After missing the finals in both of his events Thursday, Lochte rebounded Friday. He made it into the finals of the 200 free and 200 back with good morning swims, but withdrew from the freestyle, the first of the two back-to-back events. And despite leading at the first three turns in the backstroke, Lochte faded badly over the final 50 meters. His final split of 31.80 dropped him from first to fifth before moving to fourth when Clary was disqualified. Lochte’s time was 1:59.34, more than eight-tenths of a second behind Germany’s Yannick Lebherz, the winner.
“I don’t know what happened. It happened so fast,” Lochte said before correcting himself. “Actually, it happened so slow. I knew I had to go out fast, and if I want to do well, I have to learn how to go out fast and hold on. I’m happy with my time and I’ve got two more months (to train).”
Phelps and Lochte are expected to go head-to-head in Saturday’s 200 IM, the biggest event of the three-day meet.
While most of the attention in Indy has been focused on the world’s two best swimmers, Friday’s most intriguing race was the women’s 200 free.
Four Olympic hopefuls — Allison Schmitt, Missy Franklin, Katie Hoff and Dana Vollmer — lined up next to one another in the middle of the pool. The 21-year-old Schmitt pulled away in the final 50, beating Franklin to the wall in 1:56.79. Franklin finished in 1:57.97 with Vollmer third and Hoff fourth.
Thirty minutes later, Franklin was back on the starting block for the 200 back. Franklin won the race in 2:07.97, 1.5 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Elizabeth Pelton.
She never wore down.
“I love swimming back-to-back races like that,” Franklin said. “I just start feeling good, and it’s been great every time I’ve done it.”
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu won the women’s 400 IM by more than 3.5 seconds over Caitlin Leverenz with a time of 4:32.83.
Nathan Adrian, who beat Phelps in the 100 free on Thursday after his trunks ripped, won again Friday by edging out George Bovell by 0.01 seconds in the men’s 50 free. Madison Kennedy won the women’s 50 free in 24.99.
Meanwhile, Phelps finish put the 400 IM back on the discussion list for this summer.
”Who knows?” he said. “I’m going to have to be in a little better shape to add that into the program because I have to do that well and then climb back in and do all the other events well, too.”