Michael Phelps fails to qual­ify for 400 freestyle in Ari­zona

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY BETH HAR­RIS

Michael Phelps ex­pe­ri­enced his first fail­ure in his re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion af­ter a six-month sus­pen­sion.

He was too slow to qual­ify for the 400-me­ter freestyle fi­nal Fri­day in the Arena Pro Swim Se­ries meet, fin­ish­ing 17th over­all.

Swim­ming in a far out­side lane, the 18-time Olympic gold medal­ist was fourth in his heat with a time of 4 min­utes, 2.67 sec­onds. That left Phelps in the C fi­nal at night, but he didn’t swim it. In­stead, he put in some time in the TV booth, with a head­set clamped over his black Bal­ti­more Ori­oles cap.

Phelps tried the 400 free for the first time in a meet since 2009, mostly as a per­sonal chal­lenge.

“Just to see how much I can do and how much I can hang,” he said.

Now, he is look­ing ahead to Satur­day, when he’s set to com­pete in the 200 in­di­vid­ual med­ley and 100 freestyle, events more in keep­ing with his pen­chant for shorter races at this stage of his ca­reer.

Phelps won the 100

but­ter­fly on Thurs­day as he re­turned af­ter serv­ing the sus­pen­sion from USA Swim­ming for a sec­ond drunken driv­ing ar­rest. He’s com­pet­ing for the first time since last Au­gust.

He scratched the 100 back­stroke pre­lim­i­nar­ies Fri­day.

Phelps’ long­time ri­val, Ryan Lochte, also failed to make the eight-man A fi­nal. But he swam the con­so­la­tion fi­nal and wound up fourth.

In the 400 free fi­nal, Michael McB­room won in 3:50.38. Olympian Conor Dwyer took sec­ond in 3:51.87. Tyler Clary fin­ished last. Ear­lier, he was sec­ond in the 200 but­ter­fly.

World record holder Katie Ledecky won the 400 free in 4: 01.95, sec­ond- fastest in the world this year be­hind her top time of 4:00.47 in Jan­uary at Austin, Texas.

The high school se­nior from Mary­land was briefly un­der worl­drecord pace af­ter 100 me­ters and cruised home 9.49 sec­onds ahead of Dan­ish Olympian Lotte Friis, who touched in 4:10.34.

Three-time Olympian Katinka Hosszu of Hun­gary tripled, fin­ish- ing third in the 200 but­ter­fly and com­ing back less than 30 min­utes later to win the 100 back­stroke in 1:00.72. She wrapped up the night by fin­ish­ing sixth in the 400 free.

Cam­mile Adams won the 200 fly in 2:08.80.

In the back­stroke, Kirsty Coven­try of Zim­babwe, a 31-year-old for­mer Olympian, fin­ished sec­ond in 1:00.89.

Two- time Olympic medal­ist Arkady Vy­atchanin of Rus­sia won the 100 back in 53.84. De­fend­ing Olympic cham­pion Matt Gre­vers took sec­ond in 54.83.

Olympian Breeja Lar­son won the 200 breast­stroke in front of her home­town fans, fin­ish­ing in 2:27.82.

An­other vet­eran Olympian, Natalie Cough­lin, fin­ished third in the 50 free. She used the chaotic sprint race as a tuneup for the 100 free on Satur­day. Ari­anna Van­der­pool-Wal­lace of the Ba­hamas won in 24.98. Si­mone Manuel took sec­ond in 24.98 and Cough­lin touched in 25.15.

Josh Sch­nei­der won the men’s 50 free in 22.52. For­mer Olympian Cullen Jones fin­ished fifth.

AP

Michael Phelps warms up prior to com­pet­ing in the men’s 400-me­ter freestyle pre­lim­i­nary race in Mesa, Ari­zona on Fri­day, April 17.

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