By Sarah Tolar
LONG BEACH, Calif., July 9. MICHAEL Phelps continued his streak of dominance in the semifinals of the men’s 200 butterfly.
In the first heat of semifinal action, Phelps took his race out as though he were swimming on a fresh set of legs. Never mind the fact that he had, only 45 minutes earlier, dominated the 200 freestyle final with a time of 1:46.27.
He was out in 56.09 for the first 100, and then really turned it on in the last 50, burying the rest of the heat by a second and a half, touching at 1:56.66. Phelps kept a remarkably consist stroke count for his race, 17 strokes for the first 50, and then 20 strokes for each of the last three. Davis Tarwater of the University of Michigan held on for the second spot with 1:58.08, almost a full second improvement upon his time from prelims.
The second semifinal heat featured 2000 Olympic champion, Tom Malchow. He took the first 100 out in the fastest split of either heat, 56.04. But unexpectedly, Malchow faded in the last 75. However, he held off 21-year-old Michael Raab, who was closing with each stroke. Malchow posted a time of 1:57.72, which places him as the second seed for Saturday’s final, while Raab touched only eight one-hundreths back with 1:57.60, good enough for the third spot in the final heat.
It took a sub-two minute swim to advance to the final heat.