Evans qualifies for 800m swim trials
Janet Evans qualified for the Olympic trials in the 800-meter freestyle Sunday, her second qualifying time in two days in her comeback bid.
The 40-year-old Evans finished in 8 minutes, 49.05 seconds at the Austin Grand Prix. Evans, who still owns the American record set in 1989, won the race by more than 14 seconds.
“This is my first big event with fast kids since 1996,” she said. “I felt really good starting off, especially in the first 400 (meters).”
The mother of two also posted an Olympic-trial qualifying time in the 400 freestyle on Friday.
“I think I’m pretty fast for 40,” Evans said. “It was good to get out there and finally swim hard.”
Evans was 17 when she set the world record in the 400, one of three gold medals she won at the 1988 Seoul Games. She later set world marks in 800 and 1,500 freestyle and retired after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
“It was always my best event,” she said about the 800. “I remember what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve done, but it doesn’t affect me now. It was so long ago.”
The US Olympic trials begin in June, followed by the London Games in July.
Michael Phelps finished the meet with his third victory of the week, winning the 200 individual medley in 1:58.82. The 14-time Olympic gold medalist also won the consolation final in the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.67 and was third in the 100 backstroke — all in a 50-minute span.
“Throughout my career I’ve always done a lot of events back-to-back-to-back,” he said. “Doing that your body is put under a lot of stress and it’s a lot of pain. So if I can do that right now and swim six, seven, eight races in three days? We’ll know that I’m ready.”
In the 100 backstroke, Phelps swam the entire race in third despite a late burst and finished in 54.09 seconds, behind David Plummer (54.02) and Matt Grevers (53.55).
Phelps swam the 200 medley in the lane next to Ryan Lochte, the world-record holder in the event. Lochte finished second in 2:00.30.
Missy Franklin won the women’s 100 backstroke in 59.92 after winning the 200 backstroke Saturday.
The 16-year-old star marveled at Evans’ accomplishment at 40.
“Swimming is insanely difficult even with the energy of a 16-year-old,” Franklin said. “When you’re 40 years old and she’s in that kind of shape it’s absolutely incredible. She’s really, really a true role model for everyone.”
Franklin finished fifth in her other race Sunday, the 200 individual medley.
“I felt really strong in almost every race,” Franklin said. “I’m really happy with everything and I’m really happy we got a chance to come out here this weekend.”
Franklin received some words of support from Phelps.
“We’re in the same kind of boat,” said Phelps, who competed in the 2004 Athens Games at 19. “She’s a teammate of mine, she’s a friend of mine and you always want people to do their best, so whatever she needs I’m here for her.”
Natalie Coughlin won the 200 IM in 2:12.44. Taking part in her first long course meet since the 2011 FINA world championships in Shanghai, Coughlin fought off fellow American Olympian Katie Hoff to win by a half-second.
In other races, Camile Adams won the women’s 200 butterfly (2:06.76), Rebecca Soni took the 100 breaststroke (1:06.88), and Allison Schmitt won the 800 freestyle (8:31.94).
On the men’s side, Sebastien Rousseau won the 200 butterfly (2:00.83), Mark Gangloff took the 100 breaststroke (1:01.08) and Michael Klueh won the 1,500 freestyle (15:25.33).