LOS ANGELES: French Olympian Jeremy Stravius won the men’s 200m freestyle at the Pro Swim meeting in Austin, Texas, on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as Olympic superstar Michael Phelps settled for fourth.
Stravius clocked 1min 47.56sec, leading all the way to finish ahead of American Townley Haas (1:48.35) and fellow Frenchman Jordan Pothain (1:48.62).
Phelps, whose 22 Olympic medals include a staggering 18 gold, was third at the halfway mark, but couldn’t mount a late challenge and finished off the podium in an event that featured among his eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games.
While the 200 free is no longer a major focus for Phelps, he has been on the US 4x200m free relay team at the last three Olympics.
The 30-year-old, who is out of retirement and aiming to add to his medal tally at the Rio Games, finished in 1:48.87, his fastest-ever in the month of January.
Among other finals on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), the second day of the three-day meeting, freestyle phenomenon Katie Ledecky clocked a personal best of 1:54.43 to win the 200m freestyle — improving on the 1:55.16 she swam to win the world title at Kazan, Russia last year.
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who had the fastest time in the world last year in the event but didn’t race it at worlds, settled for silver in 1:56.14, with former world champion Missy Franklin third in 1:57.49.
US veteran Ryan Lochte romped to victory in the men’s 400m individual medley with a time of 4:12.66.
Chase Kalisz was second in 4:14.64 and Josh Prenot third in 4:15.07 in a US sweep.