Michael Phelps earned his first win in his final race at a Pro Swim Series meet in Minneapolis on Saturday night.
Phelps captured the 200m individual medley in 1:59.30, beating Olympian Conor Dwyer by 1.43 seconds at the Olympic season-opening domestic meet. Phelps, the three-time reigning Olympic 200m IM champion, has the fastest time in the world this year — 1:54.75 set in August.
Swimmers peak for summer meets and not November ones, so being 4.55 seconds slower on Saturday was not a concern.
Phelps finished the meet, his first in three months, with a win, a runner-up and a third-place finish among five finals swims. Full meet results are here.
“I’m happy that I was about where I was at the end of last season before Nationals [in August], and it was still with a terrible last 50 [meters] and a bad finish,” Phelps, who swam 1:59.39 on June 21 and 1:57.58 at the Minneapolis meet in November 2011, told media in Minneapolis. “Coming off of this, it’s just really working on all the small things. We’ve gotten to the point where we’re finally in shape again.”
More impressive was Missy Franklin, who snapped a six-meet drought with her first individual race win since June on Friday. Franklin looked even stronger Saturday in her trademark event, winning the 200m backstroke in 2:07.24.
That’s Franklin’s second-fastest time ever in her world-record event at a meet that’s not an Olympics, World Championships or U.S. Summer Nationals.
“Beyond ecstatic,” Franklin told media in Minneapolis.
Katie Ledecky finished the meet with her third victory in as many days, taking the 800m freestyle in 8:19.16. In a rarity, another swimmer was fairly close to her — 17-year-old Becca Mann. Mann was 2.61 seconds behind and outsplit Ledecky over the final 400 meters, swimming the second half of the race faster than her first half.
Ledecky’s time was 11.77 seconds slower than her world record set Aug. 8, while Mann swam the fastest 800m free by an American other than Ledecky since 2010 (Kate Ziegler).
Franklin and Ledecky went head-to-head in the 100m freestyle later Saturday. Neither won, but Ledecky was faster than Franklin by .31 after the two had matching times in the morning preliminary heats.
Simone Manuel touched first in 54.19, with Ledecky in fourth at 54.95 and Franklin in sixth.
Ledecky has a shot at making the U.S. Olympic 4x100m free relay pool (top six at trials generally make the pool) but is ranked No. 9 overall in the U.S. in the event this year. Franklin is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for the year.
“My shorter are events are a little better than my longer events, but I think that’s just from being in pretty tough training,” Ledecky told media in Minneapolis.
Olympic champion Nathan Adrian won the men’s 100m freestyle in 48.49, which was .18 off his seventh-place swim at the World Championships on Aug. 6.
The next notable swim meets are Winter Nationals (which Phelps said he plans to swim) in Federal Way, Wash., from Dec. 3-5 and Duel in the Pool in Indianapolis from Dec. 11-12 (and on NBC on Dec. 19 from 4-6 p.m. ET), featuring Franklin and Ryan Lochte.