OMAHA, Neb. – Michael Phelps is heading back to the Olympics.
So is Missy Franklin.
Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, held off a stiff challenge from Tom Shields to win the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. swimming trials Wednesday night. Phelps whipped around to look at his time — a bit slower than he probably would've liked — and held up all five fingers on his right hand.
Yep, it's Olympics No. 5, making him the first male swimmer to compete in that many Summer Games.
Franklin, meanwhile, turned in one of the gutsiest performances of her career to earn a spot for Rio in the 200 freestyle. One night after she struggled to seventh in the 100 backstroke — an event she won four years ago in London — there was plenty of speculation that she'd be hard-pressed to qualify for any individual events at these games.
Franklin herself sounded as though she'd be happy just getting on the team as a relay swimmer.
Turns out, she'll be busier than that.
While Katie Ledecky romped to victory in the 200 free, earning a second individual event at the Olympics, Franklin rallied over the second half of the race to claim the second spot. Ledecky touched in 1:54.88, following up her easy victory in the 400 free.
Franklin was next at 1:56.18, edging out Leah Smith by just under a half-second. Allison Schmitt, the defending gold medalist, settled for fourth but that will at least be good enough to get another star from the London Games on the team as a relay swimmer.
Phelps, who retired after the last Olympics but soon reversed his decision, took the 200 fly in 1:54.84 — far off the world record of 1:51.51 he set at the 2009 world championships while wearing one of the high-tech suits that have since been banned.
But there's time to work on his speed between now and Rio. For now, Phelps is thrilled to be going back to the Olympics, where he'll get a chance to add to the already staggering amount of hardware he's accumulated at the last four Olympics: 18 golds and 22 medals overall.
Going along for the ride this time is his first child, 7-week-old Boomer, who watched from the stands in the arms of his mom. The infant wore noise-canceling headphones adorned with American flags so he wouldn't be startled by the huge roar that went up when his daddy touched the wall first.