Michael Phelps fastest in 200m butterfly prelims in first Trials swim

Michael Phelps
Getty Images

OMAHA — Michael Phelps is off to a solid start at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, even though he criticized his effort.

The 22-time Olympic medalist opened his campaign to make a record fifth U.S. Olympic swim team in the only event he has contested at four Olympics — the 200m butterfly.

Phelps, the top seed, clocked 1:56.68 in his preliminary heat at CenturyLink Center on Tuesday morning, the fastest of the session.

“Third turn was bad, awful, killed all the momentum,” Phelps said. “I felt like I didn’t use much legs, kind of just dragging them along for the ride. Something to build off of for tonight.”

The semifinals are Tuesday night (8 ET, NBC and NBC Sports app).  The top eight from the two semis will advance to Wednesday night’s final, where the top two make the Olympic team.

Phelps is also scheduled to swim the 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley this week.

OLYMPIC TRIALS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier Tuesday, Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin qualified first and joint-seventh fastest into tonight’s 200m free semifinals.

Franklin has a daunting night ahead, with the 200m free semis followed by the 100m back final.

She qualified seventh into the final of the 100m back, which she won at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships.

“It’s time to really, really step up,” Frankin said with a laugh Tuesday morning. “Definitely felt a little sluggish last night [in the 100m back semifinals], so I think it’s really good that I had a race this morning to kind of get out, race and get those cobwebs out.”

MORE: For Phelps at Trials, nothing is a lock

Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi

Diana Taurasi’s USA Basketball career isn’t done just yet.

The five-time Olympic gold medalist will take part in a national team training camp in Minnesota next month. Taurasi told The Associated Press last summer that she would consider playing with USA Basketball if she was healthy enough. She injured her quad shortly after and didn’t participate in the FIBA World Cup that the Americans won in Australia.

While Taurasi will be at the camp, Brittney Griner won’t. She is still part of the pool that the 2024 Olympic team will be chosen from, but Griner hasn’t been out in public much since a prisoner swap in December brought her home from Russia after a 10-month ordeal that captivated world attention. Griner said she plans on playing in the WNBA this year.

Taurasi is a free agent right now, but is expected to return to the Phoenix Mercury — the only team she’s played for in her WNBA career. She turns 41 in June and would be 42 at the time of the Paris Olympics in 2024. The WNBA’s all-time leading scorer and her good friend Sue Bird hold the record with five Olympic gold medals. The pair helped the U.S. win a seventh consecutive gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Bird retired from playing at the end of last season.

Other players expected at the training camp that will run from Feb. 7-9 include former Olympic or World Cup gold medalists: Ariel Atkins and Elena Delle Donne of Washington; Napheesa Collier of Minnesota; Allisha Gray of Dallas; Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney of New York; Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young of Las Vegas; Kahleah Copper of Chicago and free agent Angel McCoughtry.

Natasha Howard, Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale of Dallas will also be at the camp as well as Phoenix’s Brianna Turner.

National team head coach Cheryl Reeve will run the three-day camp with Curt Miller of Los Angeles, Mike Thibault of Washington and James Wade of Chicago helping out.

Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah

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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