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Phelps comeback gains speed

2014-05-16 18:36
Michael Phelps (AFP)

Charlotte - Michael Phelps, whose record haul of 22 Olympic medals includes 18 golds, continued his comeback Friday by qualifying for two US Grand Prix event finals -- but he will swim only one.

The 28-year-old American, who retired after the 2012 London Olympics only to return last month, finished second in the 100-meter butterfly preliminaries in 53.26sec and eighth in the 200m freestyle preliminaries in 1:51.69 at the Charlotte Grand Prix.

Phelps decided to withdraw from the 200m free final and will swim his last race of the meet in Friday night's 100m butterfly final.

In both events, Phelps swam a time that was good enough to qualify for the US championships in August, which will be the American qualifying meet for next year's World Championships in Russia, the final major global showdown before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Phelps was 0.42 of a second off his 100m butterfly time from his first comeback meet last month in Arizona, but was only defeated in the event by Pavel Sankovic of Belarus, who led all qualifiers in on 53.23 as well as edging Phelps in their heat.

The 200m freestyle was the first in competition for Phelps since his return. The event was among those in which Phelps won when he captured a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but he did not swim it at the London Games four years later.

Phelps only reached the final after France's Yannick Agnel, the reigning world 200m freestyle champion who trains with Phelps in Baltimore, was disqualified for a false start.

American Conor Dwyer, who was second to Agnel at last year's worlds and who also trains with Phelps, was the fastest qualifier for the 200m freestyle in 1:49.31.

Read more on:    michael phelps  |  swimming
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