Michael Phelps had a great prelims session in Santa Clara this morning, advancing to finals in both the 100m freestyle and 100m fly.
In the 100m freestyle Phelps took out the first 50 with the field and added a little bit more power in that last 50 to clock in as the third fastest seed in 49.99 and win his heat. Nathan Adrian was just ahead of him in a different heat in 49.95 followed by Conor Dwyer in 49.96.
This was Phelps return to the 100m freestyle, his first time swimming the race since he swam in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the London Olympics. Phelps swam the 200m freestyle at his last meet in Charlotte, but finally gave us a showing of his speed. Phelps went out in 26 strokes, identical to what he did in his personal best performance of 47.51 from Beijing. Coming home, Phelps took 27 strokes, three less than his last 50 in Beijing.
In a press conference, Phelps said that he wanted to make sure he had more controlled stroke, and that race seemed as controlled as any. Phelps had a consistent stroke rate throughout the entire race mixed with a fairly consistent stroke count.
The time of 49.99 is impressive considering it was a morning swim. Phelps won his heat, took down teammate Yannick Agnel in the process, and made it look as though he’s got a lot of fire left for finals. His turn was looking more Phelpsian than ever, and his underwater swimming truly kicked in on the 50m wall. Phelps wasn’t first to the 50m mark, but his underwater truly helped push him to the front of the pack.
Phelps had a long rest time following that 100m freestyle until his 100m fly prelim.
The main issue Phelps has been having with his 100m fly is nailing the 50m turn. In Mesa and Charlotte Phelps wasn’t too happy with his approach to the wall, but here in Santa Clara has approach looked clean as ever this morning. Phelps managed to get his hand on the wall first this morning clocking in the first 50 in 24.75. Coming off that wall Phelps came home in 27.82.
Phelps looks as though he’s managed to get a lot of the technical aspects of his racing back on track which should set him up for a good finals session tonight. Phelps has been a 52.13 in finals in both Mesa and Charlotte, so he should be looking to improve on that mark tonight.
In a press conference held yesterday in Santa Clara Phelps said that he’s, “Just excited to hopefully swim faster than I have been,” making us believe that he’s got some numbers floating around his head as to what he wants to swim tonight.