ATHENS, Georgia, July 14. MEMO to Michael Phelps: Summer Nationals doesn't start until August. Additionally, Phelps ripped off a U.S. Open time in the 200 free with a 1:45.50.
Using the Southern Zone Sectionals as his final tuneup for the United States Nationals at the Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine, Calif., the eight-time Olympic medalist put together a dazzling show on Friday night as he corralled victories in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Producing the third-fastest 200 free time in American history, behind only his national standard and his 1:45.32 from Athens, Phelps covered the four-lap event in 1:45.50, well ahead of the 1:48.76 registered by Club Wolverine teammate Klete Keller. Phelps’ time was just off his American record of 1:45.20, from the World Champs in Montreal last summer. Considering that two-plus weeks remain before Nationals, Phelps could take aim at Ian Thorpe’s world record of 1:44.06.
As an encore, Phelps also won the 100 backstroke, thanks to a time that made him the ninth-fastest performer in history. In the dorsal discipline, Phelps touched the wall in 54.15, more than a second clear of the 55.63 effort of James Wike. Phelps also teamed with Davis Tarwater, Bobby Savulich and Keller for gold in the 400 free relay. On Thursday, Phelps won the 200 butterfly.
Representing Club Wolverine, Kaitlin Sandeno covered the 400 individual medley in a first-place swim of 4:47.72. She was followed by Kathleen Hersey (4:50.21). On the men’s side, the distance medley went to Robert Margalis in 4:21.81.
In the women’s 200 freestyle, Rachel Komisarz (Lakeside) earned the narrowest of triumphs as she clocked 2:00.72 to the 2:00.73 of Amanda Weir (SwimAtlanta). Mary DeScenza checked in with a third-place mark of 2:01.07 and Kara Lynn Joyce was fourth in 2:01.23. DeScenza later won the 100 backstroke in 1:02.16 and teamed with Jessica Cole, Austen Carter and Joyce to prevail in the 400 free relay.