Indianapolis — Four months after deciding to keep swimming, Michael Phelps took ownership of a world record that had eluded him for years.
He won the 100-meter butterfly at the U.S. national championships Thursday night in 50.22 seconds, lowering Ian Crocker’s mark of 50.40 set at the 2005 world championships in Montreal.
Phelps’ feat came just two months after returning from a suspension that was part of the longest layoff of his career, which he considered ending when a photograph of him using a marijuana pipe surfaced.
“It really shows anything can happen if you put your mind to it,” Phelps said. “It feels good to get a best time.”
Wearing his usual Speedo LZR suit, Phelps led at 50 meters with a split of 23.83, just three-tenths off world-record pace. Known for his strong finishes, the 14-time Olympic gold medalist pulled clear down the stretch to beat Tyler McGill, who touched in 51.06. Aaron Peirsol was third in 51.30.
“Crock had a ton more first 50 speed than I did. That’s something I’ve really been working on,” Phelps said. “I’ve always been able to come home pretty strong. I finally got the front half a little bit faster. If I can get that even faster, I’ll be in better shape.”
Phelps currently holds individual world records in the 100 and 200 flys, 200 and 400 individual medleys and the 200 free.
“They’ve all been absolutely incredible,” he said.
Phelps had owned the 100 fly mark for a day at the 2003 world meet in Barcelona. But Crocker took it from him a day later, then lowered it twice more, something that has bugged Phelps ever since.
“To finally be able to get it tonight means a lot,” he said.
Janzen, Stiles in lead
Silvis, Ill. — Lee Janzen stirred some memories and was tied with Darron Stiles for the lead after firing a 7-under 64 in the first round of the John Deere Classic on Thursday.
Janzen has not won on the PGA Tour since he captured his second U.S. Open in 1998, yet he’s in position after an impressive start at TPC Deere Run.
J.J. Henry, Matt Bettencourt and Dean Wilson were all one stroke off the lead at 65.
Choi leads Women’s Open
Bethlehem, Pa. — Na Yeon Choi of South Korea birdied her first three holes, and four of her first five, on the way to a 3-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open.
Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, 2007 champion Cristie Kerr and qualifier Jean Reynolds opened with 2-under 69s Thursday.
LPGA commish on way out
Bethlehem, Pa. — LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens reportedly is on the way out as leader of the tour after calls for her resignation by key players.
Golf Digest and GolfWeek Magazine reported on their Web sites Thursday that the embattled commissioner will be replaced.
Nashville, Tenn. — Steve McNair’s family, friends, former teammates and coaches gathered Thursday night along with thousands of fans to remember the slain ex-NFL quarterback’s accomplishments on and off the field.
Ravens receiver Derrick Mason, who played with McNair in both Tennessee and Baltimore, called the loss heartbreaking.
“I still remember that smile of his,” Mason said before heading into Mount Zion Baptist Church, where he was to speak at the memorial service. “That’ll never grow old.”
Fans lined up starting Thursday morning to view McNair’s closed silvery-gray casket at a funeral home and later outside the church. Three of four local TV stations showed the memorial service live.
Pedro to Phillies?
Philadelphia — Although both sides shot down a report out of the Dominican Republic that said a deal had been reached, the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez are involved in serious negotiations that could land the future Hall of Famer with the club by the time they travel to Florida to open their post-All-Star break schedule next Thursday.
Fernando Cuza, who represents Martinez, said that he and the Phillies are in the midst of talks, and that his client is “pretty close” to deciding where he will resume his storied career.
Victorino, Inge elected
New York — Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino and Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge have been elected by fans to Tuesday’s All-Star game in record-shattering voting exclusively on MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball, and the individual club sites.
Victorino received 15.6 million votes and was followed by San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval, Arizona’s Mark Reynolds, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp and Washington’s Cristian Guzman.
Inge got 11.8 million ballots, finishing ahead of Texas’ Ian Kinsler, the Los Angeles Angels’ Chone Figgins, Tampa Bays’ Carlos Pena and Toronto’s Adam Lind.
Marion to Mavericks
Dallas — The way Jerry Stackhouse’s contract was structured, the Dallas Mavericks knew they could parlay him into a key player for next season. As it turned out, a lot of teams benefited.
The Mavericks, Raptors, Grizzlies and Magic combined in a massive swap Thursday that included eight players, a draft pick and stacks of cash. The deal sent Shawn Marion to Dallas, Stackhouse to Memphis and helped seal the transaction that moved Hedo Turkoglu from Orlando to Toronto.
Among the other pieces: Forward Kris Humphries, center Nathan Jawai and cash went from Toronto to Dallas; guard Greg Buckner moves from Memphis to Dallas; and swingmen Antoine Wright and Devean George go from Dallas to Toronto.
Memphis also received a second-round pick and cash from Toronto and cash from Dallas. The Mavericks and Raptors both also sent cash to Orlando.
Pistons pick Kuester
Auburn Hills, Mich. — The Detroit Pistons have picked Cavaliers assistant John Kuester as their new head coach.
Kuester was on Larry Brown’s NBA championship-winning staff in Detroit five years ago.
Kuester is the team’s sixth head coach in the past 10 years. He has worked in the NBA since 1990.
Turkoglu a Raptor
Toronto — The Toronto Raptors confirmed their acquisition of forward Hedo Turkoglu on Thursday, perhaps the most significant free-agent addition in the team’s history.
OSU players charged
Stillwater, Okla. — A July 29 arraignment is set for two Oklahoma State football players who face misdemeanor drug counts.
Payne County prosecutors charged sophomore Jamal Mosley and freshman Dexter Pratt with one count each of possession of marijuana.
Joe Sakic retires
Denver — Stoic Joe Sakic finally cracked, allowing for a rare show of emotion.
Delivering a speech that had kept him up most of the night fretting, the longtime Colorado Avalanche captain broke down, his voice betraying him as he stared into a room packed with family, friends and teammates — even the governor of the state.
Sakic officially hung up his skates Thursday, ending his standout 20-year career. Try as he might, he simply couldn’t get through his prepared speech without choking up.
Mayfield might sell team
Charlotte, N.C. — Unable to find funding since his suspension for failing a random drug test, Jeremy Mayfield is considering selling his race team.
Shana Mayfield said Thursday she and her husband are considering selling their remaining inventory because they don’t have the cash to field a race team.
OSU program cited
Oklahoma City — Officials at Oklahoma State said Thursday that a former baseball player accepted a used car as a gift while he was in a summer league in what the NCAA contends was a major rules violation that could cost the program.
A letter sent May 28 from the NCAA to Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis asks university officials to meet with the NCAA DIv. I Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis on Aug. 7-8.
Missouri race in doubt
Jefferson City, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is considering a $1.5 million cut to the Tour of Missouri that organizers say could force the cancellation of the September race.