Irvine (US): A botched turn ruined Michael Phelps’ first bid to qualify for his first international meet since the London Olympics, with the superstar admitting: “It stinks.”

Phelps, on the comeback trail after retiring, finished a distant seventh in the 100m free final won by reigning Olympic champion Nathan Adrian at the US Swimming Championships, unable to recover after misjudging the turn.

“It just kind of stinks that I missed the first wall, but it’s a part of racing,” said Phelps, 29, who needed a top-four finish to book a spot in the US team for the Pan Pacific Championships August 21-25 in Gold Coast, Australia.

Phelps, was especially frustrated because he thought he had warmed up well, but once he was in the turn he knew that he wouldn’t have enough momentum coming off the wall to mount any second-lap challenge. “I knew there was very little chance that I was going to run anybody down.”

Coach Bob Bowman knew it, too. “From a dead stop, it just doesn’t happen in a race like that,” said Bowman. Adrian won in 48.31sec. Ryan Lochte, whose own collection of 11 Olympic medals includes five golds, stormed to second from lane eight in 48.96. Jimmy Feigen was third in 48.98 and Conor Dwyer was fourth in 49.06. “He said he missed the turn,” Lochte said. “I saw it, because when I flipped I looked under water and saw him. Things happen. He is going to fix it and make sure it never happens again.”  —PTI

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