INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 3. NORTH BALTIMORE's Michael Phelps began making the case that 2010 was just a bump on the road to the 2012 London Olympics with a double at the USA Swimming Grand Prix in Indianapolis. Phelps won a pair of golds tonight at the IU Natatorium at IUPUI, with both times topping the world charts.
Phelps started to demonstrate his return to form with a strong time of 1:46.27 to win the men's 200 free. That performance put him atop the world rankings, ahead of Yannick Agnel's previous pacesetter of 1:46.55 from Nice, France in February. Trojan's Ous Mellouli hit the wall second in 1:47.01 to improve upon his season-best of 1:47.03. Trojan's Dominik Meichtry stopped the clock in 1:48.90 for third overall, while Daytona Beach's Ryan Lochte finished a surprising fourth with a 1:49.41.
Phelps doubled up with another world-best effort, this time with a 51.75 in the men's 100 fly. He already had owned the top time in the world with a 52.55, but put the mark even further out of reach of the 52.56 posted by Takuro Fujii for second. Brazil's Kaio Almeida placed second in 52.58, while Tucson Ford's Masayu Kishida earned third in 53.41. Demonstrating a heavy training load, Lochte faded to 12th overall with a 53.92.
Mellouli nearly cleared his world best in the men's 400 IM with a winning time of 4:13.80. He has been faster this year with a 4:13.38. FAST's Tyler Clary earned second tonight in 4:14.80 to move to second in the world rankings, while Swim Ontario's Andrew Ford took third overall in 4:25.05.
California's Dana Vollmer became the first woman under 58 seconds in the 100 fly this year with a 57.66. That time beat the previous bellwether mark of 58.23 set by Ellen Gandy last month. Elaine Breeden checked in with a second-place 58.87, while Kristel Vourna claimed third in 59.56.
Club Wolverine's Barry Murphy moved to second in the world rankings in the men's 100 breast with a winning time of 1:00.77. Yuta Suenaga is the only person faster this year with a 59.93 set in Japan last month. California's Sean Mahoney took second in 1:01.51, while New York's Mark Gangloff wound up third in 1:01.61. Trojan's Kosuke Kitajima finished an unexpected fourth with a 1:01.72.
FAST's Katie Hoff topped the women's 200 free with a time of 1:57.97. That effort pushed her to second in the world rankings behind only Camille Muffat (1:56.63). 2011 Grand Prix circuit leader Missy Franklin of the Colorado Stars gained more points with a second-place 1:58.75, while FAST's Kate Ziegler earned third in 1:59.89. 2010 Grand Prix circuit winner Chloe Sutton of Mission Viejo demonstrated some range with a fourth-place 2:00.38.
Trojan's Jessica Hardy checked in with a 1:07.31 to top the women's 100 breast. That time just missed her third-ranked season best of 1:07.22. Tucson Ford's Ann Chandler earned second in 1:08.54, while Canada's Erica Morningstar touched third in 1:09.44.
Julia Smit dominated the women's 400 IM with a top time of 4:44.53. Delaware's Nicole Vernon touched a distant second in 4:47.89, while teammate Kaitlyn Jones, 16, rounded out the top three in 4:48.60.