CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Peng Wu again got the best of Michael Phelps.
Wu, the club Wolverine swimmer who spoiled Phelps’ near decade-long streak in the 200 fly last month, repeated the feat on Saturday, overcoming Phelps on the final 50 meters at the Charlotte UltraSwim at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.
Phelps, who hadn’t lost in this event in 60 attempts covering nearly nine years, has two straight losses, both to Wu.
Phelps looked impressive for the first three laps, but couldn’t get the win.
“It literally felt like a piano fell on my back,” said Phelps, who finished in 1:58.22, behind Peng’s 1:56.83. “I knew at 150 that I was in trouble.”
Wu, whose win against Phelps in Michigan secured a spot on China’s World Championship team, pulled ahead in the final 50 meters.
Wu was unavailable for comment, but he helped Club Wolverine win the night’s final event, the 800 free relay. Adam DeJong, Matthew Patton, Wu and Daniel Madwed finished in 7:36.38.
Josh Schneider, two days after losing a 50-meter free swim-off to Cullen Jones for a spot in the U.S. World Championship team, edged Jones in the same event. Schneider finished in 22.51, .01 seconds ahead of Jones. Nick Brunelli placed third for a SwimMAC sweep on the podium.
“It’s revenge, and a huge confidence booster,” Schneider said. “I was mopey after that loss (in the swim-off). It’s really the first hard defeat I’ve had in the sport of swimming. I was climbing high and far, and that knocked the wind out of me.”
Schneider turned to Jones in the water immediately after the race Saturday, telling his friend and teammate he was “toast” after the tight .01 margin.
“It’s a friendly (rivalry),” Jones said. “We’re all rivals. We’re individual athletes training to beat each other.”
The split appears to leave Jones and Schneider each in prime position for the summer: Jones, with a spot locked up for Shanghai, and Schneider, the up-and-comer, with a new bent on improvement.
“I’ve been cruising,” Schneider said. “I’m more determined now. I feel the need to get better. It’s never been like that for me.”
Eleven-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin won the 50 fly, finishing in 1:00.02, just ahead of the 1:00.22 posted by Missy Franklin, who won seven events in Michigan.
Coughlin said she tried a more controlled approach in the event.
“I tried to get away from the fly-and-die approach, and take a more controlled pace,” Coughlin said. “I’ve been doing a lot of heavy lifting and Pilates lately, and I’ve always been the type to try so hard, but I can’t just go out there and spin my wheels in the first 25 meters.”
Franklin then swam the anchor on the Colorado Stars team that won the 800 free in 8:12.19, beating Swim Ontario with Jordan Mattern, Caroline Piehl and Kara Lynn Joyce.
Sprint specialist Jessica Hardy edged Kara Lynn Joyce by .04 seconds in the 50 free, finishing in 25.13. Kathleen Hersey won the day’s first event, taking the 200 fly in 2:09.12, beating Elaine Breeden.
David Plummer, whose signature victory came against Aaron Piersol in the 100 back at the 2010 national championships, won that event in Charlotte, beating Nicholas Thoman in 54.04.
Chloe Sutton, who won multiple events in Indianapolis in March, captured the 400 free ahead of Canadian Barbara Jardin, in 4:08.73.
Dominik Meichtry followed his 200 free victory on Friday by beating Conor Dwyer by 1.65 seconds in the 400 free, finishing in 3:52.00.
Rebecca Soni, gold medal winner in the 200 breastroke at the 2008 Games, won that event in Charlotte, nearly 3 seconds ahead of Amanda Beard, finishing in 2:23.33.
Eric Shanteau won an event for the second straight night, winning the 200 breastroke in 2:10.95, outdistancing Elliott Keefer who finished in 2:16.02.
The USA Swimming Grand Prix event will conclude with 10 events on Sunday.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)