Michael Phelps thought he might fall off the starting block. Nathan Adrian worried he might not hear the starting beep.
Winds around 30 miles per hour wreaked havoc on the second night of finals at a Pro Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., on Friday, but Olympic champions fought their way to victories.
Phelps prevailed in the 200m butterfly. Katie Ledecky won by a comfortable 5.93 seconds in the 400m freestyle. Adrian was similarly dominant in the 50m freestyle, topping the field by .59.
“I felt like I was moving backwards with about 15 meters to go going into that wall [at 150 meters],” Phelps said on NBC Sports Live Extra, adding later, “I’ve never swam in wind like that in my life.”
The 50m freestylers benefitted because they started with the wind to their backs and only swam one length of the pool.
Madison Kennedy in particular. She clocked the fastest-ever U.S. women’s 50m freestyle outside of the 2008 and 2009 high-tech swimsuit era. Her 24.45 broke Dara Torres‘ 2007 mark of 24.53.
Missy Franklin finished fifth in the 100m backstroke, one day after failing to qualify for the top eight-swimmer final in the 200m freestyle.
Ryan Lochte was second in the 100m backstroke, not one of his primary events.
Swimmers are training to peak for the Olympic Trials from June 26-July 3 in Omaha, Neb.