Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin beaten in 200m freestyles in Austin

Missy Franklin
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Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin can afford results like on Saturday now, but not in four weeks.

Phelps and Franklin were both beaten in 200m freestyles at the Austin Elite Invite in Texas, expected to be their final meet before the Olympic Trials in Omaha from June 26-July 3. Full meet results are here.

Phelps finished fourth in his 200m free, behind three younger Americans who have recently swum for the University of Texas. The field did not include the U.S.’ top men in the event, Conor Dwyer and Ryan Lochte.

Phelps’ time, 1:48.73, did not improve on the best times of his comeback (1:48.20 in 2014 and 1:48.21 on April 14).

“Tonight was really kind of upsetting, frustrated me,” Phelps told Swimswam.com. “You kind of just have to trust [coach] Bob [Bowman].”

Phelps wants to be part of the Olympic 4x200m free relay for a fourth straight Games, but that is not a given since the fastest 200m free of his comeback would have placed eighth at the 2012 Olympic Trials. (Phelps did split a stronger 1:46.08 in the middle of a 4x200m free relay at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships)

Franklin faces a tougher task, to finish in the top two in the 200m freestyle at the Olympic Trials. That’s because she’s up against the reigning Olympic champion Allison Schmitt and the reigning World champion Katie Ledecky.

On Saturday, the 2013 World champion Franklin was beaten by Schmitt in the 200m free for a second straight meet, this time by a comfortable .91 of a second. Ledecky, who owns the fastest time in the world this year, is not competing this weekend. Schmitt also beat Franklin in the 100m freestyle on Friday.

However, Franklin was faster on Saturday (1:57.78) than she was at this meet four years ago (1:57.91), a sign that she’s on the right track as she trains to peak at the Olympic Trials.

Later Saturday, Franklin won the 200m backstroke in 2:09.45. The field did not include her top rivals to make the Olympic team — Maya DiRadoKathleen Baker and Elizabeth Beisel.

The Austin Elite Invite ends Sunday.

MORE: Phelps’ concussion, more highlights from Bob Bowman’s book

Mo Farah likely to retire this year

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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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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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