OMAHA - At the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, the first two finishers in each race make the Olympic team. Third place brings only heartbreak, and that is where David Plummer found himself Wednesday night.
Plummer, a former Gophers swimmer who trains with the Minnetonka Swim Club, finished third in the finals of the men's 100-meter backstroke at CenturyLink Center. Former Big Ten rival Matt Grevers won the race in 52.08 seconds, only .14 of a second off the world and American record set by Aaron Peirsol in 2009. Grevers' time set a trials record.
Nick Thoman finished second in 52.86, with Plummer next in 52.98. The time was a personal best for Plummer, 26, who was not available for comment after the race.
Grevers, a four-time NCAA champion at Northwestern, was a bit disappointed to come so close to the record but thrilled to make the Olympic team with that time. "I'm ecstatic,'' he said. "I think I scared the Frenchies, and definitely other swimmers. I think I'm the guy to shoot for now, and I like that.''
About 55 people from the Minnetonka Swim Club came to Omaha to root for Plummer. He has trained at the club since fall 2009 and helps coach its swimmers. Plummer also was an assistant coach for Minnetonka High School's girls' team last season.
Evening the score
After losing to archrival Ryan Lochte in the finals of the 400 individual medley Monday night, Michael Phelps got revenge Wednesday. He held off Lochte to win a stirring final of the 200 freestyle, clocking a time of 1:45.70 to Lochte's 1:45.75.
The crowd rose to its feet in the late stages of the race, bringing the swimmers home with a roar. Through the final 50 meters, Phelps and Lochte matched each other stroke for stroke, and Phelps made his early advantage hold up. Though second place also would have earned him an Olympic spot in the event, he was clearly pleased to beat Lochte, who has had the upper hand in their recent matchups.
"Obviously, it's been a while,'' Phelps said of his victory. "It felt better, but there are still some things I can improve on.''
Lochte said he began the race too slowly. Still, he was happy with his swim. "I love racing against [Phelps],'' he said. "It was really fun.''