INDIANAPOLIS — Tyler McGill could not produce a win Wednesday night at the U.S. Swimming Nationals.
Instead, the Champaign Central graduate finished fourth in the 50-meter butterfly, touching the wall in 23.80 seconds. Tim Phillips edged McGill for third place in 23.69. Eugene Godsoe won the race in 23.29, and Matt Grevers, who won gold at the 2012 London Olympics in the 100-meter backstroke, placed second in 23.50.
McGill’s time in the finals was a slight improvement from his preliminary time earlier Wednesday, when he finished third in 23.83 to qualify for Wednesday night’s finals. McGill is set to race again Thursday in the 100 butterfly at the Indiana University Natatorium.
Meantime, Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin gave swimming fans a double dose of dominance.
And it came with plenty of pain.
America’s two biggest active stars in the pool each won the 200 freestyle, then returned less than 90 minutes later to take the U.S. titles in the 200 backstroke — all with times that ranked among the five fastest in the world this year. It was quite a feat for the 18-year-old soon-to-be college freshman from Colorado and the 28-year-old three-time Olympian from Florida still working to get back in world-class shape.
“I don’t want to go through that pain again. As I get older, it doesn’t get any easier,” Lochte said. “But I like a challenge and love to race.”
Lochte has shown his mettle dozens of times before and has relied on training regimens that don’t always follow standard-operating procedure.
At times, it has made Lochte look bad. But when it comes time to race in the big meets, he always has been ready.
This week has been no different. At the IU Natatorium, Lochte clinched a spot on the men’s world championship team by finishing fourth in the 100 freestyle, hardly his best event. Each race winner and the top four finishers in the relay events all earn automatic spots on the world championship team that will compete starting next month in Barcelona.
On Wednesday, Lochte put on an impressive show.
The five-time Olympic gold medalist held off a late charge from Olympic teammate Conor Dwyer to win the 200 free in 1 minute, 45.97 seconds — the fifth-fastest time in the world this year.