Tue, Jun 16, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Phelps loses 100m freestyle, 100m back at US meet

AP , SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA

US swimmer Michael Phelps, left, talks with Canadian swimmer Brent Hayden after Hayden defeated him in the men’s 100m freestyle event during the Santa Clara International Grand Prix swim meet in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Michael Phelps was beaten in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke on Sunday at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix swim meet.

The 14-time Olympic gold medalist finished second behind Brent Hayden of Canada in Sunday’s night final. Hayden, the leading qualifier, touched in 48.44 seconds. Phelps, swimming in lane 8, had 48.87.

Phelps lost the 100m back to Olympic teammate Ryan Lochte, who went out fast and held on in 54.15 to complete a sweep of the backstroke events. Phelps touched second in 54.31.

Lochte relished the victory over his friend and rival.

“I always like to get a little kick in there,” he said, smiling. “Anyone is beatable. It’s just a matter of time and where.”

Phelps had two wins from four races in his second competition since returning from a three-month suspension by USA Swimming after a photo of him using a marijuana water pipe surfaced. He won the 200m butterfly on Friday and the 400m free on Saturday.

“I’m ready to go home and sleep in my own bed,” said Phelps, who arrived in Northern California direct from three weeks of altitude training in Colorado. “For me, it’s about seeing where we are and where we have to improve on. The wins are going to be more down the road.”

Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe finished off a strong meet by winning the 200m backstroke with the world’s fastest time this year.

She was timed in 2:06.99, a meet record, but well off her world mark of 2:05.24 that earned a gold medal in Beijing.

Coming up for Phelps is a final tuneup meet in Montreal next weekend before the US national titles at Indianapolis on July 7 to July 11. That’s where the team for the world championships in Rome will be selected.

“He always likes to win, but I think he made some progress in the 100 [meter] free and his time was pretty good in the 100 [meter] back,” Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman said. “The headline tomorrow is ‘Phelps loses twice,’ but it’s something he just has to live with.”

Phelps set the US record of 47.51 in the 100m free as part of the victorious US relay at the Beijing Olympics, where he won a record eight gold medals.

Hayden didn’t advance out of the semifinals in Beijing.

“I wasn’t on my game,” he said. “I’m not holding any regrets.”

Sunday’s result was a reversal of their 2007 race in Santa Clara.

That’s when Hayden led with 15m to go before Phelps sprinted past him to win.

“Anytime I get a chance to race Michael it’s exciting,” said Hayden, who will defend his title at next month’s world meet in Rome. “It would be awesome to see him in the 100 at world championships.”

Hayden offered a bit of advice to Phelps, who is focusing on shorter distances in the push toward his last Olympics in 2012.

“He’s not really much of a sprinter,” Hayden said. “Work on that front-end speed. Everyone knows he’s got the fastest back-end of that race.”

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