x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Phelps' sigh of relief

Michael Phelps is far from convincing but wins the 400m freestyle at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix.

SANTA CLARA // A perfectionist that he has always been, Michael Phelps was unhappy to struggle the way he did in the 400m freestyle at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix. He won the event for sure, but he had to dig deep in the final 100m, clocking 3min 48.05secs at the outdoor pool. Ryan Cochrane, of Canada, pushed Phelps before settling for second in 3.48.40 while Robert Hurley, of Australia was third in 3.48.49.

Phelps, who won eight gold medals at last year's Beijing Olympics, was, however, disappointed. "I felt awesome the first 250, then I turned with 150 to go and I was second-guessing why I ever asked to swim that event," the American said. Phelps has rarely swum the event, and he did not advance to the 400m free final at the 2005 world championships in Montreal, a failure that still bothers him. "I don't think I've ever hurt that bad after a race. I'm not in enough shape to swim a good 400," he said. "That's how not to swim a 400 free. I went out after it and barely hung on."

His coach Bob Bowman, on the other hand, drew positives from the close shave, saying: "It's good for him. It reminds him it's not easy to win races. That's a race where he really pushed himself to the limit." * AP