Michael Phelps says June in Paris not kind to his swimming

Michael Phelps said his performance in this past weekend's Paris Open will give him the impetus to train harder in the pool.

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Michael Phelps of the U.S. looks on after his men's 200 meter freestyle preliminary heat at the Paris Open Swimming competition in Paris June 27.

Michael Phelps received "a wakeup call" during a weekend of mixed results at the Paris Open.

The 14-time Olympic champion capped the two-day meet by winning the 200-meter medley in 1 minute, 58.95 seconds Sunday, but was disappointed that he struggled in freestyle races and said he needs to train harder.

"I'm not worried," Phelps said. "Am I upset? Yes. Very. When I'm upset, I think it's the best time for me to try and use that as a motivation."

American Patrick Todd took second in the medley in 2:00.81 and Italian Federico Turrini was third in 2:02.31.

Also winning Sunday was world and Olympic champion Cesar Cielo of Brazil, who posted a season's best 21.55 to claim the 50 freestyle ahead of Frenchmen Fabien Gilot and Frederick Bousquet.

Phelps, who finished third in the 200 freestyle earlier Sunday, said he has to rededicate himself to training if he wants to regain his best form.

"Hopefully, it's a wake up call. If it's not, then I have to change a lot," he said. "I blame myself. You've got to be responsible for your own action."

The American had expected to improve on his times since the Charlotte UltraSwim last month.

"It's a kind of the same times that I went in Charlotte, my first meet back," Phelps said. "I'm clearly disappointed, but it's my own fault. I know I didn't do the training when I needed to do it at the right time."

Phelps had a good start in the 200 meter free, but quickly faded. He touched in 1:47.54. Yannick Agnel of France set a national record by winning in 1:46.30 and Sebastiaan Verschuren of the Netherlands was second in 1:46.97.

Fresh from three weeks of training in Colorado, Phelps won the 200 butterfly on Saturday but was last in the 100 freestyle.

"I know what I have to work at to improve," he said. "I thought I had done better training (after Charlotte), but clearly I have not. I'm the only one who can fix it."

Phelps swam in Paris as part of his preparations for the U.S. championships in August, which will determine the American roster for the Pan Pacific Championships in Irvine, Calif., later in the month.

Phelps will stay in France after the competition to train in Vichy, where U.S. swimmers will have a training camp before the 2012 London Olympics.

The 18-year-old Agnel, who finished second in the 100 freestyle, earned the biggest win of his career and was stunned by his achievement.

"This is so great," he said of beating Phelps. "I have to realize what I did. But it's also true that Michael was not really fit. He will be ready when it really matters."

Asked about a potential rivalry with Agnel in the future, Phelps said "everybody is going to be a rival at this point."

"I'm way behind and I'm the one who needs to catch up with them."


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