Omaha - Michael
Phelps took another step toward a last Olympic hurrah on Tuesday as
2012 gold medalists Missy Franklin and Matt Grevers failed to qualify at
the US swimming trials for the Rio Games.
Franklin and Grevers were just the latest big names to fall in Omaha,
where Ryan Lochte had already failed to qualify to defend his 400m
individual medley crown.
Franklin, whose four gold medals in London included the 100m and 200m
backstroke, could manage only seventh place in the 100m back won by
Olivia Smoliga in 59.02.
Kathleen Baker finished second in 59.29 to put herself on the road to Rio.
The only swimmer to finish behind Franklin was 33-year-old Natalie
Coughlin, who won gold in the event in the 2004 and 2008 Games.
"Oh my gosh, it was a star-studded field," Smoliga said. "To have all
those girls in there, and I know every single one of them, so it's so
comforting to have them in the ready room."
"You know they're going to put up such a great race, such a great
fight, and it was a fight," she added. "I'm just so happy with the
Franklin faced an uphill battle after posting the seventh-fastest
semi-final time, and the 21-year-old couldn't produce a miracle from
Her time of 1:00.24 left her 1.22 off the pace.
Less than half an hour earlier, she eased into the final of the 200m
freestyle with the fourth-fastest time in the semi-finals, which were
led by the indomitable Katie Ledecky.
"I am feeling more pressure than I ever have before," Franklin
admitted. "Right now, I need to make the team in whatever way that looks
Grevers, the men's 100m back gold medalist in 2012, came up just
short in that event, finishing third in a scintillating final won by
Ryan Murphy in 52.26.
David Plummer grabbed the second Rio berth in 52.28, with Grevers out in the cold in 52.76.
"My heart breaks for Matt," Murphy said. "He's been dominant in that event for so long."
But the 20-year-old who won relay gold at last year's world
championships has high hopes of keeping the 100m back title in US hands.
"Hopefully, we have a good shot of going one-two," he said.
Townley Haas, 19, won the men's 200m free final in 1:45.66, just one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Conor Dwyer.
Lochte, the 11-time Olympic
medalist battling a groin injury that has threatened his Rio bid, is at
least assured of travelling to the Games as part of the relay pool
thanks to a fourth-place finish - 96-hundredths of a second behind the
"I'm just happy that I'm going to Rio," he said.
Lochte still has the 200m backstroke, 200m medley and 100m free to
come, but, ominously, described the pain from his injury as "seven or
eight" on a scale of one to 10.
"I can't really think about that," he said. "I made the Olympic team, I'm going to Rio."
Lilly King booked her first Olympic berth in style, winning the 100m
breaststroke in 1:05.20, the world's fastest time this year.
Katie Meili stuck with her to finish second in 1:06.07, which put her inside the top five in the world this year.
Of the eight swimmers to punch their tickets in individual events on Wednesday, only Dwyer has competed in the Games before.
The bevy of new Olympians produced in the first three days of racing
caught the eye of Phelps, who is trying to become the first US man to
make a fifth Olympic swimming team.
"I don't even know half of them," said the 18-time gold medalist who
topped the 200m butterfly semi-final times in 1:55.17 and can clinch is
Rio berth in Wednesday's final.
"It's good for our sport," he added.
"It's exciting to have new faces of people who are really pumped to
come up into the sport. That's a good thing to see as I'm on my way
on Tuesday at the US Olympic Swimming Trials at CenturyLink Centre in
Omaha, Nebraska (Top 2 finishers in each event can qualify for Rio de
200m Freestyle final
1. Townley Haas 1:45.66
2. Conor Dwyer 1:45.67
3. Jack Conger 1:45.77
4. Ryan Lochte 1:46.62
5. Gunnar Bentz 1:47.33
6. Clark Smith 1:47.53
7. Tyler Clary 1:47.78
8. Jonathan Roberts 1:49.50
100m Backstroke final
1. Ryan Murphy 52.26
2. David Plummer 52.28
3. Matt Grevers 52.76
4. Jacob Pebley 52.95
5. Michael Taylor 54.04
6. John Shebat 54.20
7. Sean Lehane 54.72
and Jake Taylor 54.72
200m Butterfly Qualifiers for final
1. Michael Phelps 1:55.17
2. Pace Clark 1:56.27
3. Tom Shields 1:56.35
4. Chase Kalisz 1:56.48
5. Gunnar Bentz 1:56.82
6. Zach Harting 1:56.99
7. Jack Conger 1:57.02
8. Andrew Seliskar 1:57.10
100m Backstroke final
1. Olivia Smoliga 59.02
2. Kathleen Baker 59.29
3. Amy Bilquist 59.37
4. Ali Deloof 59.69
5. Hannah Stevens 59.97
6. Clara Smiddy 1:00.12
7. Missy Franklin 1:00.24
8. Natalie Coughlin 1:00.48
100m Breaststroke final
1. Lilly King 1:05.20
2. Katie Meili 1:06.77
3. Molly Hannis 1:06.65
4. Breeja Larson 1:07.53
5. Andee Cottrell 1:07.59
6. Jessica Hardy 1:07.73
7. Sarah Haase 1:08.01
8. Miranda Tucker 1:08.19
200m Freestyle Qualifiers for final
1. Katie Ledecky 1:55.10
2. Leah Smith 1:56.73
3. Allison Schmitt 1:57.05
4. Missy Franklin 1:57.33
5. Melanie Margalis 1:57.35
6. Simone Manuel 1:57.82
7. Cierra Runge 1:58.10
8. Katie McLaughlin 1:58.43
200m Individual Medley Qualifiers for final
1. Maya DiRado 2:10.09
2. Melanie Margalis 2:10.41
3. Madisyn Cox 2:11.39
4. Caitlin Leverenz 2:11.39
5. Bethany Galat 2:12.29
6. Ella Eastin 2:12.68
7. Meghan Small 2:13.00
8. Emily Cameron 2:13.36