Michael Phelps unhappy after Orlando debut without Bob Bowman

Michael Phelps
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Michael Phelps is without Bob Bowman at his side at a meet for the first time in many years, but the longtime coach is still watching and critiquing from afar.

Phelps said he texted Bowman “with some frustration” after winning the 100m butterfly in an unsatisfactory time at a Pro Swim Series meet in Orlando on Thursday night.

Bowman is across the country in Federal Way, Wash., coaching the Arizona State men’s team at the Pac-12 Championships. Phelps guessed it’s the first time he’s been at a meet without Bowman since 2007.

On Thursday, Phelps clocked 52.28 seconds in the 100m fly, .07 ahead of countryman Tom Shields. Phelps has been No. 1 and Shields has been No. 2 among Americans in the event in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Phelps, the three-time reigning Olympic 100m butterfly champion, hoped to break 52 seconds. He clocked 51.94 at his last meet in Austin, Texas, in January.

Bowman replied to Phelps’ unhappy text as soon as he climbed out of the pool.

“His response was, the swimming is fine,” Phelps told media in Orlando. “It’s just the small things you need to pay attention to a little bit more. He’s 100 percent right. Some of the butterfly sets that I’ve done [in training] over the last four to five weeks have been really good.”

Phelps said Bowman also communicated with him after the morning preliminaries, saying his 22-time Olympic medalist pupil wasn’t carrying his head correctly in the water.

“I was kind of out of it this morning,” said Phelps, who moved from Baltimore to Arizona to join Bowman in Tempe last year. “I’ve never come west to east for a meet before. So it’s kind of weird. … I hate going 52 [seconds in the 100m butterfly]. I spent a whole year doing it last year [until clocking a world-leading 50.45 at the U.S. Championships on Aug. 8]. It’s just frustrating. … If I would have been under 52, I would have been pumped.

“This race will stick with me until I have another chance to swim it again.”

In other events Thursday, Katie Ledecky captured the 200m freestyle in 1:55.73, distancing 2013 World champion Missy Franklin (1:57.67) and 2012 Olympic champion Allison Schmitt (1:58.18).

The top two at the U.S. Olympic trials on June 29 will make the Olympic team in the event.

“I’ve had some of the best weeks of training I’ve ever had these last couple of weeks,” said Ledecky, who in Austin in January clocked the fastest 200m free time in the world this year, a 1:54.43.

Later, Ledecky finished fourth in the 400m individual medley, 4.13 seconds behind World silver medalist Maya DiRado. Ledecky is not expected to try to qualify for the Olympic team in the 400m IM.

“I always want to get my hand on the wall first, but I know in a race like that, it’s not one of my better races,” Ledecky said. “It’s a tougher task, but I was happy with how my 400m IM went. It’s just good to get out of my comfort zone.”

Full Thursday results are here.

NBC Sports Live Extra will stream the finals of the last two nights in Orlando live on Friday and Saturday at 6 ET.

MORE: Missy Franklin fueled by frustration heading into Orlando

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”