Michael Phelps loses 100m butterfly by .01, makes Pan Pacs

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IRVINE, Calif. — The great Michael Phelps is back, they said after the morning prelims.

“Not yet,” his longtime coach, Bob Bowman, said after the night final. “That was pretty terrible.”

Phelps lost the 100m butterfly (by .01) at a national meet for the first time since the 2004 Olympic Trials on Friday night.

Phelps actually clocked the fastest time of the day, and the fastest time of anyone in the world this year. But he did that in the preliminary heats.

In the final, he went .13 slower. Phelps, known for heart-pounding come-from-behind victories in the 100m fly before his retirement, could not out-touch Tom Shields after running him down over the final 50 meters.

Shields, 23, won in 51.29 seconds, two nights after capturing the 200m fly for his first career national title. Phelps was 51.30.

He was seventh at the 50m wall and was in between strokes going into the turn, forced to glide in and lose momentum (unlike in prelims).

Phelps, in the fifth meet of his comeback following a 20-month competitive break, could take consolation in qualifying for the Pan Pacific Championships, the biggest international meet of 2014. But he wasn’t really in the mood.

“I’m somebody who can’t stand to lose,” Phelps said. “This will definitely be something that sticks with me over the next year.”

Bowman thought Phelps looked nervous before the final, reminding him of Phelps’ first comeback race in Mesa, Ariz., in April.

The pressure of finishing top two to make the Pan Pacs team, perhaps.

That was never an issue for Phelps when he won 22 medals over three Olympics.

Bowman said he thought the last time Phelps felt pressure to make a national team was at the 2000 Olympic Trials, when Phelps was 15.

“I just felt out of it,” Phelps said Friday. “Not my normal self at finals. Normally, I’m very relaxed and very ready. It’s probably just because I’m not used to being in this kind of shape or this kind of feeling going into a meet.

“Normally, I can look back and say I’ve done all the training, I’ve done everything I needed to do to prepare myself. With having a year and a half off and maybe not really going as hard as I probably should have at some of the parts during the year, it shows.”

The razor-thin margin of defeat brought to mind Phelps’ Olympic 100m fly win in 2008, which was by .01 over Milorad Cavic.

Phelps also won the 2004 Olympic 100m fly by .04.

“It’s better to be on the losing side at a meet like this than it is at a bigger meet,” Phelps said.

Phelps, the three-time reigning Olympic 100m fly champ, still improved on a disappointing seventh-place finish in the 100m freestyle, his first event at Nationals on Wednesday.

Phelps qualified to swim any individual events he wants at the Pan Pacific Championships, Aug. 21-24 in Gold Coast, Australia.

South African Chad le Clos, who beat Phelps in the 200m butterfly at the 2012 Olympics, is the only man who has posted a faster 100m fly time than Phelps’ 51.17 since the London Games.

Phelps and Ryan Lochte are entered in both the 100m backstroke Saturday and 200m individual medley Sunday, the final two days of the U.S. Championships.

“I need more training, I need more endurance,” Phelps said. “I need to feel more comfort with my stroke.”

In other events Friday, Olympic silver medalist Elizabeth Beisel won the 400m individual medley in 4:32.98, making her the fourth-fastest woman this year.

Olympic 200m backstroke champion Tyler Clary outdueled World silver medalist Chase Kalisz in the men’s 400m IM in 4:09.51. Clary moved up to No. 2 in the world rankings for 2014.

Kendyl Stewart knocked .54 off her personal best to win the women’s 100m fly in 57.98. She edged 2012 Olympian Claire Donahue by .05.

Mishaps emerge at U.S. Championships

Morgan Hurd left off U.S. gymnastics team for world championships

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Simone Biles is joined on the U.S. team for the world gymnastics championships by five women bidding to make their first Olympic team next year.

Sunisa LeeKara EakerJade Carey, Grace McCallum and MyKayla Skinner were named to the team at the conclusion of selection camp competition Monday in Sarasota, Fla. Biles locked up the first spot by winning an all-around competition on Sunday.

A notable omission was Morgan Hurd, the 2017 World all-around champion in Biles’ absence who was fourth in the all-around at the U.S. Championships in August and ninth at the selection camp on Sunday. Hurd, who came back from December elbow surgery, was named a non-traveling alternate along with Leanne Wong.

