On Saturday night, Michael Phelps reminded everyone why he's the most decorated Olympic athlete in history. Phelps dominated the 400 individual medley in a time of 4:16.95, and the race wasn't close for a second.
At the first turn, Phelps was over a second ahead of the field, and was on pool record pace until he slowed in freestyle, showing obvious signs of fatigue. Heading into his fourth Olympics, many wonder how many more miraculous performances Phelps has left like what he showed in Beijing in 2008.
Phelps, who could qualify in eight events like he did in the last Olympics, will probably choose a slightly abbreviated schedule in London, especially with a surging Ryan Lochte challenging Phelps in the individual medley events. They'll meet in Sunday's 200 IM final.
Phelps wasn't the only Maryland swimmer to open the night well. RMSC's Charlotte Meyer (17) dropped five seconds from her prelims time to win the “C” Final in the women's 400 IM in 4:56.19, a new personal best.
Jack Conger (17) won his heat in the “B” Final of the men's 200 backstroke in 2:02.77. Matt Grevers was the winner in the “A” Final in a time of 1:57.76. Lochte faded to third in 1:59. 53, despite having the lead after the first lap.
Allison Schmitt won the women's 200 freestyle in 1:55.83, for her second win. She bested Missy Franklin, who placed second in 1:57.86.
Ricky Berens and Matt McLean (Sterling, Va.) battled in the men's 200 freestyle. Berens took an early lead, before McLean surged ahead in the third length. But a blistering split in the final 50-meters sealed the win for Berens, who won in 1:47.92. McLean finished second in 1:48.02.
manda Weircontinued to impress in the freestyle events, winning the women's 50 freestyle in 25.23. Weird finished third in the 100 freestyle, last night, behind Franklin and Schmitt.
For complete results from the first night of the Austin Grand Prix, click here.
Swimmers to watch on last day of finals
If you can only catch one race from tonight's finals, the men's 200 IM will be worth making time for. Phelps and Lochte are both training through this weekend's events, but that doesn't mean these competitors don't want to win.
The reigning Olympic champion, Phelps, is the top qualifier, but Lochte, the world record holder, will be right beside him, in what will most certainly be a preview of this year's Olympic final.
Haase is the number two qualifier in women's 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:09.45, a new personal best for the 17-year-old senior. She'll face Rebecca Soni in tonight's final, the 2008 silver medalist in the event.
Franklin was the top qualifier in the women's 100 backstroke in 1:00.74, but expect a great race from Olympic champion Natalie Coughlin, who will be right beside Franklin in tonight's final.
The women's 200 IM will feature Katie Hoff, Coughlin, and Franklin, along with Canadian Olympian Julia Wilkinson, who will be right on the American's heels.
The men's 100 backstroke will feature Nick Thoman and Matt Grevers as the top seeds, along with Michael Phelps who qualified fifth. Conger advanced to the “C” Final. Lochte will appear in the “B” Final.
Finals begin at 7 p.m. USA Swimming will have a live webcast of the meet online throughout the weekend. For additional information visit www.usaswimming.org/grandprix.