San Antonio: Olympic superstar Michael Phelps flirted with a world record, winning the 200m individual medley at the US swimming championships in a sizzling 1min 54.75sec.
Phelps nabbed his third world-leading time of 2015 yesterday in as many days, after dominant wins in the 100m and 200m butterfly.
The 18-time Olympic gold medallist, underscoring his status as a major force with the 2016 Rio Olympics approaching, was under world record pace after 150 meters, but couldn’t bring it home inside of Ryan Lochte’s world record of 1:54.00, set in Shanghai in 2011.
However, Phelps’s time was well under the 1:55.81 Lochte swam in Kazan, Russia, three days ago to win his fourth straight 200m medley world title.
Phelps lost his world championships berth as part of the sanctions for his drunk-driving arrest last September.
With the US nationals running opposite the worlds serving basically as a consolation meet, Phelps has made sure he’s on the radar of the world’s elite swimming in Russia.
Will Licon was a distant second in 1:58.43, with Travis Mahoney third in 1:59.41.
Phelps’s performance comes on the heels of his blistering wins in the 200m butterfly (1:52.94) and 100m butterfly (50.45sec).
In three days in Texas the 30-year-old superstar has amply demonstrated that the comeback he launched last year after a near two-year retirement is on track, and he’s a favorite to add to his already unprecedented haul of 22 Olympic medals in Brazil.