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Phelps Loses One To Win Another Over Lochte

Apr 9, 2011  - Craig Lord

It was a case of win some, lose some for Michael Phelps at the Eric Namesnik Michigan Grand Prix this evening: he edged out Ryan Lochte in 54.19 in the 100m backstroke after suffering a rare defeat in the 200m butterfly, in which he finished 4th 1.17sec behind a 1:56.62 victory for China's Wu Peng.

Phelps's backstroke effort, inside the 55.02 he posted in 2007, was one of six pool records to fall at the University of Michigan Kate Zielger on 4:07.78 in the 400m free; Cesar Cielo (BRA) on 22.08 in the 50m free;  Natalie Coughin, on 1;00.04 in the 100 back; Kara Lynn Joyce, on 25.25 in the 50m free; and Oussama Mellouli (TUN) on 2:15.36 over 200m breaststroke. 

On backstroke, Phelps and Lochte turned together on 26.92 before Phelps put in the better homecoming effort, of 27.23 over 27.89, for 54.81, with David Nolan third in 55.10.

The 14-times Olympic gold medal winner started the session on a relative low, confined to 4th in his signature tune, a result that, even at a time of hard training, will have stung - even if some of it was meant on his way to the backstroke clash. Phelps lost the race throughout, his splits never the fastest in the field, while his last lap 31.25 was 5th best in the field and brought him home in 1:57.79. 

Out front, Wu came home in 30.89 for 1:56.62 to hold off Poland’s Marcin Cieslak, 1:57.13, and Tyler Clary, 1:57.56, Mellouli not far short of making it 5th for Phelps, with a 1:58.12, the last lap of which was 1.1sec faster than the Olympic 'fly champion's.

Clary later took the 400m free in 3:51.57 over Michael Klueh's 3:52.01, with Charlie Houchin third in 3:52.81, while Mellouli wn the 200m breaststroke on 2:15.36 a touch ahead of specialist Mike Alexandrov, 2:15.84, and Austria all-rounder and Mellouli's teammate under the guidance of coach Dave Salo, Markus Rogan, 2:15.92.

Ziegler's 4:07.78 held off Olympic silver medallist Katie Hoff, on 4:08.23, and then told reporters: "My mindset has changed. I'm swimming for me more and I'm enjoying it. There's going to be ups and downs but I'm still having fun."

Coughlin clinched her 1:00.04 victory over Elizabeth Pelton's 1:00.67 and a 1:00.95 from Fabiola Molina (BRA) by employing her role-model underwater work off the turn to best effect.

Cielo was a class apart, his 22.08 ahead of Brazil teammates Bruno Fratus, 22.52, and Nicholas Santos, 22.54. In the women's dash, Joyce's 25.25 held off a big best for Brazilian 28-year-old Flavia Delaroli, on 24.36 in 2011 after a lifetime best of 24.98 in 2009 and a lifetime best of 25.06 in 2008. Third went to Dana Vollmer in 25.45.

Other winners were Jasmine Tosky, on 2:11.11 in the 200m butterfly and Caitlin Leverenz, on 2:30.37 in the 200m breaststroke.