Michael Phelps lost his bid for his most important race since announcing his return to swimming in April.

Phelps missed the 100-meter butterfly win by a hundredth of a second at the U.S. National Championships in Irvine.



The winner of the event, Tom Shields of Huntington Beach, finished with a personal-best time of 51.29 seconds. Phelps finished just a fingertip behind with a time of 51.30, a little less than two seconds off his personal best. Ryan Lochte, another preeminent American swimmer, finished fifth in 52.21. “To be honest, that’s just where I am,” said Phelps, 29, who has competed in four Olympics and holds Olympic records with 18 gold medals and 22 overall. “If I want to go better, I need more. I need more training, I need more endurance, and I need to feel a lot more comfort with my stroke. There are just a lot more things that need to happen.” He later added: “There are things like this that help me and motivate me more than anything else. I’m somebody who can’t stand to lose, I don’t care if it’s by a hundredth or by five seconds. . . . This will be something that sticks with me for the next year, hopefully leading up to the world championships.” source

Phelps, who is known for his closing ability, had the second-worst time at the 50-meter turn. He got close to catching Shields in the finishing stretch, but missed by the smallest of margins.

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