OMAHA, Neb. After two epic duels against his biggest rival, Michael Phelps made this race look easy. Phelps stayed on course to swim eight events at the London Games, pulling away for a dominating win in the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials on Thursday night.
Phelps has locked up three individual events for London and he's got two more to go in Omaha. Combined with a likely spot on all three relays, the 26-year-old from Baltimore already the winningest Olympian ever would have a chance to duplicate his record from the Beijing Games if he doesn't stumble during the next three days.
"The last 25 meters are pretty painful," Phelps said. "I just wanted to get to the wall and secure another spot on the team."
Davis Tarwater led at the first and second turns, but Phelps surged to the front on the third leg of his signature stroke and was a body-length ahead of the field when he touched in 1 minute, 53.65 seconds.
Phelps had a much easier time than his first two events in Omaha, when he was going against Ryan Lochte. Phelps said he'll have to go faster in London to claim his third consecutive gold in the 200 fly, but he appears to be getting stronger every day.
"It's not a good enough time to win a gold medal, but I think I'm OK with it," he said.
Phelps' training partner, Allison Schmitt, was equally dominating in the 200 free. She broke her own American record with a time of 1:54.40, the best in the world this year. Already the winner in the 400 free, she eclipsed the national record set in the 2009 world championships at Rome. Missy Franklin, 17, locked up another Olympic race, claiming the second 200 free spot in 1:56.79.
Former UC Davis swimmer Scott Weltz finished fourth in the 200 breaststroke semifinals to advance to today's final.