Omaha, Neb. ——Baltimore's Michael Phelps has scratched from Friday's 200-meter backstroke preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, his coach Bob Bowman said Thursday.
He won't be taking it easy, though: He'll swim the morning preliminaries for the 200 individual medley and, presumably, the semifinals in the evening at CenturyLink Center.
Ryan Lochte was scratched from Friday night's 100 freestyle race, meaning alternate Jason Lezak, who memorably kept Phelps in the hunt for eight gold medals in Beijing as anchor of the 400 freestyle relay, gets his spot. It was originally believed that Matt Grevers also was stepping out of the race, which would have given a spot to David Walters, but Grevers is still entered in the race, USA Swimming said.
Leverenz, Kukors qualify
Caitlin Leverenz and Ariana Kukors went one-two in the women's 200 IM final, qualifying for that event in the London Olympics, which begin next month. Just missing out in third place was Elizabeth Pelton, whose family moved to the Baltimore area for her to train at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. She has since switched to train with Paul Yetter, a former NBAC coach.
In return, Ervin advances to semis in 100 free
The day brought swimmer Anthony Ervin back from his self-imposed competitive wilderness. Ervin, 31, won gold and silver medals in the 2000 Olympics but walked away from competition several years later. He played in a rock band among his other still unrevealed wanderings, and sold his gold medal to help victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, but eventually found his way back to swimming: first teaching kids, then resuming training himself.
He advanced to the evening's semifinals in the 100 free after placing 11th in the morning preliminaries but failed to make the final. He has one more chance, in the 50 free, to make the London team, but getting back into the competitive swim was valuable on its own, Ervin said.
"The entire lead-up to that first race was kind of, everything's going crazy around me and then everything kind of gets quiet," Ervin said. "Then it's kind of like you're just lost in the moment because you're behind those blocks. So I got a little taste of it there."
The day for Maryland swimmers
Chris Brady, a training partner of Phelps' at the NBAC, finished 18th in the men's 100 free preliminaries, good enough to become the second alternate and move into the semifinals if two of the higher seeds scratched.
NBAC's Austin Surhoff and John Stephens, Navy swimmers Hugh Davison and Zachary Ingold, and the University of Maryland's John Hauser also swam but didn't advance.
In the women's 200 fly, Navy's Rheanna Vaughn, Maryland's Addison Koelle and the NBAC's Camryne Morris swam in the preliminaries but didn't qualify for the evening semifinals. Towson University rising junior Melanie Rowland, the school's first female swimmer ever to swim in the trials, also failed to advance from the prelims, but her coach, Pat Mead, who traveled here with her, promised "many more Tigers" in the 2016 trials.
Chase Kalisz and Sean Roddy of the NBAC didn't advance from the 200 breaststroke prelims, nor did UMBC rising junior Patrick Husson of Camp Springs. UMBC coach Chad Cradock said he was "extremely proud" nonetheless of Husson's second-best-ever time of 2 minutes, 22.24 seconds. Fellow Retriever Mohamed Hussein of Cairo, an Egyptian national record-holder in the 200 IM, has already qualified in both that and the 100 free in his native country.