U.S. Olympic Trials: Michael Phelps Debuts With 1:56.68 Outing In 200 Butterfly

Michael Phelps, by Peter Bick

After a pair of idle days, Michael Phelps got his competition under way with the prelims of the 200 butterfly.

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After a pair of idle days, Michael Phelps got his competition under way with the prelims of the 200 butterfly.



So excited to see what Katie and Michael can do in these events. So far, so good!


any predictions on what sort of times Katie L and Michael P will make in 200 free and fly?

Matthew Tsao

I would bet on Ledecky being ~ 1:54.0. As for Phelps, I think it’s much harder, but my guess puts him in the range 1:52.7 to 1:53.3 for the finals, but both will obviously be faster in Rio.


Tonight or tomorrow night, ASF ?


I don’t generally like to get into time predictions; I’d need to see what the swimmers are doing in workouts to do that.

I’m sticking with my long standing prediction that MP and KL each win their three individual events in Rio. KL will probably do so in WR times. And that includes the 200 free.

As you know, my big worry is the back to back meets and the retaper issue. That has the most potential to trip up KL in the 200 free, but fortunately looks like her speed is going to be ok to secure a top spot.

With Phelps- when he is on in one event, he is usually on in all of them. So anxious to see how he does in this first one.


Wise move by Bowman to pull MP out of the 200 free. No need to waste energy doing it here. The key is to make the team now. If Phelps is on fire at the games, he is def going to be on that 4×200.


If I were Katie, I would have swam the first 200 in that 400 easier and shut down the second half completely. Who cares if she finishes second. Better to save energy and go hard in the 200 free and the 800 later in the week.

Guess she wanted to keep her unbeaten streak going and put on a show for the fans. And do a little lactate training too, which is what this meet really is for her. Must be nice to be that good!


Interesting comments and rationales, Easy; for the most part I can concur.

Re KL, good reason to suspect Team Ledecky chose to experiment with pacings in the 400 knowing that they had a very large safety net re Olympic qualification should it come unstuck.

200free is the event in which she has not yet established a position of dominance comparable to her position in the longer races. Whilst she may set a new WR, either in Omaha or Rio, she may not ever be able to do so.

My instinct tells me that whilst she may set WRs in Rio; it may not be across the board.

Fully concur re your M4X200 scenario; unless we are seeing 5-6 men sub 1.46 in tonight’s final; MP is a likely co-opt for Rio


@commonwombat: Do you mean KL won’t be able to get WRs across the board even if she tries? Or do you mean she might go for a “play it safe” energy saving strategy and medals rather than time records? The latter doesn’t seem to be her style.


@easespeed: I don’t think that 200 was a real concern for Ledecky at this Trials. Her goals at 100 that is what demands to stay fresh to the end of the meet. Exactly this event may required special preparation for this meet. But who could think that there is another swimmer in the world besides Ledecky and 2009 Pellegrini who can be under 4 minutes. It never hurts to be careful.


Easy, my view is that we cannot continue to bank on the liklihood of KL continuing her WR run indefinitely. History tells us that these runs DO, inevitably, come to an end and her’s has gone on as long (if not longer) than others who have had similar multievent streaks.

It may well be that she is at, or near her threshold, in some of her events whereas there may still be scope in others.

Therefore, whilst I hold out some liklihood that she may set new marks in some events; I’m far less sure that this will be the case across ALL her individual events. As always, I make no claims to infallibility and could be completely wrong ….. I wouldn’t be unhappy if that were the case

Craig Lord

CW, If KL sets not a single record in Rio but emerges with 200-400-800 (and 4×200) gold, that will be a sensational result, as we all know. Great if she can set a WR but far too many talk of such things as if we were all sitting at the Foro Italico in 2009 – WRs are special (and the moment they’re not, much is lost).

Craig Lord

Yes, easyspeed, must be fun to be that good 🙂


@Wombat & Craig: agree, of course the record streak will end at some point. But since two of the records are PBs by Katie, it makes it more plausible. Think there is room for improvement this summer just because this is the first year that KL has been 100% and not a student like in other years. I think Ledecky’s biggest challenge is going to be the pressure on her. Last Olympics she was under the radar, this time all eyes will be on her. And the media in the USA is going to hype her up too. She seems to have handled it well so far, hope that continues.

The 200 free WR is a tough one. That isn’t a personal best but someone else’s suit assisted time. Still think it is possible. Craig is right of course, we have to keep all this in perspective- three free individual golds would be huge, regardless of the time.


sorry to be late seeing this thread. I meant Katie and Michael’s times in the finals of 200 free and fly tomorrow night.

The reason I am asking is that I see interesting possibility that Michael and Katie will set similar times.

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