Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps lead the pack in 200m IM semis


Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, both already qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic team, advanced from Thursday’s preliminary heats in first and second place, respectively, in the 200m individual medley. Both have been on the podium in that event since the 2004 Athens Games, with Phelps winning three consecutive golds and Lochte winning two silvers and a bronze.

Lochte raced to one minute, 58.05 seconds to win his heat compared to Phelps’ 1:58.95 which won the last heat.

Also advancing into Thursday’s semifinal are teenage standout Michael Andrew and likely 2016 Olympic team member Jay Litherland, who made a case to be named to the team for the 400m individual medley on Sunday.

In the heats of the women’s 100m freestyle, Abbey Weitzeil clocked the fastest time of the morning with 53.58. Also advancing to the semifinals are Missy Franklin, Kelsi Worrell, Katie Ledecky, Olivia Smoliga, Allison Schmitt and Natalie Coughlin.

Also Thursday morning, 2012 Olympic champion in the 200m backstroke Tyler Clary finished in 1:56.85 to advance to the semifinals in second place behind Jacob Pebley. Matt Grevers, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 100m distance, qualified to advance to the semifinals but told media he’d likely swim it just for fun.

Micah Lawrence advanced in first place to Thursday’s semifinals in the 200m breaststroke, an event she placed sixth in at the 2012 London Olympics. Joining her are Lilly King, who won the Trials 100m breaststroke and qualified for the Rio Games, and Breeja Larson, 2012 London Olympian in the 200m breaststroke.