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Phelps bests Lochte for third win at Austin Grand Prix

By Bryan Flaherty

Michael Phelps was just four and a half seconds off Ryan Lochte’s world record time, on Sunday, in the men’s 200 individual medley. That’s good news for Phelps, who has been falling behind Lochte since the FINA World Championships last summer in Shanghai.

At the Austin Grand Prix, Phelps beat Lochte by nearly two seconds, winning in 1 minute 58.52 seconds. Lochte came in well ahead of third in 2:00.30.

Both athletes were unrested for the competition, which may account for the lackluster performances by Lochte, who is known for under performing until he’s on taper.

What is apparent from this weekend is that the title of “World’s Best Swimmer” is far from decided, we’ll have to wait for London 2012 before bestowing that designation on either Phelps or Lochte.

Also in the water on Sunday, Sarah Haase, the reigning All-Met Swimmer of the Year from Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club, placed sixth overall in the women’s 100 breaststroke, finishing in 1:09.78. She was the highest finisher among the group of Potomac Valley swimmers that competed this weekend. Rebecca Soni won the event in 1:06.88.

Former area swimmer, Matt McLean, finished fourth in the men’s 1500 freestyle (15:42.46), just behind Thomas Allen and Peter Vanderkaay. Michael Kleuh won the event by a wide margin, finishing in 15:25.33.

Allison Schmitt got her third win in the freestyle events, winning the women’s 800 freestyle on Sunday. She also won the 400 freestyle in record-breaking time on the opening night.

Matt Grevers touched first in the men’s 100 backstroke in 53.55, against a fast field that included Phelps – finished third – and Lochte – finished sixth, who swam very busy schedules this weekend, including the subsequent event. Jack Conger (RMSC) finished 12th overall in 56.28.

Missy Franklin won the women’s 100 backstroke in 59.92 for her second win this weekend.

Natalie Coughlin won the women’s 200 IM (2:12.44), just beating out Katie Hoff who touched in 2:12.95. This will be one of the most competitive events at Trials this year, with the likes of Caitlin Leverenz, Elizabeth Pelton, and Elizabeth Beisel joining the field in Omaha.

For complete results from the first night of the Austin Grand Prix, click here.

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