Los Angeles (AFP) – Michael Phelps led wire-to-wire in winning the 200m individual medley at the Mesa Pro Swim, his time of 1min 57.90 the third-fastest in the world this year.
Phelps, and 18-time Olympic gold medallist aiming for one last burst of Olympic glory at Rio de Janeiro in August, posted his fastest time in the event so far in 2016 to insert himself in the upper reaches of the rankings led by the 1:55.07 of Japan’s Kosuke Hagino.
World record-holder Ryan Lochte scratched the 200 medley final to focus on the 200m backstroke. That robbed fans of a chance to see him and Phelps renew their rivalry, but paid off with Lochte’s victory in the 200m back in 2:01.04.
Colombian Omar Pinzon was second in the 200m back in 2:01.65.
Katie Ledecky cruised to victory in the 800m freestyle in 8:13.20.
Ledecky didn’t threaten the world record of 8:06.68 that she set in Austin in January, but her time was the second-fastest in the world this year and saw her touch half a pool length in front of runner-up Lotte Friis of Denmark (8:27.85).
American Maya DiRado completed an impressive double, winning the women’s 200m medley in 2:11.09 and returning less than half an hour later to win the 200m backstroke in 2:08.61.
Both races featured strong fields, with world record-holder Katinka Hosszu of Hungary finishing fifth in the medley and two-time Olympic gold medallist Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe finishing second in the backstroke in 2:10.04.
World record holder Missy Franklin wasn’t in the 200m back, tweeting apologetically that she was feeling unwell and resting on “coach’s orders”.
London Olympic gold medallist Nathan Adrian won the 100m freestyle in 48.00 — tying him with France’s Florent Manaudou for fourth-fastest in the world this year.
For US swimmers, the meeting was part of the build-up to the Olympic trials in Omaha, Nebraska, in June.