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.
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.”Follow @nzaccardi