Phelps, Biedermann in 200m rematch
BERLIN -- Michael Phelps says he is not in very good shape, and Paul Biedermann is coming off an injury. Neither is making a big deal out their showdown at a World Cup meet this weekend.
Biedermann beat the American superstar to win the gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle at the world championships in Rome in August, and the two will contest the same event in Berlin.
"I am here to race," Phelps said Friday. "The biggest thing is get some racing under the belt, to see where I am, what I have to change, what I need to do."
After Rome, Phelps did not compete until another short-course World Cup meet earlier this week in Stockholm, where he missed three finals and did not win an event in his old-style swimsuit that will become standard next year.
"I'll be the first to admit I'm not in a great shape, but I can tell you I'll race as hard as I can and whatever happens, happens," said Phelps, who is sporting a full beard.
Biedermann is coming off a torn muscle fiber in his left thigh and skipped the Stockholm meet.
"It's always special to swim against Michael and I am glad he is here," the German said. "The injury is over, I've had fast times in training and I am curious to see what will happen."
Unlike Phelps, Biedermann is still using the new high-tech swimsuits that will be banned as of Jan. 1.
"I am going to take advantage of them until the very last day," Biedermann said.
Phelps said that by sticking with the old swimsuit, he was already preparing for the future.
"I am preparing for the next two years, not today. That's what I grew up wearing. Other people can use other suits and that's fine. But this is the only suit you'll ever see me wear," Phelps said. "Without the suits, you'll have to be in better shape, strong in body. That's what I have to do if I want to swim that many events."
Phelps achieved his goal of winning eight gold medals at the Olympics in Beijing last year and said he has set new targets for the next world championships and the 2012 Olympics in London.
He would not say what they were.
"Bob is the only person who needs to know," Phelps said of his coach, Bob Bowman. "After accomplishing what I set out to do in Beijing, I needed to refocus my goals. Bob knows what they are, and I'll try to accomplish them."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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