Michael Phelps had the ninth-fastest time in the preliminaries of the 200-meter freestyle at the Charlotte Grand Prix.
Racing in the final heat Friday morning with defending Olympic champion Yannick Angel of France, Phelps trailed from the first turn. He looked sluggish on the third lap, but came on strong at the end to touch in 1 minute, 51.69 seconds.
That was fast enough to earn a qualifying time for nationals this summer. Michael Klueh (1:51.52) touched first, followed by Angel (1:51.61).
All three were slower that six swimmers in earlier heats, led by Conor Dwyer, a teammate of Phelps’ at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. His time was 1:49.31. The top eight advance to the evening "A" final, while Phelps’ time puts him in the "B" final if he chooses to swim.