GOLD COAST, Australia, August 23. MICHAEL Phelps leads the names on the heat sheets for the men’s 100 butterfly today at the Pan Pacific championships, which will also feature the meet debut for Australian star Alicia Coutts and an appearance by 400 free defending champion Tae Hwan Park.
Phelps is the top seed in the 100 fly and will be looking to defend the Pan Pac title he has won in 2010. Ironically, the 2010 meet was the only time Phelps has swum the 100 fly, having scratched the event in 2002 and not swimming it at all in 2006. Phelps will be joined in the fifth heat by American Tim Phillips, Brazilian Thiago Pereira and Japan’s Takuro Fujii, among others.
Coutts will be just one swimmer to watch in the 100 fly which will feature Commonwealth Games champion Katerine Savard of Canada and top seed Lu Ying of China. Lu won silver in the 100 fly at the 2012 Olympics and is part of a small Chinese contingent at the meet. China’s competition focus is the Asian Games in two weeks, so most of the country’s top stars are staying home to prepare for that meet.
Also one to watch today is Tae Hwan Park, the defending Pan Pac champion in the 400 free. Park did not swim the 200 free earlier in the meet, and is scheduled to swim just the 400 before preparing for the Asian Games.
Missy Franklin will be looking to put up a good time in the 200 backstroke as the top seed. Franklin has been improving physically since suffering a back spasm Tuesday evening and will be up against world championships bronze medalist Hilary Caldwell in the third heat this morning.
The top three finishers in the men’s 200 back at the 2012 Olympics are racing today in the event. Gold medalist Tyler Clary is the fourth seed in the event, while Olympic bronze medalist Ryan Lochte is the top seed ahead of silver medalist Ryosuke Irie. Another one to watch will be Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, who will look to collect a second gold medal after winning the 400 IM last night.
Click the images below to get a bigger look at this morning’s heat sheets!