Ryan Lochte’s coach David Marsh tells us that Lochte will be scratching out of the finals of the men’s 200 free to focus on the 200 backstroke instead.
Lochte was the 3rd seed in prelims of the 200 free in 1:47.41, and within half-a-second of the top seeded Matt McLean (and Lochte was a heat winner). He was only 7th in the 200 back in 1:59.02, where he’ll likely have to drop over two seconds to win the race over a very-hot Tyler Clary.
This is an interesting decision in that Lochte’s result in the 200 back is meaningless in terms of Pan Pacs qualifying. With a silver medal in the 100 free on Wednesday, he’s already on the team, which means that he will be swimming at Pan Pacs and can enter as many other events as he wants (including the 200 backstroke). By scratching out of the 200 free, though, it means he won’t be selected for that relay.
While the coaching staff at Pan Pacs has the right to choose from outside of the top four in the individual final to be on the relay, it would be a highly controversial decision if they did. Barring the test of the coaches’ discretion clause, that means the U.S. 800 free relay will be without Lochte or Phelps for the first time in a very, very long while.
This scratch moves Michigan’s Michael Wynalda (1:48.54) up into the A-Final, which is a huge victory for him. Wynalda swam very well at the World University Games last year and is looking to move up in the pecking order, and now a top-four spot is only about half-a-second away.
To see the heat sheets for the 200 free, click here.
To see the heat sheets for the 200 back, click here.