Clearwater's Robert Margalis was once again in the worst possible position at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials: third place, just one spot away from making the Olympic team.
With Olympic star Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach both swimming under the previous world record for the 400-meter individual medley, Margalis, a Clearwater High and University of Georgia product, wound up third at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.
Phelps swam 4 minutes, 5.25 seconds to beat his previous world record of 4:06.22, and Lochte, who competed for the University of Florida, also eclipsed that mark at 4:06.08. At 4:13.85, Margalis swam just off his lifetime best for his third third-place finish in three appearances at the U.S. trials. In the 2000 trials, Margalis was third in two events, the 1,500 free and 400 free.
It was another Olympic trials disappointment for Margalis, but his father, Bob Margalis, said his son wasn't too upset.
"We talked to him face-to-face after the race and he's fine," Bob Margalis said. "He said it was an honor being part of a race where two people broke the world record. He's OK. He's the kind of kid who puts it behind him pretty quickly."
Margalis is still expected to swim in the 200 free (today), 200 butterfly, 200 IM and 1,500 free.
Katie Hoff took down the women's mark in the 400 IM in 4:31.12.
Gay Wins 100 In Wind-Aided 9.68
EUGENE, Ore. - Tyson Gay was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.
His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter: Gay qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing.
Walter Dix, the 2007 NCAA champion from Florida State, overtook Darvis Patton in the final 20 meters for second place (9.80) and a spot on the Olympic team.
The party ended abruptly for John Capel of Brooksville and recent high school graduate Jeffery Demps of Groveland. Both were eliminated in Sunday's semifinal heat of the 100.
Capel ran 10.21, Demps 10.34.
Everyone expected Gay to make the U.S. team. Similarly, long jumper Dwight Phillips also was considered a lock. Phillips is, after all, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, a two-time world champion and three-time national champion.
But Phillips flopped Sunday, winding up in fourth place by less than an inch. Only the top three finishers in each event earn the right to go to the Olympics.
In other event finals, 2005 world champion Bershawn Jackson led a trio of favorites in the men's 400 hurdles. Jackson won in 48.17, followed by reigning world champion and former Gators standout Kerron Clement in 48.36, and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Angelo Taylor in 48.42.
In the women's 400 hurdles, Tiffany Ross-Williams, Queen Harrison and Sheena Tosta qualified to go to China. In the women's discus, Aretha Thurmond repeated her trials victory from 2004 by throwing 213 feet, 11 inches (65.20 meters).
Also on Sunday, South Florida sophomore and Freedom High graduate Mikese Morse finished 13th in the long jump final with a leap of 24 feet, 7.25 inches. Another Freedom product, University of Florida sophomore Calvin Smith II, advanced to today's 400 semifinal with a second-place finish in his heat in a time of 46.14.