
The longtime rivals and friends will represent the U.S. in the event for the fourth consecutive Olympic Games after Phelps finished first in 1:55.91 and Lochte was second, qualifying for his first individual event, in 1:56.22.
Lochte, still nursing a groin injury, holds the world record he set in 2011 and has won the world championships every year since 2009.
“No matter what, win or lose we have a great friendship going which is why we have such a great rivalry,” Lochte said. “This will be my first time at the Olympics not having so many events so I can buckle down and focus on my two events.”
In Friday night’s finals:
Women’s 200-meter breaststroke:
NCAA Swimmer of the Year Lilly King, 19, of Indiana swept the breaststroke events, winning in 2:24.08. Molly Hannis of Tennessee Aquatics added her name to the first-time Olympians list placing second in 2:24.39. Bethany Galat of Texas A&M finished third for the second time in the breaskstroke events in 2:24.52. She has dropped eight seconds in her event in one year.
Women’s 100-meter freestyle:
Abbey Weitzeil led from start to finish to become another first-time Olympian, winning in 53.28, a U.S. Open record. Simone Manuel, another first-timer, was second in 53.52. American record holder Amanda Weir and Lia Neal earned spots on the relay. Katie Ledecky was seventh in 53.99.
Men’s 200-meter backstroke:
Bolles alum Ryan Murphy swept the backstroke events, winning the 200 in 1:53.95, the second fastest time in the world this year. Cal Aquatics teammate Jacob Pebley finished second despite a few lane line problems. Pebley hugged the lane line and his shoulder hit the line for four strokes but he still managed to touch second in 1:54.77. Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary, in his last chance to make the team, finished third in 1:55.33 and will not return to defend his title.
“It’s awesome,” Murphy said. “I couldn’t do it without the support of my family. My grandpa has come to every one of my swim meets the past four years.”
Said Pebley, “We have been training all year. I knew if I followed Ryan in the race and kept up with him we were going to Rio.”
In the 800-meter freestyle prelims, Katie Ledecky was top qualifier in 8:10.91, third fastest in the world and 11 seconds faster than her closest competitor. At 19, Ledecky now holds all ten of the fastest times in history.
In the 200-meter backstroke women’s semifinals, Maya DiRado was the fastest qualifier in her race in 2:08.14. World record holder Missy Franklin is the second fastest qualifier, winning her semifinal in 2:08.63. Elizabeth Beisel, swimming with a fractured finger qualified fifth in 2:09.81. She took her finger tape off just before jumping in the water. Clara Smiddy of AquaKids Sharks and Michigan was tenth in 2:10.74.
Seth Stubblefield and Tim Phillips swam the world’s fourth and fifth fastest times in the world in the 100-meter butterfly. Stubblefield finished in 51.26. Phillips won his semifinal in 51.28.
Saturday’s events are: women’s 50-meter freestyle prelims and semifinals; men’s 1500-meter freestyle; 200-meter backstroke; men’s 100-meter butterfly; women’s 800-meter freestyle final; and men’s 50-meter freestyle.
NBC is broadcasting finals every night at 8 p.m. EST. USA swimming is live streaming prelims and finals at usaswimming.org.
FRIDAY FINAL RESULTS
200-meter breaststroke: 1. Lilly King, Indiana 2:24.08, 2. Molly Hannis, Tennessee Aquatics 2:24.39, 3. Bethany Galat, Texas A&M 2:24.52; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 19. Emily Kopas, Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:30.00, 50. Rachael Bradford-Feldman, Louisville 2:33.28.
100-meter freestyle: 1. Abbey Weitzeil, Canyon Aquatics 53.28, 2. Simone Manuel, Stanford 53.52, 3. Amanda Weir, SA 53.75, 4. Lia Neal, Stanford 53.77; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 29. Megan Moroney, Cavaliers 56.00, 30. Harper Bruens, Tennessee 56.03, 86. Marta Ciesla, Pine Crest Swimming 57.49, 87. Kyla Valls, Miami Swimming 57.54.
200-meter backstroke: 1. Ryan Murphy, Cal Aquatics 1:53.95, 2. Jacob Pebley, Cal Aquatics 1:54.77, 3. Tyler Clary, SwimMAC 1:55.33; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 65. Brandon Goldman, LSU Tigers 2:04.13.
200-meter individual medley: 1. Michael Phelps, North Baltimore 1:55.91, 2. Ryan Lochte, SwimMAC 1:56.22, 3. David Nolan, North Baltimore 1:59.09; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 71. Brandon Goldman, LSU Tigers 2:06.88, 78. Kile Aukerman, SOFLO 2:07.69.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com