Phelps fizzles in short-course meet

Updated: November 10, 2009, 4:18 PM ET
Associated Press

STOCKHOLM -- Sporting a beard and an old-style swimsuit, Michael Phelps finished third in the 100-meter medley at a World Cup short-course meet after missing out on two other finals Tuesday.

Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, swam the medley final in 52.14 seconds. South Africa's Gerhard Zandberg won in 51.77.

Earlier Tuesday, Phelps failed to qualify for the finals of the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, in which he was disqualified for swimming too long underwater.

The 24-year-old American, who was competing for the first time since the world championships in August, wore the type of suit that will become the standard next year. Most other swimmers used faster high-tech suits.

After the race, he told reporters he was excited to be back racing.

"I know I'm not in the best shape and I should be in better shape," Phelps said. "I didn't hit my first wall right, so it's kind of disappointing but I'm happy overall."

He finished 16th in qualifying for the 100 freestyle in 47.77 seconds. Eight swimmers advanced to the final, with Stefan Nystrand of Sweden recording the fastest qualifying time of 45.93.

Phelps did not compete in either of those two events in a full-length pool in Beijing, when he broke Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals won at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

His coach, Bob Bowman, said Monday he wants Phelps to use the old-style suit in the lead-up to the U.S. national championships next year.

Phelps said before the meet he wanted to use the competition in Stockholm to test his form and the old-style swimsuit.

On Wednesday, Phelps will swim in the 100 butterfly and 200 medley heats.

Tuesday was marked by world records. Jing Zhao of China beat her own world mark in the women's 50-meter backstroke. She timed 25.82 seconds to top her record of 26.08 set earlier in the day during qualifying.

She beat the previous world mark of 26.17, set by Marieke Guehrer of Australia four days ago in Moscow.

Felicity Galvez of Australia set a world record in the 100-meter butterfly, clocking 55.46 seconds to beat the previous mark of 55.68 set by Jessicah Schipper of Australia on Aug. 12.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE