BALTIMORE, Maryland, June 15. MICHAEL Phelps swam the world's fastest 200 meter butterfly of the 2004 season yesterday, on the final day of the four-day Argent Mortgage Invitational at the North Baltimore Swim Club.
Phelps, 18, clocked 1:56.04 — seven-hundredths faster than 19 year-old Pawel Korzeniowski swam last week. As of today, the world's top six 200-meter flyers are bunched within 0.21 seconds of each other:
1. 1:56.04 Michael Phelps (USA)
2. 1:56.11 Pawel Korzeniowski, (POL)
3. 1:56.14 Takeshi Matsuda (JPN)
4. 1:56.16 Stephen Parry (GBR)
5. 1:56.24 Takashi Yamamoto (JPN)
6. 1:56.25 Justin Norris (AUS)
Phelps wasn't the only swimmer to turn in impressive times while in heavy training at the Argent Mortgage meet. FISH's Kate Ziegler, 15, had a pair of outstanding swims. In the 400 free she clocked 4:13.40 (splits: 2:05.90 – 2:07.50) to down NBAC's Katie Hoff, also 15, 4:18.54 (2:07.27 – 2:11.27); and in the 1500 meters she stroked to a 16:30.39, dismissing NBAC's Claire Hutchinson, 17, who touched in 16:53.46.
Hoff won the 200m IM in a strong 2:15.66 (splits: 1:03.34 – 1:12.32), while Phelps was nipped by Kevin Clements in the 200m breaststroke, 2:19.63 to 2:20.28, as Clements overcame Phelps' tiny advantage of 0.04 seconds at the 100 to score the victory.