Michael Phelps up and down in first swims in Charlotte

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Michael Phelps was fourth overall in 100m butterfly preliminary heats and 14th in 200m freestyle heats on his opening day of the Pro Swim Series at Charlotte on Friday morning.

The most decorated Olympian of all time, in his second meet of the year, clocked 53.51 seconds in the 100m fly. The top qualifier into Friday night’s final was Tom Shields, who beat Phelps at the 2014 U.S. Championships and touched in 52.87 on Friday morning.

Phelps, Shields and Ryan Lochte (53.62) advanced to Friday night’s top final.

The finals session starts at 6 p.m. ET, streamed on USASwimming.org.

At his first meet this year in Mesa, Ariz., last month, Phelps clocked 52.92 in his preliminary swim in the 100m fly.

Earlier Friday, Phelps swam a 200m free prelim in 1:51.44, 14th fastest across all heats to miss the top eight-swimmer final. Phelps did not swim the 200m free in Mesa, but he did clock 1:51.69 in prelims at last year’s Charlotte meet.

Lochte advanced to the top final in the 200m free on Friday.

In other events, FINA women’s Swimmer of the Year Hungarian Katinka Hosszu was fastest in 200m free prelims, while Olympic champion Allison Schmitt was third overall to make Friday night’s final. Neither World champion Missy Franklin nor Pan Pacific champion Katie Ledecky is competing in Charlotte.

Michael Phelps eyes changes entering busy Charlotte meet

Alistair Brownlee, after Ironman, leans toward Olympic return

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Alistair Brownlee is already the only triathlete with multiple Olympic titles. In July, he is reportedly leaning toward another impressive feat, to win an Olympic gold medal the summer after completing the Kona Ironman World Championships.

The Brit Brownlee said he is “definitely swinging towards” trying to qualify for the Tokyo Games, according to the Times of London. Brownlee’s manager confirmed the stance while noting that his result in the Ironman Western Australia on Dec. 1 will play into the ultimate decision.

Brownlee previously reportedly said he was “50-50” on going for the Olympics and that he had to decide between focusing on the shorter Olympic distance or the Ironman, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon.

Other Olympic triathletes transitioned to the Ironman and never went back, such as 2008 Olympic champion Jan Frodeno of Germany and two-time U.S. Olympian Sarah True.

Brownlee finished 21st in Kona on Oct. 12 in 8 hours, 25 minutes, 3 seconds, which was 33:50 behind the winner Frodeno.

Brownlee won four half Ironmans between 2017 and 2018 (sandwiched by a hip surgery), then finished second to Frodeno at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Sept. 2.

One other triathlete won an Olympic title after completing the Kona Ironman — Austrian Kate Allen, who was seventh in Kona in 2002, then took gold at the 2004 Athens Games.

MORE: 2019 Kona Ironman World Championships Results

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Alberto Salazar appeals doping ban

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it has registered an appeal by track coach Alberto Salazar against his ban for doping violations, though a hearing will take several months to prepare.

CAS says Salazar and Dr. Jeffrey Brown appealed against their four-year bans by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

After a multi-year USADA investigation, Salazar and Brown were found guilty of doping violations linked to the Nike Oregon Project training camp. USADA said Salazar ran experiments with supplements and testosterone, and possessed and trafficked the banned substance.

The case also related to falsified and incomplete medical records that disguised the work.

CAS says Salazar and Brown asked for more time to file “written submissions and evidence,” adding the hearing is “unlikely to take place before March.”

Verdicts typically take at least a further several weeks.

MORE: Mary Cain raises issues from being coached by Salazar

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