Ledecky, Franklin, Schmitt and Phelps into Trials semifinals


The highly anticipated battle between 2012 Olympic champion Allison Schmitt, 2013 world champion Missy Franklin and 2015 world champion Katie Ledecky in the 200m freestyle is set for Tuesday night during the semifinal at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

Schmitt clocked one minute, 54.50 seconds to win the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and lowered her time to 1:53.61 to win the Olympic title. She clocked 1:57.77 in Tuesday’s preliminary heat to advance to the semifinal in fourth place.

Franklin clocked 1:56.79 to finish second to Schmitt at those 2012 Trials, and won the 2013 World Championship title with a time of 1:54.81. Tuesday, Franklin clocked 1:58.61, good enough for second in her preliminary after a quick holdup behind the starting blocks. She will head to the semifinal tied for seventh place.

Ledecky finished ninth in the 200m freestyle at the 2012 Trials, clocking 1:58.66. She went on to win the 200m freestyle world championship title in 2015 with a time of 1:55.16. Ledecky led wire to wire in her preliminary heat (briefly dipping below world record pace) and made a statement with her time of 1:55.60 – the morning’s fastest time.

Michael Phelps enters the 200m butterfly semifinal with the fastest time after finishing in 1:56.68 in Tuesday’s preliminary heat – his first appearance in the 2016 Trials. He has raced the 200m butterfly at every one of his Olympic appearances, dating back to 2000 (where he finished fifth as a 15-year-old). He captured Olympic gold in both 2004 and 2008.

But Phelps finished in the silver medal spot to South Africa’s Chad Le Clos at the 2012 Olympics in the 200m butterfly, clocking 1:53.01. Earlier at the 2012 U.S. Trials, Phelps reached the wall in 1:53.65.

His world record, set in 2009, stands at 1:51.51; his best time since then was at the 2015 Nationals, where he raced to 1:52.94.

Phelps protégé Chase Kalisz, already named to the 2016 Olympic team after winning the 400m individual medley during Sunday night’s Trials session, enters the 200m butterfly semifinal in fourth place after winning his heat in 1:57.34.

2012 Olympic champion in the 200m backstroke Tyler Clary raced to a 1:57.42 in the morning heats and advanced to the semifinal in sixth place.

Maya DiRado raced to the morning’s fastest 200m individual medley time (2:11.66) to enter Tuesday’s semifinal in first place.

Caitlin Leverenz cruised to an easy 2:11.89 to win her 200m IM heat, an event she earned a bronze medal in at the 2012 Olympics. It was good enough to put her second going into Tuesday’s semifinal.

Elizabeth Beisel was set to also compete the 200m IM but scratched from her heat and will not advance to the semifinal.