SANTA CLARA (CBS / AP) — Michael Phelps spent most of the past month training in Colorado Springs, exhaustingly increasing his training regimen.
He still has some work to do before next month’s world championships.
Phelps continued his inconsistent year Friday night, easily winning the 100-meter butterfly but finishing second in the 100 freestyle at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix.
The 14-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder won the butterfly in 52.41 seconds. Australia’s Nicholas D’Arcy (53.34) was second and Davis Tarwater (53.83) third.
“The fly I felt good. I was able to connect my stroke a little bit more and get my hips into it,” Phelps said. “At the end of the day, I was kind of bummed about the finish. I thought I was kind of long on the finish. But it’s a good time. I can’t really complain. I feel like I had a lot of pop on the first 50 than I did earlier in the year. So I think that’s a lot better.”
The strong showing was outshined only by a slow start in his only other race of the night.
Phelps nearly chased down Park Taehwan of South Korea in the 100 free before finishing a close second. Taehwan won in 48.92 seconds, 0.69 seconds ahead of Phelps. American Ryan Lochte was a distant eighth in both events.
“I couldn’t get into it,” Phelps said. “I couldn’t run him down.”
The 100 free was not one of the events Phelps raced in route to a record eight gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The addition is one of a few small changes Phelps is trying to make as he grows older—at least by swimming standards. He turns 26 at the end of the month.
Phelps had told reporters a day earlier what most had long suspected: He likely won’t enter eight events in the 2012 London Games and try to repeat his record performance. He plans to drop the 400-meter individual medley—once among his marquee events— and could trim his schedule more.
As with most swimmers, the final answer will come after a test run this summer.
With the world championships looming in Shanghai next month, everybody is aiming for maximum output. Lochte, Phelps’ longtime teammate and rival, is still slowed by a strained MCL in his left knee and again didn’t get the results he wanted.
“It’s time for me to start getting mad,” Lochte said, chuckling. “I keep seeing everybody else’s times get lower and lower. I keep waiting for my time. But this is just kind of a tuneup.”
Phelps will compete in two other events this weekend: the 200-meter backstroke (also against Lochte) Saturday and the 200-meter butterfly Sunday.
He stressed that he was mostly happy with the results so far at Santa Clara, already feeling stronger from his latest training session. The plan is to slowly increase his schedule from now until London.
“I think we’ve just been able to work on being able to finish more and stronger,” he said. “So I think that’s going to play out a little bit more.”
Other notables from Friday: Former world-record holder Brendan Hansen finished second in the 200 breaststroke, 1.04 seconds behind winner Eric Shanteau. The race was Hansen’s first back since a disappointing finish in the Beijing Olympics.
Eleven-time Olympic medalists Natalie Coughlin won the women’s 100 free in 54.1 seconds, but was disqualified for staying underwater too long. Melissa Franklin was awarded first with a time of 54.33 seconds.
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