WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
June 26, 2010
Michael Phelps rode an emotional rollercoaster on the opening day of the Paris Open.
The 14-time Olympic champion easily won the 200-meter butterfly before ending the opening day by finishing last in the 100-meter freestyle.
Phelps, who turns 25 at the end of the month, led from start to finish in the 200 butterfly to win in 1 minute and 55.70 seconds, fourth best in the world. He was the fastest qualifier in morning prelims in 1:57.88.
Frenchman Christophe Lebon edged fellow countryman Jordan Coelho to finish second in 1:59.01.
Thirty minutes later, Phelps got off to a slow start and finished last in the 100 freestyle. He was the seventh fastest qualifier after morning prelims in 49.44.
Swimming in Lane One next to world champion Cesar Cielo of Brazil, Phelps finished in 49.70 in finals. Freshman Fabien Gilot won in 48.65.
Olympic champion Alain Bernard of France failed to qualify for the 100 freestyle, finishing 18th in the heats in 50.44.
“I was very tired,” Bernard said. “And when you are tired, there is nothing you can do. This is a result of my training for the European Championships [in August in Budapest, Hungary]. This meet was not a milestone in my preparations.”
Bernard swam in the same heat as Phelps.
“I think as a whole, for the day, it’s not terrible,” said Phelps, who was coming off high altitude training in Colorado Springs. “I’m more happy with my fly. I think there is still a lot of work to do.”
Phelps competes in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley on Sunday. He is using the meet as preparation for nationals in August which is a selection meet for the Pan Pacific Championships.
“I will try to recover as much as I can,” Phelps said. “It’s going to be a tough day.
“I am disappointed with the 100. It just shows where we stand right now. I know I should be a lot faster than that.”
American Mark Gangloff won the 50 breaststroke in 27.81.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org