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Michael Phelps swims butterfly in freestyle race, misses finals

Apr 25, 2014, 4:32 PM EDT

Michael Phelps AP

Michael Phelps swam butterfly in a 50m freestyle heat and finished seventh at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Ariz., on Friday, his second and final event at his first meet since the London Olympics.

Phelps clocked 24.06 seconds and did not qualify for the evening finals, placing 42nd overall out of 89 swimmers across all heats. Olympic 100m freestyle champion Nathan Adrian won Phelps’ heat in 22.75.

Phelps made a rare appearance in lane 8, wearing a white cap and a dark jammer swimsuit. He was not expected to have one of the best times swimming a slower stroke than everybody else.

Phelps is entered for the next USA Swimming Grand Prix event in Charlotte, N.C., from May 15-18, said his coach, Bob Bowman.

“I think it’s a good starting point,” Phelps said of Mesa. “Just being able to get some races back under my belt. The schedule that was today wasn’t really ideal for what I should swim at this very moment.”

The 22-time Olympic medalist has unretired, but he hasn’t committed to making a bid for the Rio 2016 Olympics, which would be his fifth Games.

On Thursday, Phelps finished second to longtime rival Ryan Lochte in a 100m butterfly race, his first competitive final in 20 months. Phelps was the fastest qualifier in the preliminary heats and was two tenths behind Lochte in the final.

Another Michael set to make splash at Mesa Grand Prix

  1. entitymn - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    That would have been so much more interesting if this were a short course meet. Would he have done a flip turn? In college, I sometimes considered leading my 50 with fly, doing a flip turn, and coming back crawl, so that I could breathe once or twice.

  2. Nick Zaccardi - Apr 25, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Wonder when the last time was Phelps swam short course. Couldn’t have been very often since Beijing.

  3. bobc74 - Apr 25, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    Maybe he should have stuck with golf.

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