Michael Phelps wins 100m butterfly at Olympic Trials in final U.S. swim

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Michael Phelps wasn’t about to lose his last race in the United States.

With his huge wingspan cutting through the water, Phelps dazzled the home fans one last time.

Phelps made it three-for-three at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, rallying on the return lap to win the 100-meter butterfly Saturday night.

In what was billed as the farewell race in his home country, Phelps competed in lane seven after a sluggish swim in the semifinals. As usual, it took him a lap to really get going, making the turn in fourth place.

But Phelps powered to the front, as he’s done so many times. Even with a long glide to the wall, he finished in 51.00 seconds.

When Phelps saw the “1” beside his name, he pounded the water and pointed toward his family — including 7-week-old son Boomer — up in the stands. He’ll now get a chance to win his fourth straight gold in the 100 fly at Rio.

When his longtime coach, Bob Bowman, asked for a game plan before the race, Phelps kept it simple.

“I don’t want to lose my last race on American soil,” he said. “That was king of in my head.”

Katie Ledecky and Maya DiRado also won their third individual events on the next-to-last night of the trials, while Nathan Adrian made up for the disappointment of four years ago by winning the 50 freestyle.

Olympic 100m freestyle champion Nathan Adrian won the 50m free in 21.51 seconds. Anthony Ervin, at age 35, finished .01 behind to made his third Olympic team. Ervin shared gold in this event in 2000 with Gary Hall Jr.

For Ledecky, it’s been the dominating performance everyone expected, this one a nearly 10-second victory in the 800 freestyle.

For DiRado, it’s been a huge surprise, the first-time Olympian setting herself up to make quite a splash before she retires at age 23.

SWIM TRIALS: Video | Results | Broadcast Schedule

A late bloomer who already lined up a job as a business analyst in Atlanta, she followed her victories in the 200 and 400 individual medley by knocking off defending Olympic champion Missy Franklin in the 200 backstroke.

Franklin finished second to at least ensure she’ll get a chance to go for another gold in Rio.

Phelps, of course, is also planning to retire — for the second time — as soon as his fifth Olympics are over. At age 31, he cruised through Omaha with victories in both butterfly races as well as the 200 individual medley. Assuming he is on all three men’s relays in Rio, he’ll get a chance to add six more medals to his already massive collection — 18 golds and 22 medals overall.

The second Olympic spot in the 100 fly went to Tom Shields, who touched in 51.20 to barely beat out Seth Stubblefield (51.24) and Jack Conger (51.26).

“I have a lot of emotion here, with Boomer and with the family here, and being my last meet on American soil,” Phelps said. “We did everything that we wanted to do.”

Phelps didn’t go quite as fast as he wanted during the trials.

He’ll be looking to add more speed over the next months.

“A 51.0 is OK,” he said, “but it’s going to take more than that to win a gold medal.”

MORE: Missy Franklin makes Olympic team in 200m back

Susie O’Neill, Australian great, answers Katie Ledecky by balancing beer while swimming

Susie O'Neill
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Katie Ledecky‘s feat of balancing a glass of chocolate milk while swimming reverberated Down Under, where one of Australia’s Olympic legends attempted to mimic it with a cup of beer.

Susie O’Neill, an eight-time Olympic medalist from 1992-2000 known as Madame Butterfly, accepted a challenge put forth by her fellow radio show hosts. In video shared across Australian media, she took 13 strokes before the beer came off her head, just before reaching a wall.

“It’s actually not as hard as I expected,” O’Neill said in an Instagram Live. “Well, it was pretty hard.”

O’Neill, 47, said backstrokers sometimes train with a water bottle on their foreheads to stay straight. But O’Neill, a freestyler and butterflier, never balanced anything on her head while training.

MORE: O’Neill in tears watching Sydney Olympic defeat for first time

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Figure skating Grand Prix Series will be held as ‘domestic’ competitions

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Figure skating’s Grand Prix Series will go ahead as scheduled this fall, with modifications due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Skating Union decided Monday.

Each of the series’ six tops around the globe will be “a domestic run event,” limited to skaters of the event’s host country, who regularly train in the host country and from a respective geographical area. The number of disciplines and skaters at each event are to be worked out.

The Grand Prix Series, held annually since 1995, is a six-event fall season, qualifying the top six skaters and teams per discipline to December’s Grand Prix Final. The annual stops are in the U.S., Canada, China, France, Russia and Japan, leading up to the Final, which is held at a different site each year.

The Final is the second-biggest annual competition after the world championships, which are typically in late March. The Final is still scheduled for Beijing, though whether or when it can be held will be discussed.

The series begins in late October with Skate America, which debuted in 1979 and has been held every year since 1988 as the biggest annual international competition in the U.S. Skate America’s site is Las Vegas, just as it was in 2019.

Skaters typically compete twice on the Grand Prix Series (three times if they qualify for the Final). ISU vice president Alexander Lakernik said skaters will be limited to one start in the six-event series before the Final, according to TASS. The ISU has not confirmed or denied that report.

The January 2021 U.S. Championships are scheduled for San Jose, Calif. The March 2021 World Championships are set for Stockholm.

In July, the ISU canceled the Junior Grand Prix Series for skaters mostly ages 13 to 18, including two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu. Other early season senior international competitions scheduled for September were also canceled or postponed.

MORE: World’s top skater leaves famed coach

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