COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Less than six months before what he hopes will be his Olympic debut at the London Games, American Tyler McGill got a big win in the Missouri Grand Prix.
McGill won the men's 100-meter butterfly Friday night, ahead of training partner Fred Bousquet of France and Brazilian Olympian Thiago Pereira.
McGill, a 24-year-old Illinois native, led throughout and finished in 52.58 seconds, nearly 1 second in front of Bousquet. The former Auburn swimmers continue to train in the Alabama college town. Pereira finished third at 53.66. Brazilian Cesar Cielo, the world record holder in the 50 and 100 freestyle, failed to advance from the preliminary round in the 100 fly.
The victory follows a second-place finish in the 100 fly at the 2011 summer nationals and a bronze medal in the same event at last year's world championships, positioning McGill for a potential breakout in London. But rather than revel in the win, McGill noted the absence of event world-record holder Michael Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
"Getting a win is great, but I missed the opportunity to compete against the world's best," McGill said. "Michael is the favorite for London.... The fastest man in the world wasn't here, so it doesn't mean as much.
"He's the only person I'm worried about competing with."
Bousquet, himself a former world record holder in the 50 free, was more effusive in praising his training partner.
"The way he's swimming now, the way he swam last summer at world champs, to me he's the guy that could surprise everyone this summer," Bousquet said.
Brazilian Felipe Lima won the men's 100 breaststroke in 1:00.89, beating Americans Eric Shanteau and Mark Gangloff.
In the night's other marquee race, Felipe Lima of Brazil won the men's 100 breaststroke in 1:00.89, beating Americans Eric Shanteau and Mark Gangloff. The 26-year-old has trained in south Florida with the Davie Nadadores club for the past three years.
"He's obviously a great racer," said Shanteau, who finished second, 0.22 seconds behind Lima. "He always brings a real good 100 breaststroke. It's fun to get out there and race in the middle of the season like this."
Other winners include Samantha Cheverton in the women's 200 freestyle, Blake Worsley in the men's 200 freestyle, Jillian Tyler in the women's 100 breaststroke and Katerine Savard in the women's 100 fly and Alexa Komarnycky in the women's 400 individual medley. All are from Canada, though Tyler lives in Minnesota.
French swimmer Laure Manaudou, attempting a comeback after a brief retirement following a disappointing performance in the Beijing Games and the birth of her daughter in April 2010, finished 10th in the women's 200 free. Manaudou won the 400 free at the 2004 Athens Games at age 17.
Like most of the competitors here, McGill is using the third event in the Grand Prix series primarily as a training tool, though his time was a season-best. And with Bousquet in the adjacent lane, Friday's final wasn't unlike the daily training sessions the pair endure under Australian Brett Hawke, who coaches Auburn's men's' and women's swim teams.
"I train with a lot of guys who are faster than me in certain areas," McGill said. "It pushes me to train faster and develop my speed. To have that (challenge) every day shows up in my races."