Had Hurd made the team, she could have bid to join Biles as the only women to earn all-around medals at three straight world championships. Instead, her absence is a testament to the U.S. women’s depth.

The Americans won every Olympic or world team title dating to 2011, the longest reign of dominance since Soviet teams of the 1970s. Last year, their margin of victory — 8.766 points — was the largest in history at an Olympics or worlds.

A look at the six women on this year’s team, one of which will be designated an on-site alternate at worlds in Stuttgart, Germany:

Simone Biles
Undefeated in all-around competitions for six years, Biles will break more records in Stuttgart. The biggest one is career world championships medals. Biles is at 20, tied with Svetlana Khorkina for the female record. The overall record is 23, held by retired Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo. Last year, Biles became the first gymnast to earn medals in every event at worlds in 31 years and won the all-around by a record margin despite two falls and a kidney stone.

Sunisa Lee
The revelation of this summer. Lee went from third in the junior division at last year’s nationals to second to Biles both at nationals in August and in Sunday’s selection competition. At the latter, Lee was only .35 of a point behind Biles, closer than any of Biles’ last five margins of victory at nationals. She is the national champion on uneven bars and the youngest woman on the team at 16.

Kara Eaker
Eaker solidified her spot by placing third at the selection camp with a score that would have been runner-up to Biles on either day at nationals. Eaker was 10th at nationals with scores more than two points lower than what she did on Sunday. She is a medal contender on balance beam. Eaker had the second-highest beam score in qualifying at worlds last year but fell off the apparatus in the final, placing sixth.

Jade Carey
The 2017 World silver medalist on floor and vault. Carey decided last year to try to make the Olympic team on her own individually — a new wrinkle in Olympic qualifying this cycle — which precluded her from competing at the 2018 Worlds. She’s well on her way to clinching an Olympic spot before June’s trials, but first she will be an asset to this team as its second-ranked floor and vault gymnast behind Biles.

MyKayla Skinner
The 2016 Olympic alternate pulled off the rare feat of making a world team while being an NCAA gymnast (at Utah). Skinner returned to elite gymnastics this season for the first time since Rio and impressed Sunday, placing fourth in the all-around. Like Carey, she specializes on floor and vault.

Grace McCallum
McCallum was third in the all-around at nationals and sixth at the selection camp. The 2018 World team member is best known for her floor, too. She was seventh in qualifying at 2018 Worlds on the event but missed the final due to the two-per-country rule.

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Tommie Smith, John Carlos part of U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame class

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Tommie Smith and John Carlos are part of the 2019 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame class that will be inducted later this year.

The sprinters were sent home from the 1968 Mexico City Games after staging a protest by raising their gloved fists on the medals stand. They were long left on the sidelines at the USOPC, but the federation has worked to bring them back inside the family in recent years.

“It sends the message that maybe we had to go back in time and make some conscious decisions about whether we were right or wrong,” Carlos said, according to USA Today. “They’ve come to the conclusion that, ‘Hey man, we were wrong. We were off-base in terms of humanity relative to the human rights era.'”

The class will be inducted at a ceremony in Colorado Springs on Nov. 1. It will be the first class inducted since 2012.

The rest of the class: Candace Cable, Erin Popovich, Chris Waddell (Paralympics), Lisa Leslie (basketball), Nastia Liukin (gymnastics), Misty May-Treanor (beach volleyball), Apolo Anton Ohno (short track speedskating), Dara Torres (swimming), the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team), Ron O’Brien (diving coach) and Tim Nugent (special contributor).

After the Hall of Fame essentially stalled out, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland pushed to revive it as part of a federation effort to focus more on athletes.

“We thank them for their impact on sport and society, and for continuing to inspire the next generation of athletes and fans,” Hirshland said.

The induction of Smith and Carlos is long overdue. After being kicked out of the 1968 Olympics for their iconic raised-fist protest on the medals stand, the sprinters were left on the sideline of the official U.S. Olympic movement. Their 2016 visit to the White House, along with USOPC leaders, marked the first official event they’d been part of since their ouster in 1968.

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