June 20, 2015 / 4:12 AM / in 2 years

Phelps battles to third in 200m freestyle at Santa Clara

Michael Phelps continued his tough road back to the Olympics as he finished third in the 200 meters freestyle final on Friday at the Pro Swim Series meet in Santa Clara, California.

Jun 20, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Michael Phelps swims during his heat of the prelim Men 200M Butterly during the morning session at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara, Calif. Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Phelps swam a time of 1:49.03, behind winner Connor Jaeger (1:48.66) and Russian Nikita Lobintsev (1:48.86) at an important event for Phelps as he tries to build for the 2016 Rio Games. He will be forced to sit out of the world championships in Kazan, Russia in August due to a drink-driving arrest last year.

Phelps will instead compete at the U.S. Championships in San Antonio.

It will be much needed competition for 18-times Olympic gold medalist Phelps who is coming off a disappointing performance in Charlotte, North Carolina where he failed to reach the championship ‘A’ final in both the 200m individual medley and 100 freestyle races.

He also failed to qualify for the 200 freestyle championship and finished a distant seventh in the 200 butterfly.

On the women’s side in Santa Clara, Missy Franklin also finished third in the 200 freestyle final while taking eighth in the 50m backstroke in what was her first meet since March.

Franklin took a time of 1:57.02 in the freestyle, behind Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands, won in 1:55.68 and Katinka Hosszu (1:56.88) of Hungary.

Natalie Coughlin, a 12-time Olympic medalist, prevailed in the backstroke with a time of 27.51.

Writing by Jahmal Corner; Editing by .....

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